Screenskills launches new Unscripted TV Skills Fund

15 April 2021

Screenskills has today launched a new Unscripted TV Skills Fund to address skills gaps and shortages in the UK.

The Fund will invest matched contributions from broadcasters and productions to address skills shortages, and those on board for launch are BBC, Channel 4, Pact, Sky, A+E Networks UK, Discovery UK and BBC Studios.

The key points are:

  • will address skills gaps and shortages in unscripted television across the UK
  • will build a bigger pool of off-screen crew and talent in the nations and regions, build a more inclusive workforce and future-proof the industry
  • matches investment from contributing broadcasters and production companies in a pan-industry collaboration to address acknowledged problems
  • goes live on 1 June for commissions contracted after that date
  • investment decisions will be made by practitioners who understand what is needed
  • should see significant increase in funding from £370,000 to c £3 million in three years.

Philippa Childs, Head of Bectu and Screenskills board member, said:

“Bectu members in unscripted TV regularly tell us that there are gaps in training provision in the industry, so it is really positive to see Screenskills and broadcasters respond to mounting calls for change by announcing this investment in a new Unscripted TV Skills Fund.

“If anyone requires evidence that such a fund is necessary, they need look no further than a recent Bectu, Viva La PD and Bournemouth University survey of 1,200 TV freelancers which found that a staggering 70% of respondents with management responsibilities had not received adequate training in the practical and legal aspects of managing people.

“The focus on building an inclusive workforce is also extremely welcome. The same Bectu survey found that 73% of respondents feel that recruitment practices in TV are unfair, and we know that diversity remains a problem in the industry.”

Seetha Kumar, CEO, ScreenSkills, said:

“The new Unscripted TV Skills Fund sees the industry acting collectively and strategically to address acknowledged skills shortages and to achieve access, and effective progression of an inclusive workforce. This is the right thing to do if we are to walk the walk on equal access for crew and talent to support production in all parts of the UK and maintain the standards of excellence for which we are world-renowned.”