Bursary guidelines

A ScreenSkills bursary is a cash grant to remove barriers to getting into the screen industries, or progressing your career once you’re in.


A ScreenSkills bursary is a cash grant to remove the obstacles to getting into the screen industries, or progressing your career once you’re in.

Bursaries can be used to pay for short courses or other costs involved in your development. We've awarded bursaries to cover the cost of training fees, access, accommodation during training, travel to training, driving lessons, childcare, software and equipment.

If you’re passionate about your career in film, TV, animation or VFX and you’re unable to develop because of money, bursaries are here for you.

Once you have read the guidelines below, you will be ready to apply for a bursary

How ScreenSkills bursaries are funded

ScreenSkills is the delegate partner for the distribution of the BFI National Lottery funds for bursaries.

Bursaries are also supported by the screen industries contributions to the Film, High-end TV, Children’s TV, and Unscripted TV Skills Funds.

Purpose of the ScreenSkills Bursary Fund

The Bursary Fund exists to support the Screen Industries in the UK as well as to ensure that people from under-represented groups across the UK can access the support they need to develop their careers and skills.

We will measure the success of the Fund using inclusion targets set by the BFI for National Lottery funds and inclusion targets set by industry for the skills funds.

Who can apply for a bursary

You can apply for a bursary if you:

  • Currently work in the UK screen industries, or can demonstrate your intention to work in them
  • Are eligible to work in the UK
  • Are 18 years old or above
  • Have a UK bank account

Priority is given to freelancers rather than those with continuous contracts.

If you are applying for a bursary to attend a training course, please submit your application no earlier than 3 months from when the course commences.

Those who are currently studying a full/part-time degree or equivalent are advised to wait until they graduate before applying for a bursary. This is so that bursaries are allocated to people who are available to take up full-time work as soon as possible.

Assessment criteria

Applications are assessed against these guidelines by the ScreenSkills bursary team and senior managers. We will consider:

  • Your demonstration of need for financial support; Bursary funds can only be awarded to applicants who demonstrate a compelling case for support.
  • Any barriers you may face to access or inclusion in the industry, or in your specific role or grade, for example because of where you live or because you are part of an under-represented group
  • Whether your application demonstrates long term value to the screen industries, particularly if you are filling, or are likely to fill, a skills gap or shortage priority area– most recent research is available here.
  • Whether you are working full time, or hoping to work full time, in the screen industries in the near future 
  • The impact of the cost-of-living-crisis on your ability to invest in your own training and development

For animation submissions, priority will be given to those working (or aspiring to work) on TV series and features, as the support for the bursaries comes from UK television and feature film productions.

Bursary eligibility calculator

You can now find out if you are likely to be eligible to apply for a bursary by using the bursary eligibility calculator.

Please note that passing the questions on the calculator does not mean you will automatically be accepted. You will still need to complete the full bursary application form to be assessed by the bursary team.

When you can expect to hear from us

Applications are assessed within one month. If we need any information from you this may delay assessment of your application. If your application is successful, you'll receive a bursary offer from us.

Using these guidelines

Important advice on how to complete an application form can be found here in our guidelines, however if your queries aren’t answered, you can contact bursaries@screenskills.com.

If you have any questions about access needs, please feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to set up a phone or Zoom call in relation to this.

If you encounter technical issues when trying to complete this application, please contact support@screenskills.com.

How to apply for a bursary

Step 1 - Identify your career stage

The first step in applying for a bursary is identifying your career stage. We aim to offer funding to support screen industry professionals at all stages in their careers. You need to tell us if you are working at an Entry, Early, Experienced or Expert level because what we fund depends upon the stage you’re at.

We understand that screen industry career paths are not always straightforward: you can move into one of the career stages at any age or take a downward or sidewards step. If you don't know what career stage you're at, select the category you feel is more appropriate. If our assessors believe you're 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. If you have any questions, contact bursaries@screenskills.com.

Step 2 - Understand what we fund

Having identified your career stage, you can now see what costs can be covered by a bursary.

What we won't fund

  • ScreenSkills bursaries support people who wish to develop skills behind the camera. We do not award funding for roles such as actors, voice-over artists, presenters and other performers.
  • ScreenSkills bursaries support people working in film, TV and animation. We don't support those working in the video or music industries.
  • We don’t fund film production costs, including graduation films, the cost of personal project development, or distribution costs. Bursaries are here to support and equip an individual’s skills development. If you are hoping to purchase a camera to make your own films we cannot cover this.
  • We don’t pay for theoretical or academic courses. We fund courses that cover practical skills used in paid jobs in the screen industry. Please take a look at our training courses for examples on the types of short courses that are eligible for funding.
  • We don’t provide bursary funding for training which has already been subsidised by ScreenSkills.
  • We cannot fund more than one bursary request from an individual at any one time. Any application received from someone who already has an open bursary with us will be declined. Similarly, if you submit multiple applications at the same time, we will only consider the first application submitted as being eligible for assessment, the rest will be declined.
  • If you are currently receiving support from ScreenSkills via other initiatives, such as Trainee Finder, we may ask you to reapply once your time on a ScreenSkills programme has finished. This is due to the high demand for bursaries and the ambition to support as many people as possible through an even distribution of funding. 
  • We do not provide bursary funding for full-time or part-time undergraduate or post-graduate courses or for additional costs, such as software licensing.
  • We won’t be able to help you with debts or general living expenses.
  • We can't fund driving lessons for people who are entry-level.
  • We do not cover costs which should be paid for by an employer, such as accommodation or travel costs for training provided by the employer.
  • We don’t fund speculative requests. If you’re applying for equipment, you must apply for the specific make and model you require linked to your career stage and be able to qualify why you need it specifically.
  • We don’t fund retrospectively. You must apply for any costs related to your training or short-term job before the activity begins. This includes accommodation, care, subsistence, training, and travel costs. If adjustments for disability access support need to be made whilst you are on a course or job, please let us know how we can help.
  • Similarly, we don’t fund training if your course begins within a week of your application. For example, if you apply on a Monday the course must not begin earlier than Tuesday of the following week.
  • We don’t fund tickets to industry festivals or conferences which do not have a clear training element.

Step 3 - Gather the evidence about you

When applying for a bursary, you will need to provide:

  • Evidence of your career stage (see below)
  • Your CV – clearly showing your screen credits where appropriate for those beyond Entry level
  • A 500-word personal statement explaining how the funded item will help you in your career in the screen industries. A strong personal statement is key to a successful application. We encourage applicants to include the information we need to ensure the award is aligned with our priorities. Find more details about information you might want to include below:
    • We want to support individuals from groups currently under-represented in our industry. If you are under-represented, tell us.
    • Bursaries are there to remove financial obstacles to career development. We only support those who can't afford to pay the costs themselves. Please explain why you need financial support.
    • If you have been adversely affected by the cost-of-living crisis and are able to demonstrate that you have had to divert funds away from your continued professional development please let us know. We cannot support costs for general living expenses, such as rent/mortgage, taxes, vehicle purchases or upkeep, but we recognise that the crisis has impacted people’s ability to invest in themselves.
    • We want to know why you need assistance at this particular point in time. We recommend that training applied for starts within 3 months of your application. If your training occurs later than that we ask that you consider applying closer to the start date to ensure bursaries get to those who need them first
    • We also need you to justify how this training or equipment is appropriate for your needs. We encourage applicants to choose the most cost-effective choices, as we won’t fund the highest spec kit available. For example, if a 2nd hand PC device can do the job you have outlined, then we won’t support your choice of a brand new mac device. Similarly, if you are requesting a large number of items we ask that you prioritise only the one or two which are essential to your next steps. We rarely fund up the highest cap, unless applications are exceptional and encourage applications that demonstrate value for money
    • Our funds can only be used to support those working in, or trying to find work in, film, TV and animation. Please explain which industry you work in or what you are doing to move into that industry.
    • Tell us your next steps should you secure our financial support. We want to see how the bursary relates to your broader career development plan
    • The application form will also ask you to declare your income tax band. 

Step 4 - Gather the evidence about your costs

If you're applying for a bursary for several related costs, such as training with accommodation and travel, make one bursary application and itemise the different elements. See the evidence related to specific costs below.

Step 5 - Apply for a ScreenSkills bursary

Please check your application form carefully. ScreenSkills will not process applications which are incomplete, contain incorrect or misleading information or which do not comply with the bursary guidelines. We may contact you for additional information if our assessors require it.

Once you have read the guidelines you are ready to apply for a bursary

What happens next

Other information

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 April 2024.