The High-end TV Skills Fund at 10 in the South West

Image: ScreenSkills / Chelsey Cliff

ScreenSkills’ High-end TV Skills Fund (HETV) continues its 10-year celebrations, with a special focus on the Fund’s collaboration with productions in the South West of England this week.

Since April 2020, the Fund has supported 49 high-end television productions in the region including The Outlaws (Big Talk Productions), Beyond Paradise (Red Planet Pictures), Bridgerton (Shondaland), Sanditon (Red Planet Pictures), Chloe (Mam Tor Productions), The Blue Planet III and Planet Earth III (BBC Natural History Unit). As part of this work, over the last ten years, the Fund has provided comprehensive support for freelancers at all stages of their careers in the South West. With funded programmes to grow and develop the region’s workforce, 452 members of the local production industry have benefitted from personalised support in their career pathway.

Addressing guests at a special event in Bristol, the deputy chair of the High-end TV Skills Fund, Christine Healy, thanked the industry for its contribution to the Fund and the difference that this collaborative work has made.  “The Fund was created by industry and for industry ten years ago in response to the introduction of the tax credit,” Healy explained. “The ambition was to ensure long-term, joined up and collective investment in the HETV workforce across the UK. And I believe that we have delivered on that ambition.”

Helen Bater David Crewdson  Donna Grant
Image: ScreenSkills beneficiaries Helen Bater, David Crewdson and Donna Grant ScreenSkills / Chelsey Cliff

The significance of the HETV Fund’s work and how industry can nurture the talent within it was then explored in a panel discussion chaired by Gritty Talent’s Mel Rodrigues. Representing the rich and varied production heritage of the South West, Mel was joined in conversation by local production executives Hana Canter, COO Wild Space Productions, Benjamin Greenacre, producer on The Lazarus Project and Joanna Crow, who produced the drama thriller series Chloe and is an Alumni of the HETV Fund Make a Move Programme.

Explaining how critical the HETV Fund’s support was in her career progression to becoming a producer, Joanna Crow points to the kinds of opportunities that can arise. “Make A Move creates genuine enhanced access to the pathways in the industry rather than trying to reinvent the wheel off-site,” says Joanna. “This provides a way for crew to break the Catch 22 cycle of projects always wanting those who are ‘experienced’ in their roles.” 

The panel also reflected on the lessons learned in their own careers, offering advice those wanting to progress their career in the HETV industry or future proof their skills. Hana Canter suggests: “Take your time and learn what everyone else is doing as well as your own job. Stay curious.”

Mel Rodrigues, in turn advises: “Not being afraid to ask for help. Work out where the gaps in your skill set are and seek help.”

Currently a participant on the Leaders of Tomorrow programme, and based in the South West, David Crewdson, says: “The Leaders of Tomorrow programme has been a fantastic opportunity for me. It has introduced me to a network of support and training that has accelerated my progression within the industry. Beyond tailored professional training and an experienced hand-picked mentor, it has also provided essential access to funding that has facilitated on the job experience and shadowing of established personnel that has been crucial to my own development."

Watch the video to find out how the High-end TV Skills Fund has invested in the workforce in South West England.

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