Producers’ trade body, Pact, has  launched its Scottish Indie Next Steps Programme 2024.

The programme will provide next level employment and training for nearly all its 2023 Scotland Indie Scheme participants – who are all from underrepresented backgrounds – for a further six months, supported by Screen Scotland.

Due to the current downturn in commissioning, Pact – together with the indies in Scotland – developed the Next Steps programme which will retain seven of the eight current participants for a further six-month period. Indies Raise the Roof, Ricochet/Warner Bros., STV Studios, Firecrest Films, Lion TV/All3Media, BEEZR and Storyboard Studios will be supporting the trainees with a role in production, and training will be provided through Pact by NFTS Scotland.

Screen Scotland has supported the Scheme, providing 50% match funding for salary costs and training. The training will cover both technical and soft skills, including: Hit the Ground Running, Sustainable Resilience, Researchers Survival Guide, TV Development Bootcamp, Camera Training, Production Management Bootcamp, CV Workshop, Finance for Freelancers, Networking & Social Media Skills Masterclass and Career Mapping.

Pact’s Head of Inclusion and Diversity, Anjani Patel, said: “Given the current climate, it makes sense to do what we can to retain talent that is already in the industry and to put our resources into developing and training the participants to give them the opportunity to progress and grow. As an industry, we need to be much more strategic about how we bring in and how we then work to retain the talent we have.”

Jane Muirhead, MD, Raise the Roof Productions and Pact Chair, said: “Supporting the ongoing retention and progression of the best diverse talent is a significant part of the process of industry transformation to become truly diverse and inclusive. With the current industry context, I believe that Pact’s ability to be agile and pivot the Scottish Indie Diversity Scheme into a retention scheme for the current trainees means that through continuity of work experience we can develop these talented individuals further. The scheme has brought through a cohort of brilliant individuals who we hope will go on to be the next generation of programme makers, and our ability to tell distinct and varied stories on screen depends on having their diverse perspectives behind the camera in the long-term.”

Paul Sheehan, COO, STV Studios, said: “I’m delighted that we’re once again taking part the ‘Pact Scheme’. We’ve had the pleasure of working with some great trainees since the scheme was launched in 2017 and I’m pleased to support this year’s sensible decision to offer continued training to the incumbent trainees, in light of the current employment market for the freelance community.”

Jon Creamer

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