First Break trainees to commence placements at Emmerdale and Coronation Street studios


Twenty successful applicants will commence three-week, paid placements at the Emmerdale and Coronation Street studios in January 2020, as part of ScreenSkills’ First Break project.

The social mobility initiative is supported by the High-end TV Skills Fund, with contributions from UK high-end TV productions.

ScreenSkills partnered with ITV for the project, which has been designed to offer opportunities to people from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds at the start of their career or thinking about a behind-the-camera career in television drama.

The multi-stage process began with Open Doors events in Leeds and Manchester in 2019, after which participants were asked to apply to the First Break one-day bootcamp held in autumn. The bootcamp was designed to introduce participants to the production process and help them understand the set structure of a continuing drama.

The training included sessions on demystifying the production process, the structure of departments, radios and communication on set, how to read a callsheet, and set etiquette. The participants were then invited to apply for a place on the First Break three-week paid placement scheme.

One bootcamp participant said: “The chance to speak to people within the industry is basically non-existent without a scheme like this for people outside looking in. I gained a lot of insight and was able to ask candid questions - and get straight, honest answers.”

A key element of the bootcamp and the subsequent placement programme has been the active recruitment of individuals from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, by working with social inclusion agencies across Leeds, Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.

Organisations which assisted in the outreach included job centres, apprenticeship hubs, local authority employment and skills outreach networks, care leavers charities and networks such as My Covenant and Pure Insight, and the Ideas Foundation sixth form and college networks.

Of the 70 bootcamp attendees, 20 have been selected for placements across the Emmerdale and Coronation Street studios, which will commence in January 2020. The trainees will work in one of four job role groups, based on their preferences identified at the bootcamp:

  • Technical: sound, camera, edit or electrician
  • Creative: practical makeup, costume, art department or props and crafts
  • Organisational and people-focused: locations, production office or floor runner
  • Creative: scripts or development

Following the placement, ScreenSkills and ITV will provide further career support to participants, including assistance looking for opportunities, signposting to local organisations that provide new entrant opportunities, help with interview techniques and CV planning and information on working as a freelancer.

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