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In its 10th year, the HETV Skills Fund remains committed to providing the tailored training needed to develop the next generation of industry talent
For 10 years, the High-end TV Skills Fund has been supporting the industry by developing the workforce through a range of targeted investments in tailored training programmes. As we celebrate a decade of the Fund, managed by industry skills body ScreenSkills, we explore how it has helped provide pathways for new entrants looking to start their screen career journey.
Kaye Elliott, ScreenSkills director of HETV, says: “New entrants are vital to the long-term sustainability of our industry. We rely on new talent to help maintain and further build the TV workforce across the UK, so it’s hugely important that industry-led programmes are in place to support individuals to be work-ready, knowledgeable and best prepared to start an exciting career journey.”
It’s a journey that can begin with the support of HETV Skills-funded initiative First Break, which provides vital early experience of the industry by working hand in hand with productions across the UK to highlight entry routes, including paid shadowing placements. The on-the-job work experience is combined with industry-partnered informative events, bespoke support and ‘need-to-know’ training days to demystify starting a career in TV.
“First Break gave me the opportunity to work in Manchester, my home town. I originally thought I would have to move to London, but there is so much in Manchester – you’re never stuck for work here”
One of those to find entry through the programme is Trisha Mistry. She says: “First Break gave me the opportunity to work in Manchester, my home town. I originally thought I would have to move to London but there is so much in Manchester – you’re never stuck for work here.”
Trisha formed part of the programme’s first cohort in 2019. The latest iteration saw four new entrants find roles on the new series of Sky comedy-drama Brassic.
Tessa Pemberton, head of production (cover) at producer Calamity Films, says: “It was important to us and Sky to help nurture a workforce based close to where our production was shooting and help find and support the behind-the-camera talent of the future, who come from a range of different backgrounds and who may not otherwise have had the opportunity.”
Since launch, the programme has supported 117 people with paid placements on 17 productions filming across the UK. Paid placements also form a key component of the Fund’s next-step new entrant programme, Trainee Finder.
Through a combination of paid work experience and ‘set-ready’ training, the programme offers bespoke support and opportunities to individuals taking their first steps into production. The programme is currently supporting more than 260 trainees.
Applications for the 2023/24 cohort opened in October, with spotlight webinars on the locations, accounts and production office departments available on the ScreenSkills website as the programme responds to direct industry feedback on areas of skills shortage.
The Fund’s relationship with industry is key to informing its decisions on where investment is best placed. Direction provided by the Fund’s industry-comprised Working Groups highlight areas where investment will create the most impact to develop the workforce.
The Craft and Tech Working Group, for example, first highlighted the need for an Electrical Trainee scheme, which launched in 2020. The initiative raised the number of new entrants available to productions in 2023 to meet demand.
With tailored programmes that pair training with experience, the HETV Skills Fund is set to continue to find and connect people with opportunities to help further build the skilled and set-ready workforce across the UK.