This Monday I went to WFTV / Skillset’s ‘Show Me the Money!’ meeting about Film and TV bursaries. TV Co-ordinators Raechel Leigh Carter and Kate Smith, Film Fund Co-ordinator Stephanie Akinyelure, and Harriet Fleuriot, Skillset’s Film & Online Marketing Manager gave an interesting presentation on how – and how not – to get your hands on the cash.
The great news is that there’s money still in the pots that needs to be used for training bursaries before the end of this financial year, so read below, get on the Skillset website and get cracking. Even if you haven’t worked for a while, or are a parent who’s been out of the loop bringing up a child – you can still get the cash, I specifically asked. In fact Skillset really want you to have the money, and have pledged that 50% of their bursaries will go to women this year – as just over 40% of the workforce in TV and film is female, the odds are definitely stacked for the ladies. But of course there are bursaries for Media Dads too!
Skillset gives bursaries to freelancers for courses specific to their own skills that will help them to further their careers. Nice. They make awards of up to a grand. Even nicer! The bursaries don’t just cover tuition fees but also associated costs, like transport to a place. Skillset also make grants to employees, not just freelancers. Very nice too.
The specific areas that have rich cash reserves at the moment are bursaries for Management & Leadership in TV, and Multiplatform. They also let it slip that fewer Management and Leadership applications are made.
Tips on how to apply for Skillset Funding:
The main one seemed to be RTFM, which made me smile. All the notes on how to get the funding are on the Skillset site, it seems that few people are actually willing to read them.
Update your CV (for tips on CVs, see elsewhere on this blog). They want to see it in chronological order, credits by production date not TX date, and they want be able to read your relevant TV / Film production experience clearly. BUT if you’ve had a break from work because you’ve been unemployed or heavily employed with childcare – that’s fine. All you need to do is state that on your CV.
Unable to sit quietly in a PowerPoint presentation for long, I asked:
“How long is an acceptable career break?” “A 3 year gap needs explanation,” answered Rachael L C, “We’re looking for your potential to succeed in the TV industry, and reassurance that the money will be well spent. We want to see that people are still committed to a career in the industry, but we also know it can be really tough, so you just need to demonstrate what you’re doing to get TV work”.
Pick your course carefully – make sure it’s something you can justify and are ready for. Having been quiet for at least 15 minutes and knowing that there were Management & Leadership Bursaries up for grabs, I asked “What level must a freelancer be at before they are ready for management training?” They said, “We wanted the Q&A to be at the end of the session” but graciously answered anyway: “Anyone from PD level upwards is absolutely welcome to apply for a Management & Leadership Bursary. Production Managers are also eligible – people just need to outline management experience to date.”
When you fill in the box about why you want the training don’t put a one-word answer. This goes straight to bin. (Probably.) You need to explain how training will help you further your TV or film career. If you’re applying after a career break you need to write and say how training will help you back into TV or film. It’s that easy. If you’re stuck for inspiration use the watercooler at www.mediaparents.co.uk – you will get an answer.
Stephanie A said “We’re giving out film and TV money for coaching, mentoring, leadership and business skills – anything that will develop your talents so that it can be ploughed back into the industry.” She also said that whereas TV courses have to be assessed by Skillset for funding, film bursaries work differently. If you want a bursary for a film course, you find the course, write to Skillset and tell them about it, they assess it and may award you the funding – so you choose the course, not Skillset. At least I am pretty sure that’s true, I swear I held off on the free wine and buffet till afterwards. It doesn’t even have to be at a Film School, it can be at a business school for example. You can contact Skillset through their website below to find out if a particular course is applicable.
It takes up to 4 weeks to approve funding, no matter what the course, so please apply in good time.
The final word from Skillset on applications: Large envelopes require different postage. Word.
Please mention Media Parents when you apply. www.mediaparents.co.uk/ – gorgeous. www.skillset.org/
If you are a woman and want to retrain out of media into a job in science, engineering, technology or the built environment, the UKRC is a government-backed organisation is offering grants for training in those fields if booked by December. Please see http://www.theukrc.org/women/grants-and-bursaries/ukrc-training-grants