ScreenSkills in the nations: Focus on Wales

ScreenSkills is committed to supporting the screen workforce across the UK. A range of training programmes, events, courses and opportunities are made available to those looking to start or progress within their career, investing in the development of the industry’s talent.

We’re taking a closer look at some of the investments made in the nations and the training put in place to help develop the area’s workforce. This month we’re focusing on ScreenSkills support and activity in Wales.

ScreenSkills' Training Liaison Manager for Wales, Becs Meredith, explains what makes the nation's industry unique and there is much to celebrate across our Skills Funds.

High-end TV at 10

In October 2023, the High-end TV Skills Fund gathered with industry in Cardiff to celebrate 10 years of working together to deliver training & support for high-end TV (HETV) crew and productions in Wales. Over the decade almost 3,000 people in Wales have been supported by the ScreenSkills HETV Fund.


Watch the video in Welsh.

The breadth and impact of this work were explored in a panel discussion led by Cardiff-based producer Adam Knopf, the Wales HETV Fund Working Group Chair. Members of the working group, David P Davis, from Cardiff based production company Five Acts Productions, and Hayley Manning (Cardiff-based and female-led Little Door Productions) joined Adam on the panel.

Image: Barry Ryan, David P Davis, Adam Knopf, Hayley Manning

Local productions

Over the past three years, there have been nine welsh HETV productions that have contributed to the High-end TV Skills Fund, including The Lazarus Project, Sex Education and Doctor Who. Lost Boys and Fairies, due to air later this year, is another Wales HETV Fund contributor.

By contributing to the HETV Skills Fund and working with ScreenSkills to source and place talent, the Duck Soup Films production became an example of how the industry can collaborate to create new opportunities for the screen workforce, at all levels across the UK.

Training and support

A total of 13 crew members were placed on the production of Lost Boys and Fairies via HETV supported training programmes such as Developing Wales HODs, Leaders of Tomorrow, First Break and Trainee Finder.

Jess Pryse got her start in HETV as an AD trainee on the production through First Break, an initiative that supports pre-new entrants by working with broadcasters, production companies and local partners to encourage, nurture and support individuals to explore a career in TV, giving them the initial tools, knowledge and taster experiences of working in the industry. 

Jess spoke about how she was inspired by the passion and commitment of the cast and crew, which boosted her confidence and skills, leading to her next role in production management. “The passion, creativity and commitment from both cast and crew was lovely to see first-hand. This allowed my confidence to grow and skillsets to flourish, while allowing me to establish myself and make connections within the industry”.

Art director Daniel Kennedy was also on production and impressed the show’s producer, Adam Knopf so much that he encouraged Daniel to apply for the HETV Fund’s Leaders of Tomorrow programme, focused on providing comprehensive and tailored support to mid-level professionals working in high-end TV. he said: "The programme felt like the perfect fit to help me train and work towards becoming a more effective and confident art director, using the new management skills and training which will help my plan to become a supervising art director in the near future."

"This allowed my confidence to grow and skillsets to flourish, while allowing me to establish myself and make connections within the industry”

Jess Pryce, candidate on the HETV First Break programme

Identifying an area of skills shortage, the Wales HETV Working Group commissioned a Developing Heads of Department (HOD) programme, co-funded by our HETV Skills Fund, Creative Wales and Creative Skills Fund, to help experienced professionals in Wales, like Peter Darney, make the step up to HOD level. He said: "The programme was completely career changing. I got to shadow a director working with a team at the top of their game, creating world-class drama. The breadth of experience I gained has given me he confidence to know I can lead my own teams through whatever challenges production might throw at me."

Co-funded by the Film and HETV Skills Funds, recent training for assistant location managers, unit managers  and location managers based in Wales focused on key skills to support them to take on bigger, more ambitious projects & develop their creativity.

Flagship new entrant programme Film Trainee Finder helped Nalishuwa Ikachana get her first experience of life in the art department after she got recommended the initiative following a networking event in Cardiff. "I always wanted to join the film and TV industry but never knew there were routes and pathways for me to join," she explained. "My mother told me about a networking event in Cardiff to recruit people for a show and that's where I heard about Trainee Finder."

The programme helps new entrants by providing invaluable hands-on experience via paid production placements paired with guided training and networking opportunities. "I immediately applied and it was the best thing I could have done," says Nalishuwa. "I went on to work on four productions and eventually fell in love with graphics. Not only has ScreenSkills provided me with amazing placements but other training such as dealing with finances have helped me thrive in the industry."

Unscripted TV

In 2023, the Unscripted TV Skills Fund's Series Producer Programme, delivered by TRC Media, supported 22 people from across the nations and regions to step up to series producer with confidence. We caught up with Wales-based series producer Catrin Honeybill, who was in the cohort. She said: "As someone working in unscripted in the regions, it's been hugely beneficial to have completed the Series Producer Programme. being able to access top-notch professional guidance and tutoring along with invaluable support and advice from the talented course cohort has been a game-changer as I've stepped up to series producer."

From April 2023, 130+ companies have contributed to the Unscripted TV Fund, matching contributions from the 11 broadcasters and streamers who are signed up. Last year, we celebrated the announcement of Welsh-language broadcaster S4C joining the Fund.

Speaking of the move, Sarah Joyce, Head of Unscripted and Children’s TV for ScreenSkills, said: “I am really delighted that S4C has joined the Fund. Since its creation, the Fund has been committed to developing a skilled production workforce across the whole of the UK, so we look forward to working with our colleagues at S4C to make a real and sustainable impact behind the camera in support of unscripted TV production in Wales.”

Further training in January saw a group of experienced APs and PDs in Wales take part in our self shooting PD programme, funded by the Unscripted Fund and delivered by DV Talent Training, teaching key technical, editorial and managerial skills to the group.

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