The Grierson Trust has announced a new training programme for archive producers, the latest in its prestigious Grierson DocLab In Focus talent development initiatives, this time in partnership for the first time with Prime Video Pathway – a first-of-its-kind, multifaceted training initiative designed to open up access to jobs in the TV and film industry across the UK.

The Grierson DocLab In Focus programmes were created to directly address skills shortages in documentary and factual programme-making by identifying new talent and providing training and career opportunities. Discussions with programme-makers across the genre have pointed to the increasing shortage of skilled archive producers, at a time when demand for archive-led productions is growing, as a particular concern.

The Grierson DocLab In Focus: Archive Producers programme is aimed at people with a deep passion for documentary and factual programming, and who have two-to-three years’ experience working in television, film and online content production in roles such as researchers, production assistants, production coordinators, casting researchers, and production managers.

Building on The Grierson Trust’s successful DocLab In Focus programmes for production managers and unscripted editors, which are now in their third year of operation, the DocLab In Focus: Archive Producers programme will provide up to eight successful applicants with an intensive training course including a combination of lectures, workshops, case studies, and guided tours to UK archives. Each trainee will also have a 10-week paid work placement within a UK production company, working alongside an archive producer on a documentary single or series.

The Grierson DocLab In Focus: Archive Producers programme will be led by Sam Dwyer, an archive producer with more than 25 years of experience working on high-profile, award-winning films, television, commercials and art projects including The Princess, Whitney, Marley, The Rolling Stones: Crossfire Hurricane, and The Stone Roses: Made of Stone. Dwyer is currently working on Academy Award winners Asif Kapadia (Amy, Senna) and Simon Chinn’s (Man on Wire, Searching for Sugar Man) latest documentary series Camden for Disney +.

Applicants will already be able to demonstrate strong research skills, attention to detail, strong communication and organisational skills, and be creative with problem-solving. The Grierson Trust has an established track record of supporting under-represented groups in the documentary industry and therefore particularly encourages applications from those from lower socio-economic backgrounds; disabled people; those from ethnic minority backgrounds and people from the LGBTQ+ community.

Applications will open on Wednesday 29 November through The Grierson Trust website, with a closing deadline of Friday 2 February 2024.

Sylvia Bednarz, Managing Director, The Grierson Trust, said: “Through discussions with filmmakers, producers and talent managers working in the documentary and factual genres, it was clear that our industry is facing an increasingly acute shortage of skilled archive producers. We are thrilled to be launching the Grierson DocLab In Focus: Archive Producers initiative in collaboration with Prime Video to address this industry need by identifying and developing a new cohort of archive producers.”

Tara Erer, Head of Originals UK & Northern Europe, Amazon Studios and Prime Video said: “Archive producers are often the unsung heroes behind the highest profile, critically acclaimed documentaries and feature films. Without their skills and experience, this type of content, which is increasingly in demand, simply could not be created. Our collaboration with The Grierson Trust on this new programme will reskill and upskill individuals working in the industry, and improve career opportunities, particularly for freelancers who we know are facing a very difficult time at the moment.”

Alumni of previous programmes are working at production companies and studios including Firecrest Films, Rogan Productions, Passion Pictures, Ventureland, Plimsoll Productions, The Garden, Voltage TV, Windfall Films, Story Films, RAW, Minnow, Curious Films, 72 Films, as well as on Grierson Award-nominated documentaries.


Michael Burns

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