ScreenSkills is to fund mentoring support for more than 250 people from groups currently under-represented in the screen industries and working in areas of skills shortage.

£130k of funding will be invested through ten partnerships with other screen-related bodies that will provide the mentoring opportunities as part of the ScreenSkills Mentoring Programme which is supported by the BFI awarding National Lottery funds, as part of the BFI’s Future Film Skills Strategy.

Three of the new initiatives will support nearly 60 deaf and disabled mentees. They are Beacon Film’s Future Vision, TripleC DANC’s mentoring programme for deaf, disabled and neurodivergent writers and directors and Media Trust & ScreenSkills Reframing Disability Mentoring Programme in partnership with BBC 50:50. All of the mentors on the programme with Media Trust will be disabled also.

The Bristol-based Wildscreen Emerging Talent programme, which will also recruit from Wales, will aim to increase diversity in wildlife film and natural history, supporting emerging talent who have missed out on in person opportunities because of Covid and connecting industry with new talent eager to enter the industry. It will prioritise individuals in roles in skills shortage areas.

In Scotland, the Glasgow Film Theatre New Talent Mentoring Scheme will be aimed at emerging writers, directors and producers across film, HETV and animation from under-represented backgrounds. There will be a particular focus on producers due to a lack of early to mid-level producers in Scotland with consequent impact on opportunities for emerging writers and directors.

Funding to Creative Access, which works with young people from groups under-represented in the creative industries, will support 50 mentees in animation, film, games, TV and VFX over six months. In addition, they will be signposted to relevant training and employment opportunities, including CV consultations, employability workshops and masterclasses as well as paid roles in line with their interests and career aspirations.

The Rise – Women in Broadcast mentoring programme will work to support more women working across the broadcast media and technology sector and in particular within these engineering and technical roles.

NextGen Prospects v2.0 will focus on women outside of London and the South East and minority ethnic candidates in games, VFX and animation, while the Navi Games Mentorship Programme will target early stage and experienced game industry professionals as part of Game Anglia’s mission to grow the games industry in the East of England.

Jane Saunders, ScreenSkills mentoring programme manager, said: “We know that mentoring can help build confidence and establish networks which provide invaluable support, particularly for many people from groups currently under-represented in the screen industries.”

All programmes will aim to meet a minimum of two diversity targets. In addition, at least 50% of mentees will be from outside of London and the South East. It is expected that collectively the partners will aim to meet all ScreenSkills inclusion targets including LGBT and socio-economic disadvantage.

The programmes will run in 2021-22 alongside ScreenSkills own mentoring matching programme and 10 other programmes previously funded. They include Bectu Cymru Mentoring 4 Screen Project, FilmMakers25 Mentoring Programme in Bradford, ScreenSkills ENGAGE in association with ThinkBIGGER! for deaf/disabled talent and Screen Northants Academy Mentoring Programme.

The ScreenSkills community of best practice also includes non-funded programmes that are supported with free ScreenSkills training, resources and consultancy. Organisations running their own mentoring and wanting to join the community which is committed to offering quality mentoring, can email for more information.

More partnerships are expected to be announced shortly.

Jon Creamer

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