The Grierson Trust has teamed up with Netflix to extend its Grierson DocLab training scheme and create two new bespoke courses for production managers and editors, alongside its filmmaking course for new entrants.

Applications are now open for all three schemes.

Called Grierson DocLab In Focus, the two new schemes are specifically designed to uncover and develop talent in two often overlooked but vital behind-the-scenes roles. Both have been created with support from Netflix and other industry experts from across the factual filmmaking industry. They will be delivered in Spring 2021. All trainees will take part in a tailor-made work placement on a Netflix production and be partnered with an industry mentor. Following the success of DocLab 2020 which moved online as a result of COVID, both DocLab In Focus schemes will run online in their inaugural year.

Grierson DocLab In Focus: Production Management (Monday 12 to Saturday 17 April) is for applicants who want to pursue a career within the production management area of documentary programme-making. It is specifically designed for people with no previous experience in the television industry, as well as those who do and is also open to individuals returning to work after a break or looking for a career change. There are eight places available. The programme will involve an intensive schedule with industry speakers covering a wide range of topics including budgeting, cash flow and production paperwork; health and safety and risk assessments; music and archive copyright clearances; managing and looking after personnel; understanding deliverables; how to embed diversity and inclusion into the production; as well looking at when to step up to the next level in a career.

Grierson DocLab In Focus: Editing (Monday 26 April to Saturday 1 May) has eight places available for those with some post-production experience looking to step up to Assistant Editor, who want to learn the art and craft of narrative storytelling. The programme will involve a rigorous schedule with leading industry speakers covering topics such as: managing the relationship with the director; insight and case studies from editors about how they have developed their respective careers; and how to enhance the story and challenges in the edit. This scheme will be an opportunity to develop and hone creative skills, moving from the technical ability to edit, to making artistic decisions in order to create the story in the edit.

Both training courses will prepare each successful applicant for a paid contract (up to three months in duration) working on a Netflix documentary production. Coupled with ongoing support from The Grierson Trust, trainees will have access to networking events plus professional development opportunities through a programme of webinars over six months. They will be assigned an industry mentor and all trainees will then join the Grierson DocLab Alumni group which provides continuing support through its network.

Lorraine Heggessey, Chair of The Grierson Trust, said: “The Grierson Trust has an established track record of supporting under-represented groups in factual television through our successful DocLab scheme and we are delighted that Netflix has given us the opportunity to expand that programme into areas where we know there is a shortage of talent and training opportunities. Working with Netflix, we hope to shine a light on two critical production functions.

“After the challenges of 2020 it is more important than ever for The Grierson Trust to be providing diverse talent with fresh opportunities and a route into factual production.”

Kate Townsend, Director, Original Documentary Features, Netflix said: “We’re delighted to support The Grierson Trust in widening access to people passionate about documentaries.

“Editing and Production are often overlooked parts of the documentary making process but completely vital to creating compelling stories that spark conversations and resonate globally.

“Both schemes are open to people who want to gain the skills and build the networks to succeed. This partnership is part of our wider work to improve representation at all levels of the creative process, and spread opportunity right across the UK.”

The Trust particularly encourages applications from women; people with a disability; those from BAME backgrounds; people from the LGBTQ+ community; and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. We also encourage candidates from geographical areas across the UK that do not have many opportunities in the screen industries to apply. This is in line with the positive action provision of the Equality Act 2010.

Full details of application criteria, forms, dates and deadlines, can be found at There will also be a special webinar introducing the production manager scheme on 13 January for those who have no previous experience in the TV sector. Applicants for the editing scheme are expected to be proficient in basic editing skills at the time of applying. The closing date for all three schemes is 12 February 2021.


Jon Creamer

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