In 2015, Creative Skillset estimated that around 59,000 people across the UK were working in television — either terrestrial broadcast, cable and satellite or independent production.
In the same year, the Scottish Parliament reported that around 3,500 people were directly employed in Scotland’s TV industry, 1,700 of them in production.
The big picture
The most up to date information specific to Scotland’s television sector comes from a Scottish Enterprise report in February 2013.
It estimates that around 70 independent production companies are operating across Scotland, as well as the three main broadcasters — BBC Scotland, STV Group and MG Alba.
There have been historical concerns that the agencies responsible for supporting the development of the sector are working to disparate remits. In March 2015, the Economy, Energy and Tourism (EET) Committee of the Scottish Parliament recommended that a new leadership group should be established.
The Screen Sector Leadership Group (SSLG) was established early in 2016. It has agreed a set of key priorities for the sector’s future development:
- More funding for film and television production
- More studio facilities and infrastructure
- Increased investment in talent development
- Increased business development support
- Robust research and statistics on the sector’s value, and the impact of funding and support
Working in television
Creative Skillset has reported that the majority of television companies prefer to employ people educated to either undergraduate or postgraduate degree level.
The degree subject, however, is fairly unimportant — only 12% of companies said they specifically looked for media-related degrees. A relatively large number of companies — around 39% — favour technical or vocational qualifications.
More than 75% of UK production companies, however, are struggling to fill positions. General skills shortages include understanding and working in a multi-platform environment and multi-skilling in a digitised industry. The report also identifies specific skills gaps within production segments, like the need for more editors and production managers in factual television, and directors and script supervisors in children’s TV.
Developing your skills
The Royal Television Society provides training and professional development support to people working at all levels of the television industry. Similarly, the BBC Academy offers courses in journalism, production and technology, as well as advice on progressing in your career.
BAFTA Scotland’s learning and events programme is a chance for award winners and nominees to share and discuss the expertise the industry needs. BAFTA UK also offers a range of training and development opportunities to people working across the screen industries.
Funding and support
In March 2017, Barclays announced the launch of a £100m fund to provide UK TV production companies with better access to finance and the strength to compete internationally. It offers loan finance specifically tailored to the needs of television production.
Creative Scotland’s Screen Funding programme can provide support for attending relevant markets or festivals, single projects, production, distribution and exhibition or slate development. It also has a Production Growth Fund that aims to help grow the sector, create employment and encourage the use of Scottish-based facilities.
Creative Skillset provides various funding programmes that support companies training new recruits or investing in career development for experienced employees. The TV Skills Fund, for example, has invested more than £10m in the industry since 2006.
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