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Kaye Elliott reflects on 10 years of the High-end TV Skills Fund

Jul 20, 2023

This year marks ten years of the High-end TV (HETV) Skills Fund. Screenskills celebrates the occasion with a series of features that look at the work of the Fund in the past ten years, ScreenSkills’ director of high-end television, Kaye Elliott, shares her thoughts.

First though, watch this short video about the productions that have contributed to the Fund and its successes.

2023 marks the tenth year of the industry-led High-end TV Skills Fund, an incredible milestone that I’m hugely proud to be a part of. Ten years is a long time in the rapidly evolving world of television so it’s only right that we celebrate the Fund’s tenth anniversary as we also look to the future.

It represents an opportunity to reflect on the past 10 years, acknowledge those whose support has proved so vital to the Fund’s success, and look forward to the new opportunities up ahead.

It was industry who, 10 years ago, had the foresight to understand the value of collective skills investment and created the HETV Fund to support freelancer skills development, to ensure the UK had an evolving and growing workforce and that, collectively, industry could be greater than the sum if their parts.

The Fund over the last 10 years has steadily grown in scale, directly impacting thousands of individuals as they start or progress in their careers and opening the door to future generations of talent. This skilled and globally respected workforce has enabled so many first-class, globally renowned dramas, comedies, and unscripted productions to be made in the UK.

I think first of the people whose careers have been supported and improved by the Fund, the initiatives that it has built and the talented workforce it has helped develop across the UK. Our new entrant programmes like Trainee Finder and First Break that offer those vital first steps in the industry. Our long running mid-level progression programmes such as Leaders of Tomorrow and Make a Move, designed to help professionals step-up and progress to the next stage of their careers and help fill vital skills shortages. Our suite of Skills for All training, that provides freelancers at all stages of their careers with the tools to manage their teams, support positive mental health on productions and support those who have had a career break to return, whether that be full time or via a job share. Also access to bursaries to help individuals finance specialist training, driving lessons or access requirements.

Each investment resulting in tangible progress in peoples’ careers and providing real change and growth for our industry.

Everything the Fund delivers is a direct result of the relationships and collaborations we share with a phenomenally engaged industry. Industry inform all of the Fund’s investments via our dedicated Skills Sub Committee and Council, to ensure the Fund delivers priority needs and exceptional value for money through collective skills investment. It’s also reflected in our UK wide industry Working Groups whose on-the-ground expertise and experience guides each of our key skills gaps and shortages training programmes, ensuring each one is designed to meet a targeted need, whilst ensuring our industry is truly diverse, inclusive and reflective of the whole of the UK’s production landscape.

These ties to industry are a testament to the work of the Fund and evidenced in some of the numbers from across the past decade. Numbers like the amount of productions that have contributed to the Fund in that time – 1,090, or the amount of money the Fund has been able to invest in these programmes – £36,051,102, and the number of training programmes delivered by the Fund – 331.

Of course this has all been made possible –thanks to collective contributions from production companies into the Fund and their commitment to supporting workforce growth by utilising the skills programmes created. The continued support from broadcasters, streamers and UK-wide indies forms the lifeblood of the Fund’s good work.

Commitment to the Fund allows us to continue to  offer trusted, targeted and result focused opportunities for the future industry’s workforce. Our thoughts are already turned to the next 10 years and the work needed to maintain and build upon everything that has been achieved to date to ensure this industry thrives.

There will be new areas of focus, such as further investment in future skills including virtual production and new technologies.  Widening our Skills For All portfolio will ensure we are further supporting the industry to retain and find new talent – from increasing our job share programmes to further opportunities for people with learnt skills from other industries to apply them to a new career in the industry.

So we mark this milestone with thanks, to the contributors, the Council and Working Groups who guide the investments, our UK-wide partners and a host of skilled training providers who’ve helped achieve this vision. I would also like to thank the four HETV Council Chairs who have so brilliantly steered the Fund during each of their tenures, and of course all of the talented and brilliant people who work and have worked in the team here at ScreenSkills for their dedication and first class delivery for industry year on year.

And we end with a pledge, a pledge to continue to deliver for the industry and ensure that the next 10 years are just as successful as the first.

Header Photo: Picture by Erroll Jones, WeShootLondon

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