Bursary guidelines

A ScreenSkills bursary is a cash grant designed to remove some of the practical barriers to making progress in the screen industries. Bursaries pay for training or other costs associated with skills development.  We provide bursaries to help ensure the screen industries have access now, and in the future, to the skills and talent needed for continued success. 

Please read this full page before applying for a bursary.

Supporting an individual with a bursary to develop their career helps the screen industries to respond to skills gaps and priority shortage areas. Bursaries are supported by BFI-awarded National Lottery funds, by industry contributions to the Film, High-end TV, Children’s TV and Animation Skills Funds and through money from the Television Skills Fund targeted at improving diversity and inclusivity. Despite the various funding sources, we have created one route to accessing bursaries in order to make the application process as straightforward as possible.

These guidelines contain all the information you need to apply for a bursary. If, after reading the guidelines, you still have a question or you need help in applying please contact: bursaries@screenskills.com.

We have made some additional changes to the Bursary programme to respond to the current situation with Covid-19.

Our aim is to support as many individuals with their development needs as possible during this uncertain time. We will continue to monitor the situation and will adapt our approach as needed.

Please note ScreenSkills Bursaries support training and development, it is not a hardship fund- we encourage anyone working in the industry who is experiencing financial difficulties to visit the Film and Television Charity website where help and support in this area can be found.

  • We encourage attendees to apply for funding for online courses across the next few months. Please wait until the situation is clearer before requesting funding for face to face courses for this year.
  • We will prioritise requests where we can support development across this uncertain time- for example supporting the purchase of equipment to adapt to remote working or supporting remote and online learning. As per bursary guidelines, please ensure you are always requesting the most cost-effective support as we want to fund as many individuals as possible with the set bursary funding.
  • Due to the current government guidelines around social distancing we are not currently accepting any bursary applications for funding towards driving lessons. This will be reviewed regularly and we aim to open up this strand of funding again as soon as possible.
  • Except for at ‘entry level’, bursary funding requires individuals to contribute a proportion of the overall cost- please ensure you are in a position where you are comfortable to financially contribute to this before making an application. The Bursary programme is open all year.
  • We recognise that students in their final year of education face entering a deeply impacted screen industry. We welcome applications from final year students who are seeking funding for development opportunities until the situation is clearer.

Apply for a bursary

We aim to offer support wherever possible, but not all applications will be successful due to limited funding and a focus on skills priority areas. Every bursary application will be reviewed in detail and assessed by a senior manager at the final stage.

Top tips for applying for a bursary:

  • Be specific about exactly what the requested funding is for and exactly how it will help your work in the screen industries right now- do not request funding for elements across a range of levels or across a range of areas. We may only part fund applications that include multiple requests- make sure you have prioritised what you need.
  • Make sure you’ve chosen the most cost-effective option for your request, for example if you are looking to purchase equipment.
  • We do not pay for usages in arrears and requests for funding for training courses must be made at least 7 days before the course start date.
  • If you have access needs, please contact us to talk about how we can best support you with the application process. Information supplied will be used in the strictest confidence

Eligibility: who can apply for a bursary

You can only apply for a bursary if you can confirm that all the following statements are accurate:

  • I currently work in the UK screen industries, or I can demonstrate my intention to work in the UK screen industries
  • I am eligible to work in the UK
  • I am 18 years old or above
  • I have a UK bank account

Considerations:

We will prioritise applications from people who clearly demonstrate an ambition to work in the UK screen industries long-term, particularly if they are filling, or are likely to fill, a skills gap or shortage priority area You can find a list of the roles for which employers found it hard to recruit on page 9 of the Quarterly ScreenSkills Barometer. On page 13 of the same report, you will find a list of the general skills employers said were hard to find. Using this information may help you think through your application and write your personal statement. However, skills shortages aren’t the only factor we consider, particularly during this uncertain time, so don’t be put off if your role or the training for which you’d like bursary funding isn’t listed.

If you are already in the industry we may take into account your employment status. This is because we are focused on supporting freelancers and others who are not on permanent employment contracts.

ScreenSkills also reserves some funding to support people from groups that are underrepresented across the screen industries. This is to help meet the industry’s ambition to fully reflect the UK population in its workforce.  

Due to the high demand for bursaries and the ambition to support as many people as possible through an even distribution of funding, we will also consider if you are currently receiving support from ScreenSkills via other initiatives, for example Trainee Finder- we may ask you to reapply once your time on a ScreenSkills programme has finished.

The ScreenSkills bursary framework:

We aim to offer funding to support screen industry professionals at all stages in their careers. Our new bursary framework reflects four career stages: Entry, Early, Experienced and Expert. The aim is to help individuals identify where they are in their working life and the most appropriate support and training. 

Use the career stage framework below to decide which stage most closely reflects your current situation. Count the statements which apply to you and choose the career stage with the most relevance to you.

 The framework is not meant to be exhaustive and not all criteria will necessarily apply to you. Screen industry career paths are not always straightforward: you can move into one of the career stages at any age eg when you change role or department, transfer into a different sector, or are promoted into a new role. 

 During the assessment process, we will look at the information you supply to see if we broadly agree with the career stage you’ve chosen. If you have any questions, contact bursaries@screenskills.com

Entry

Entering the screen industries.

Career:
I'm still working that out, but I've definitely decided the screen industries are for me.

Professional engagements:
I am working towards my first couple of professional production credits or full-time employed roles in the screen industries

Budgetary responsibility:
I am not expected to manage budgets or spend money on behalf of the production or company.

Team management:
I do not manage anyone other than myself.

Early

Establishing your career.

Career:
I have a sense of which job role or department I want to work in but as yet I might not be working regularly within it.

Professional engagements:
I have two or more professional production credits and/or have been employed in an industry-recognised role on two or more occasions.

Budgetary responsibility:
I have very minor budgeting responsibility, often restricted to petty cash or acquiring quotes for goods and services.

Team management:
I manage myself and sometimes others also at my level.

Experienced

Progressing your career.

Career:
I've chosen my job role or department and I am regularly working in it.

Professional engagements:
I have a number of professional production credits in my current role or I am transferring in with advanced skills from another sector. I have been working in my chosen industry-recognised role for a number of years full-time.

Budgetary responsibility:
I might expect to be in control of my budget, reporting to a more senior member of the production or company.

Team management:
I might be responsible in my department for overseeing entry-and early-stage career colleagues working with me.

Expert

Acknowledged as an expert.

Career:
I have chosen my specific job role or department and I am now acknowledged as being an expert in my chosen field.

Professional engagements:
I have built up a portfolio of professional credits. I am highly regarded in my field and consistently work in advanced positions within my specialisation.

Budgetary responsibility:
I might be in control of my departmental budget, which could have many categories. I might be aware of other departments/overall budgeting strategy and report directly into the most senior member of finance.

Team management:
I am responsible in my department for overseeing entry-and early-stage career colleagues working with me.

What you can apply for

The descriptions below use the career stage framework, so you should first have identified your stage from the list above.  The table shows the maximum amount for which you can apply, what you can spend the money on, and the evidence we need to assess your screen industry interest and experience.

Please note that professional/academic references need to be on official paper and to contain an e-mail address relating to the company or college that can verify the reference.

Entry

Evidence required to apply:

  • A personal statement (see below)
  • Evidence related to the funding you are applying for (see below) 
  • Two letters of recommendation

At least one of these letters must be professional or academic.  Please ask your referees to explain why they think you:

  • Are committed to the screen industries
  • Would be an asset to  the screen industries 
  • Need a bursary to help you succeed  

Examples of what we fund in relation to training, work or work-related activities in the screen industries:

  • Accommodation
  • Care
  • Disability access support
  • Equipment purchase
  • Equipment hire
  • Software licensing
  • Subsistence
  • Training costs
  • Travel

Maximum funding available in a year:

  • Up to £1,000
  • 100% of total costs

Early

Evidence required to apply:

  • A personal statement (see below)
  • Proof of working in the industry.  Must include one of the following: IMDB page, LinkedIn, two professional references
  • Evidence related to the funding you are applying for (see below) 

Examples of what we fund in relation to training, work or work-related activities in the screen industries:

  • Accommodation
  • Care
  • Disability access support
  • Driving lessons (we are temporarily suspending applications for  bursaries for driving lesson due to the Covid-19 situation)
  • Equipment purchase
  • Equipment hire
  • Software licensing
  • Subsistence
  • Training costs
  • Travel

Maximum funding available in a year:

  • Up to £2,000
  • Maximum 80% of total cost

Experienced

Evidence required to apply:

  • A personal statement (see below)
  • Proof of working in the industry for three to seven years.  Must include one of the following: IMDB page, LinkedIn, two professional references
  • Evidence related to the funding you are applying for (see below) 

Examples of what we fund in relation to training, work or work-related activities in the screen industries:

  • Accommodation
  • Bespoke/executive coaching
  • Bespoke/executive training
  • Care
  • Disability access support
  • Driving lessons (we are temporarily suspending applications for  bursaries for driving lesson due to the Covid-19 situation)
  • Equipment purchase
  • Equipment hire
  • Software licensing
  • Subsistence
  • Training costs
  • Travel

Maximum funding available in a year:

  • Up to £3,000
  • Maximum of 80% of total cost up to £1,000
  • Maximum of 50% of total cost from £1,000 upwards

Expert

Evidence required to apply:

  • A personal statement (see below)
  • Proof of working in the industry for three to seven years.  Must include one of the following: IMDB page, LinkedIn, two professional references
  • Evidence related to the funding you are applying for (see below) 

Examples of what we fund in relation to training, work or work-related activities in the screen industries:

  • Accommodation
  • Bespoke/executive coaching
  • Bespoke/executive training
  • Care
  • Disability access support
  • Driving lessons (we are temporarily suspending applications for  bursaries for driving lesson due to the Covid-19 situation)
  • Equipment purchase
  • Equipment hire
  • Software licensing
  • Subsistence
  • Training costs
  • Travel

Maximum funding available in a year:

  • Up to £3,000
  • Maximum of 80% of total cost up to £1,000
  • Maximum of 50% of total cost from £1,000 upwards

The maximum amounts you can claim for an item (e.g. travel or accommodation) are set out  below.

Specific requests

  • If you are requesting software, it must be at a relevant level to where you currently are in your career (or to make the next step up) and you are in a role, or moving a role that would require you to use this regularly.
  • If you are applying for a training course you must apply at least 7 days before the start date.
  • If you are applying for equipment, it must be the most cost effective version and it must be a direct need in regards to the role that you do. Please note, demand for laptops is high and funding will only be considered when absolutely vital to the regular completion of that role.

What we won't fund:

  • Bursaries can only pay for work or training related costs. The course content, must feature practical skills meant for paid jobs in the screen industry. This does not include theoretical, or academic based courses. Please take a look at our training courses for examples on the types of courses that are eligible for funding.
  • We do not provide bursary funding for full-time or part-time undergraduate or post graduate courses, although we may fund other student costs (eg software licensing). 
  • We won’t be able to help you with debts or general living expenses.
  • We do not provide bursary funding for course fees which are already funded by ScreenSkills.
  • We do not cover costs which should be paid for by an employer (eg accommodation or travel costs for training provided by the employer).

How to apply:

You should apply online using our application form and by uploading supporting documents. If you have any access needs or questions please contact bursaries@screenskills.com.

Use the below information to see what evidence you will need to provide for each usage, and what the allowance for each usage is:

Accommodation

If you’re applying for accommodation to attend training you will need to provide:

  • Evidence of the distance from your home (a description or link).
    • A direct website link to your chosen accommodation.
    • A breakdown of costs
    • An explanation of why you need to stay away from home

Please note: we will consider applications from those seeking funding towards costs of accommodation associated with taking up work opportunities, primarily at Entry and Early stages.

ScreenSkills will contribute to accommodation costs at the following rates:

  • Up to £90 a night in London
  • Up to £60 a night outside of London

If the accommodation is needed to attend training that you are also asking ScreenSkills to support, you should only make one bursary application for all related costs.

Disability access support:

If you’re applying for disability access support you will need to provide:

  • A description of the type of support and why you require it.
  • A breakdown of costs.

Care

If you’re applying for care to attend training you will need to provide:

  • The name of your carer.
  • Your carer’s contact details.
  • Proof of a DBS certificate or a link to your carer’s professional website (if applicable)
  • A breakdown of costs

Please note: we will consider applications from those seeking funding towards care associated with taking up work opportunities, primarily at Entry and Early stages.

ScreenSkills will contribute to care costs at the following rates:

  • Up to £75 a day

If the care is needed to attend training that you are also asking ScreenSkills to support, you should only make one bursary application for all related costs.

Early, Experienced and Expert applicants may only apply for up to £1,500 per annum.

Driving lessons

Due to current government guidelines, we are not accepting applications for driving lessons at this time.

Equipment/clothing/software licences

If you’re applying for funding to purchase or rent equipment, clothing or software licences you will need to provide:

  • The name of your chosen equipment, clothing or software supplier
  • A quote for the cost of the equipment, clothing or software

For wet weather gear, ScreenSkills will contribute up to a maximum of £200 per applicant.

Subsistence

If you’re applying for subsistence while attending training or a work opportunity – where subsistence is not provided by the venue/training provider/employer – you will need to provide:

  • Evidence of the distance from your home: a description of the journey or link explaining the journey, which must be more than 25 miles. Please explain in your supporting statement any exceptional circumstances which mean that you require subsistence support where the journey is under 25 miles.  
  • A breakdown of costs.

Please note: we will consider applications from those seeking funding towards subsistence associated with work opportunities in the short-term, primarily at Entry and Early stages, where meal allowances are not provided by the employer.

ScreenSkills will contribute to subsistence costs for development or training where food is not supplied by the organiser, at the following rates:

  • Up to £5 for breakfast
  • Up to £10 for lunch
  • Up to £15 for dinner

Alcohol will not be covered.

If the subsistence is needed to attend training that you are also asking ScreenSkills to support, you should only make one bursary application for all related costs.

Training

If you're applying for a training course you will need to provide:

  • The name of your chosen training course(s)
  • The name and address of the training provider
  • Evidence of the training cost.
  • The training dates (please note that we cannot provide bursary funding for retrospective payment of training costs).
  • Confirmation of the course costs and a booking confirmation or correspondence with the training provider which confirms your reserved place.
  • A direct link to or a copy of the course outline

Travel

If you're applying for travel costs to attend training you will need to provide:

  • Evidence of the distance from your home (a description or link explaining the journey, which must be more than 25 miles. Please explain in your supporting statement any exceptional circumstances which mean that you require travel support where the journey is under 25 miles.
  • Evidence of the travel costs (eg a link or photo)
  • A breakdown of costs.

Please note: we will consider applications from those seeking funding towards travel associated with taking up work opportunities, primarily at Entry and Early stages.

ScreenSkills expect people to use public transport whenever possible. If you need to use your own transport we will contribute at the following rates:

  • 25p per mile (by car)
  • 24p per mile (by motorbike/scooter

Standard class/economy rates only (rail and air).

All vehicles must be fully road-legal and we reserve the right to ask for copies of insurance, MOT and driving licence.

If the travel is needed to attend training that you are also asking ScreenSkills to support, you should only make one bursary application for all related costs.

Bespoke training/coaching

If you're applying for bespoke coaching/training you will need to provide:

  • A written statement explaining the training purpose, how it will be used, why it is not available by other means and why this training/coaching will help you professionally.
  • A company-headed letter/e-mail from the provider outlining the training or coaching plan.
  • A quotation from the provider for the cost of the training or coaching

Your application checklist

  • I have read the guidelines and identified my career stage (Entry, Early, Experienced or Expert)
  • I have evidence of my career stage as outlined in the guidelines, e.g. letters of recommendation
  • I have checked the funding level for my identified career stage
  • I have checked the relevant allowance rates (see the allowance grid in the guidelines) 
  • I have a copy of my CV and a 500-word personal statement
  • I have the information needed for the help I want, (e.g. if I'm applying for accommodation, I have evidence of distance from home)
  • If I receive a provisional offer, I will be able to provide proof of ID and a UK bank account.

When you have completed the application form and attached your supporting documents you should click on the ‘submit’ button. Your application will not be submitted to ScreenSkills for assessment until you have clicked ‘submit’.

A message will appear on your screen that confirms your application has been successfully submitted. If you experience any issues please contact: support@screenskills.com

After submitting your application form:

Decision-making process, timelines and communication

We aim to offer funding wherever possible, but we cannot promise that all applications will be successful due to limited funding and skills shortage priorities.

Applications are assessed by the ScreenSkills bursary team and senior managers. 

We recommend that when you’re planning your application, you allow at least four weeks from submission for an answer on whether your application has been successful.

We may need to ask you for additional information, so the time we take to make a decision may also be affected by the time it takes you to respond to any requests for further information. Please bear in mind that, to ensure equality of opportunity, we cannot speed up the assessment process in any individual case.

If an offer is made to you, the first payment instalment will then take up to a further 3 weeks to reach your account.

If your application is successful, you will receive an e-mail with a letter outlining the provisional offer and our terms and conditions.  The offer e-mail will explain what further information we will then need such as a copy of formal identification and proof of a UK bank account. Please note that we use anti-fraud systems to verify your identity. This process forms part of the application process and will be carried out before any funding is awarded or released to successful applicants.

If you receive an offer e-mail you must accept the offer within two weeks of the date of the e-mail.   ScreenSkills cannot release any funding until checks are made and we receive your signed offer letter. The signed, returned offer letter is your ‘Funding Agreement’ with ScreenSkills.

Please let us know in writing if we offer you funding but you no longer wish to accept it. Any offers not accepted within two weeks will be withdrawn. 

If your bursary application is unsuccessful, we will notify you by e-mail. ScreenSkills cannot accept responsibility for any costs incurred before the decision on your application is confirmed.

Bursary payment schedule

Confirmed bursary funding will be paid directly into your personal bank account. ScreenSkills will pay 80% of the amount agreed (up to a maximum of £1,000) once you have returned your signed offer letter, provided all information requested and all of our checks have been made. The balance of the bursary funding will be reserved until you have completed the activity or purchase supported by the bursary funding and submitted the documentation outlined in the ‘Funding Agreement’ paperwork. In exceptional circumstances we will consider varying this staged payment: if you think your situation qualifies, please outline the reasons in your personal statement, or you can contact: bursaries@screenskills.com

Please note that you are responsible for payments made to third parties. ScreenSkills does not accept responsibility for transferring funds to third parties.

Bursary investment and follow-up

If you’re awarded a bursary you must invest your funding in line with your approved application. If you purchase any equipment using bursary funding you are expected, wherever possible, to insure your purchase. ScreenSkills cannot be held responsible for any loss, theft or damage of any item and/or purchase made using bursary funding. If any purchased item is returned, or any planned activity is cancelled, you are legally required to return all awarded bursary funding to ScreenSkills.

If you receive bursary funding ScreenSkills will follow up with you, at intervals, to ensure that funding is being used as agreed and to monitor how the bursary support has helped your career progression.  Taking part in this process will be part of your funding agreement with us.  

Frequently Asked Questions

  • I don’t know what career stage I am at, what should I put in my application?
    Please select the category you feel is most appropriate. If our assessors believe you are at a different stage, we can alter this during the assessment. We don’t reject applications because an inappropriate/incorrect career stage has been selected. Please see the bursary guidelines for more information about career stages.
  • I can’t find information about references on the website. Information on what your referees can write are under the Entry Level drop-down tab, which you’ll find under the heading.
  • What if neither of my referees work in the screen industries? This is fine. Those who work outside of the industry, can use their reference to highlight your transferable skills.
  • My course is happening next week, I can’t wait up four weeks for your decision what should I do? ScreenSkills does not accept liability for your costs should you decide to attend a course or purchase equipment before we have informed you of our decision.
  • How do I know whether my course is currently being subsidised by ScreenSkills? Please ask the course provider.
  • Can I apply for a bursary, before choosing a course? No. So that we know where funds are going, we need to see confirmation that applicants have been accepted onto a screen related course with confirmed dates. For any usage, we cannot accept applications based on speculative figures.
  • What confirmation do I need to show I’ve been accepted for a course, before applying for a bursary? Please save correspondence from the course leader informally inviting you to the course, or a page showing that you’ve been pencilled into attending.
  • Can I get funding for a course I have already attended/equipment I have already purchased? No, we do not fund retroactive applications.
  • I’ve submitted my application, but don’t know if you’ve received it? If you do not see an on-screen notification and email that tells you that your application was successfully submitted, please contact support@screenskills.com.
  • Who do I contact if I encounter technical issues when trying to complete the application form? If you encounter any technical glitches, please contact support@screenskills.com
  • What support can I get if I have access needs? Feel free to contact bursaries@screenskills.com or (0)20 7713 9800, if you need support to complete your application.
  • When will I hear back about my application? Applications are assessed within four weeks. If any information is missing on your application we will get in touch with you and this may delay your application.  
  • When will I get my money? If you have received a bursary offer from us all details will be in your offer letter. When you have met all the conditions outlined in your offer and provided the additional information requested, it will take at least 15 working days for the funds to reach your account.
  • I would like to apply for an animation bursary- I work on commercials/motion graphics, am I eligible to apply? For animation submissions priority will be given to those evidently working on or aspiring to work on TV series and features, given that the support for the bursaries comes from UK television and feature film productions.    

Other information:

Fund management

ScreenSkills has a limited amount of bursary funds to invest in supporting screen industry skills development. Every two months we will look at the pattern of our bursary investment. If we find that a certain role, skill, demographic or type of training has received a disproportionate amount of bursary funding we reserve the right to adjust our application approvals to ensure a balanced funding distribution. Similarly, if we invest a larger amount than budgeted during one particular phase, we reserve the right to close applications for a period of time to ensure fair distribution of bursary funds during each financial year.

Diversity and inclusivity

ScreenSkills strives to be an inclusive organisation, and we are committed to meeting the aims of our diversity and equal opportunities policy which is in line with the Equality Act 2010. We support the screen industries’ aim for their workforce to reflect the UK’s diversity. 

ScreenSkills bursaries support talented people, including people from underrepresented groups, to enter or progress in the screen industries. This is particularly important in circumstances where people feel that the screen industries are not open to them, whatever their career experience and stage.

When you apply for a bursary we will request consent for your diversity information to be used, where appropriate, in the application assessment process. Diversity information is also used to help us monitor ScreenSkills bursary applications, take-up and benefit.  

For more information please read our ScreenSkills guide to diversity and inclusivity monitoring.

Privacy and data

ScreenSkills is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy, and to collecting and processing your data in accordance with all legal requirements. For more information please read our policies which are in line with the General Data Protection Guidelines of May 2018 (GDPR) and any other subsequent Data Protection Legislation UK (Act). 

If you have questions or concerns about your data you can contact our Data Protection Officers at data.protection@screenskills.com

Fraud

ScreenSkills is committed to ensuring that bursary funds reach the right people and are used in the right way. By making an application for a bursary you are agreeing that the personal information you supply can be shared with fraud prevention agencies who will use it to prevent fraud and money-laundering and to verify your identity. If fraud is detected your bursary application will automatically be declined. A record of any fraud or money laundering risk will be retained by the fraud prevention agencies, and may result in others refusing to provide services, financing or employment to you.

Further details of how your information will be used by us and these fraud prevention agencies, and your data protection rights, can be found here.

If you are successful in your application you must spend the money as agreed, keeping all receipts and returning them to ScreenSkills.  You must also comply with other reasonable terms, as outlined in your ‘Funding Agreement’ paperwork.  ScreenSkills reserves the right to take appropriate action if the terms of the ‘Funding Agreement’ paperwork are not met.  

Please be aware that we reserve the right to amend these guidelines at any time. If you have questions or need advice please contact us at bursaries@screenskills.com.

These guidelines were last updated 29 July 2020. Download these guidelines as a PDF.