Bursary guidelines

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.

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 here, you can contact bursaries@screenskills.com or call 020 7713 9800.

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.

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. However, each bursary application will be reviewed in detail and assessed by a senior manager at the final stage. We exercise our judgement about what awards we make and reserve the right to decline, taking into account a range of different factors.

These can include:

  • ·Your representation or underrepresentation in the industry, or in your specific role or grade (this can include where you live).
  • 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.

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.

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.

Other factors we may take into account include your income (the application form will ask you to declare your income tax band).

When you can expect to hear from us

Applications are assessed within one month. If any information is missing on your application we'll get in touch - but this may delay your application. If your application is successful, you'll receive a bursary offer from us. When you've 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. For more detail on the schedule see the "What happens next" section at the bottom of this page.

How ScreenSkills bursaries are funded

Our bursaries are supported by BFI, through National Lottery funds, and by the screen industries contributions to the Film, High-end TV, Children’s TV, and Animation Skills Funds. For animation submissions priority will be given to working on or aspiring to work on TV series and features, as the support for the bursaries comes from UK television and feature film productions. 

Once you have read the guidelines below, you will be ready 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
  • 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.

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
  • 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. 
    •  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 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.
    • We also need you to explain 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. Similarly, if you are requesting a large number of items we ask that you prioritise only those essential to your next steps.
    • 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

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

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 17 April 2023.