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The HETV Skills Fund is helping new and existing talent achieve their ambitions north of the border
The boom in production enjoyed across the UK has certainly been felt in Scotland, where TV shows such as The Rig and Anansi Boys (both for Amazon Prime) have become the latest titles to find a home north of the border. As the industry-led body for the screen industries across the UK, ScreenSkills has been able to support and develop the workforce in Scotland through the investments of its High-end TV Skills Fund.
Last year, Kate Efomi joined ScreenSkills as training liaison manager for Scotland, cementing further industry ties by securing a base for ScreenSkills at STV’s Pacific Quay building in Glasgow.
Speaking of how the role reflects the aims of the body, Efomi says: “I’ve worked in the Scottish screen industries for more than 20 years and have never known it to be so busy and buzzing. The need for training and recruitment has never been so crucial. It’s been a pleasure to develop partnerships with training providers and industry bodies to build on the opportunities the High-end TV Skills Fund brings to Scotland.”
These opportunities, through tailored programmes, target those at all career stages. Those starting their screen journeys have experienced their first taste of a production through the Trainee Finder programme, a paid placement initiative for new entrants. Working with production companies, ScreenSkills placed trainees on sets across Scotland.
Glaswegian Callum Miller was one such trainee, receiving a placement in the costume department for two Scottish productions. He says: “It’s such a great thing to be part of. I felt like I was getting loads of knowledge as well as hands-on experience.”
There were placements too for those at a more advanced stage in their career through ScreenSkills’ HETV-funded Make a Move and Leaders of Tomorrow programmes. Each initiative addresses mid-level shortages by working with industry partners to identify those ready to make the next step and receive on-the-job training for a more senior role.
Maddiston local Cory Townsend is in his second year of the HETV Leaders of Tomorrow programme, and has now stepped up to locations manager. He says: “It’s the perfect programme to put me in contact with those who can help me progress. It really is tailored to each individual and what they can make of it – it’s fantastic.”
Further initiatives are shaped by the HETV Working Groups, which pinpoint where investment is needed to tackle skills shortages.
Producer Suzanne Reid, chair of the Scotland Working Group, says: “It helps us direct funding to where it’s most needed. We need to create training opportunities to have a sustainable industry in Scotland and with the HETV Fund’s support, we will continue to develop grassroots training to build a new generation of TV professionals.”
These industry ties are key in allowing the HETV Fund to support programmes in Scotland. They have enabled the working group to commission ACES training in collaboration with NFTS Scotland and an early entrant pathway programme alongside BECTU Vision, while a soon-to-launch runner programme in partnership with thinkBIGGER! focuses on opportunities for those from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.
It’s through this collaboration and support that ScreenSkills and the HETV Skills Fund can build on Scotland’s booming production and continue to develop the workforce in the nation. With new opportunities and new productions on the horizon, it’s a workforce that is ready to thrive in 2023.