ScreenSkills has released a new HR toolkit and a set of skills checklists “as part of its commitment to make the sector a fairer, more inclusive and compliant place to work.”

The HR Toolkit, funded by ScreenSkills’ Unscripted TV Skills Fund, has a set of resources for production companies to strengthen and standardise their HR practices, “enabling them to offer more inclusive recruitment practices,” especially if they don’t have the support of an in-house HR team.

The creation of  the toolkit was in response to requests from the unscripted TV community and was developed with film and TV specialist HR consultant Lisa Balderson (Assoc. CIPD).

“The HR Toolkit has been shaped in consultation with industry,” said Sarah Joyce, Head of Unscripted and Children’s TV. “It will support production companies looking to implement more formal recruitment processes and best practice, as well as those looking for advice in making the screen industries a fairer and more inclusive place to work.”

The toolkit contains guidelines, downloadable templates and links to supporting information and further resources – including the Skills Checklists. The key elements are:

  • The right tools for recruitment – A step-by-step guide from defining a job description (with templates and examples) and advertising a job role to managing the application and interview process and making a job offer;

  • Onboarding – Providing the new starter with the best possible experience on joining a company including pre-employment checks including references and Right to Work, specific documentation on the role and company policies on specifics such as holiday entitlement and sick pay;

  • Employee lifecycle and offboarding – Includes a template to provide feedback to employees; guidance on how to give and receive feedback as well as handling difficult conversations and offboarding; handing over responsibilities to a colleague and the benefits of an exit interviews;

  • Resources and templates – One-to-one HR training sessions and modules on specific topics such as having difficult conversations at work and giving feedback available on the Unscripted TV Skills Fund site on the ScreenSkills website; templates to support job description creation; useful links for other external resources and organisations.

“The toolkit will provide a much-needed source of information for production companies, particularly those without their own HR support,” commented Lisa Balderson. “The importance of good HR practices in the screen industries can sometimes be overlooked, and our hope is that this resource will expand and develop to meet the evolving needs of the industry and maximising the positive impact across the screen sector.”

ScreenSkills has also developed a set of Skills Checklists, industry-approved lists of skills and responsibilities for 44 roles in nine departments across scripted film and television. Work on the Skills Checklists was started in 2020, initially funded by ScreenSkills’ High End TV Skills Fund from contributions from high-end television productions. Between 2022 and 2023, with support from the BFI awarding National Lottery funding, the checklists were further developed, along with additional guidance for employers on how they could be used when creating job descriptions or planning professional development.

The checklists contain flexible lists of responsibilities, tasks, role-specific and transferable skills as well as the necessary attributes for each role which have been designed to help target skills gaps and can be adapted according to the production scale and budget band. The checklists could also be used to support production companies in terms of recruitment – from building a job description, to recruitment and selecting candidates for interview. The Skills Checklists will also enable individuals to map their current experience to roles, and identify the skills needed to progress their own careers and the training required.

“The Skills Checklists have been developed hand in hand with industry, with the initial work starting in 2020 via an investment from the HETV Skills Fund. The checklists provide people either interested in a career in film or television, or wanting to progress their existing career, with a roadmap that clearly shows not only the specific roles in nine departments, but also the skills and responsibilities for each role,” commented Nicky Ball, Head of high-end television mid-career progression, ScreenSkills. “The checklists are industry-approved and by providing greater transparency will both support employers in terms of more inclusive recruitment for these roles as well as help crew to plan their career development and progression.”


Currently, there are Skills Checklists for specific roles in the following production disciplines:

  • Camera – camera trainee; second assistant camera technician/clapper loader; first assistant camera technician/focus puller; camera operator and director of photography.

  • Location – location assistant; unit manager; location co-ordinator; assistant location manager; location manager; supervising location manager/head of location department/location manager’

  • Assistant directors – base runner/base PA; floor runner/set PA; third assistant director; Crowd second assistant director; (Key) second assistant director; First assistant director.

  • Production – production assistant/runner; production secretary; assistant production co-ordinator; production co-ordinator; production manager; line producer.

  • Production Sound – Sound trainee; second assistant; first assistant; production sound mixer.

  • Script supervisors – script supervisor trainee; assistant script supervisor; script supervisor.

  • Hair, make-up and prosthetics – hair and make-up trainee; hair and make-up junior; hair and make-up artist; hair and make-up crowd supervisor; hair and make-up supervisor.

  • Costume – costume trainee; standby costume assistant; crowd costume supervisor; costume supervisor; assistant costume designer; costume designer

  • Post-Production – post-production assistant; post-production co-ordinator; post-production supervisor; post-production producer.

Sara Whybrew, Head of National Lottery Skills Programmes, said: “We are looking forward to seeing the sector embrace the use of job descriptions to aid greater transparency in recruitment and in time hope their use will become commonplace. We believe this is an important step in helping to open up work opportunities to a diversity of talent.”




Jon Creamer

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