£3 million secured over three years for film and TV skills development opportunities in Scotland

Industry and training providers across Scotland will work together as part of the BFI Skills Cluster delivered by Screen Scotland

The BFI Skills Cluster in Scotland will include a focus on future-facing technologies in VFX, Virtual Production and Animation as well as further developing crew skills in Gaelic language production.

Screen Scotland announces £3 million of funding for the BFI Skills Cluster delivered by Screen Scotland, part of a network of BFI Skills Clusters across the UK to grow the country’s film and TV workforce.  

The funding, largely drawn from the BFI (awarding National Lottery funding) and The Scottish Government, will support three projects initially: a first-of-its-kind fellowship in Virtual Production programme, broadcast skills training under the Stornoway Studio Training Programme, and RESET which is aimed at people from all walks of life looking to transfer their skills and start a new career in the animation, VFX and games sectors.

Virtual production combines physical and virtual filmmaking techniques – often driven by games sector technologies such as the Unreal Engine - to create advanced real-time 3D and photoreal environments for filming. It is an emerging technology, but one where Scotland already has a reputation as a global leader. 

The BFI will contribute £1.1m of National Lottery funding over the next three years, while Screen Scotland, via Scottish Government funding, will contribute an additional £800k. A further £1.1m of investment in Scotland’s crew skills will be leveraged by the public agencies from a range of industry partners, taking the total investment between BFI, Screen Scotland and industry partners to £3m across 3 years.

Part of the UK wide BFI Skills Clusters initiative, this new investment by the UK and Scottish film and screen bodies is designed to support local industry, and education and training providers to work collaboratively. The Cluster will develop clear pathways for people to secure long-term employment in film and TV production.

Isabel Davis, Screen Scotland’s Executive Director said: “The skills landscape in film and TV is constantly evolving and the line between film, TV and games is increasingly blurred. Thanks to the support of the Scottish Government and the BFI awarding National Lottery funding, Scotland is in a strong position to establish itself at the forefront of these new technologies. Sustained funding commitments such as the BFI/Screen Scotland Skills Cluster allow national bodies, local industry and individual productions to provide structured training where it’s most needed, making the most of those new opportunities. This additional BFI Cluster funding complements the annual investment of £2.1m Screen Scotland already makes to support skills development and training initiatives. We see this investment as core to our strategy to grow Scotland’s film and TV sector and sustain rewarding and creative jobs across the country.” 

Sara Whybrew, Director of Skills and Workforce Development at the BFI, said: “The BFI is committed to supporting the growth of local crew bases in production hotspots across the UK, including in geographical areas that have been too easily overlooked for investment previously. Screen Scotland’s leadership, and that of its local partners, means we can develop and roll out skills and training initiatives that augment and complement existing interventions and in doing so ensure we reach new and diverse talent.

Culture Secretary Angus Robertson said: “I am delighted that this funding, of £3m over three years, will be able to support such a wide range of skills and talent development programmes across Scotland. We know that investing in skills, education, and training is the best way to ensure that those who want to build a career in our thriving screen sector are able to do so. And by building that workforce, we are securing a sustainable, resilient future for the Scottish screen industry, with all the wider economic, creative, and cultural benefits that brings.”

The first Scottish projects to receive funding focus on addressing skills challenges in the animation, VFX, games and broadcast sectors:

  • Award-winning global creative virtual production, training and innovation filmworks, Final Pixel Academy, in association with newly opened, Coatbridge based, Night Sky Studios and Glasgow’s BAFTA award winning digital entertainment leaders, Blazing Griffin are set to launch a first-of-its-kind Virtual Production Fellowship programme. A 3-year programme, the Fellowship is designed to teach the critical skills, techniques, technologies and creative applications within Virtual Production to enable participating delegates to carve new career paths in the burgeoning virtual production industry.
  • Created to establish a high benchmark for Virtual Production skills in Scotland and embed Virtual Production training into the local market, the Programme is open to people currently involved in TV/film/advertising, VFX and games, applicants from live events and engineering as well as writer/directors, DOPs and camera department. The successful 16 delegates will receive mentorship, specialist learning (creative and technical), mixed cohort learning and on-set experience. Fellows of the programme will also receive accreditation which will demonstrate to the wider industry of their skill level and area of expertise and to further aid in their career development.
  • On the Isle of Lewis, Gaelic language broadcaster MG ALBA has come together with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) to create The Stornoway Studio Training Programme at the island’s film and TV facility, Studio Alba.  With a specific focus on broadcast skills training, the Programme aims to bring on new talent and grow expertise for those working in the Film and TV industry across the Outer Hebrides.
  • Trainee placements for new entrants to the Animation, VFX and Games sector are being offered by Glasgow-based, leading broadcast training provider TRC. Following its successful 2022 pilot, which saw 90% of participants securing employment in the industry, this year’s ‘life-changing’ Reset initiative is again aimed at people from all walks of life who are keen to transfer their skills, experience and knowledge to a new industry (this could include those who are currently working in sectors such as: retail, hospitality, travel, entertainment, events etc) and establish a future career in the animation, VFX and games sectors.  
  • During an intensive 8-month programme, up to 15 Reset trainees will work full time within their host company and receive additional training throughout their placement to further their skills, giving them a gateway into a new career path.  Trainees will learn from the best with award-winning animation, VFX and games studios across Scotland taking part.  Host companies will include Wild Child Animation in Stirling, Interference Pattern and Eyebolls in Edinburgh, and Blazing Griffin, Extra Mile Studios, ISO DesignRevenant, and Stacking Chairs in Glasgow. 

More information

The Economic Value of the Screen Sector in Scotland in 2021 further supports the need for investment in skills and training as we see sustained growth:

  • An estimated £617.4 million was spent on the production of film, TV and other audiovisual content in Scotland in 2021, compared to £398.6 million in 2019
  • Over 80% of the £218.8 million net increase in production spending between 2019 and 2021 was driven by film and HETV production
  • Screen Scotland invests £2.1m annually in skills and training which results in a total of approx. £5m being invested, inclusive of industry match funding
  • The opening of new or expanded studio facilities, particularly FirstStage Studios in Edinburgh and The Pyramids in West Lothian, enabled Amazon’s The Rig, Good Omens 2 and Anansi Boys to film their entire production in Scotland, filming on-location and in studio.
  • These studio facilities have made Scotland an even more attractive place to film, opening just in time to catch the global post pandemic boom in production.
  • Employment in Scotland’s screen sector increased by 5.7%, from 10,280 full-time equivalents (FTEs) in 2019 to 10,870 FTEs in 2021

Screen Scotland’s latest figures evidence the continued growth in the value of Scotland’s film and TV industries to the country’s economy.

Confirmation of this new funding for skills development complements the work of the industry-led response to the BFI Skills Review, through the recently announced Skills Task Force, as well as industry interventions from Screen Scotland and other UK Screen agencies and organisations to addressing skills challenges across the sector.

Screen Scotland drives development of all aspects of Scotland’s film and TV industry, through funding and strategic support. Screen Scotland is part of Creative Scotland and delivers these services and support with funding from Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Follow us on TwitterInstagram.

About BFI Skills Clusters 

The BFI Skills Clusters funding enables organisations to work collaboratively with local industry, education and training providers to develop clearer pathways to long-term employment in film and TV production. The Skills Clusters see locally-based partners identifying skills shortages and gaps and coordinate skills and training opportunities for below-the-line production crew in their area. Through the Clusters, the BFI aims to build local skills bases by helping people across the UK, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, find viable routes into the screen industry and effective career development support. 

To date, the BFI has invested a total of £8.1m National Lottery funding over three years in the following areas:  

  • Screen Yorkshire (North of England): £2.3m  
  • Film London (London, Hertfordshire, Surrey, and Buckinghamshire): £2.2m 
  • Screen Scotland (Scotland): £1.1m  
  • Create Central (West Midlands): £1m 
  • Northern Ireland Screen (Northern Ireland): £0.9m 
  • Resource Productions (Berkshire): £0.6m 

The BFI is a cultural charity, a National Lottery distributor, and the UK’s lead organisation for film and the moving image. Our mission is:

  1. To support creativity and actively seek out the next generation of UK storytellers
  2. To grow and care for the BFI National Archive, the world’s largest film and television archive
  3. To offer the widest range of UK and international moving image culture through our programmes and festivals - delivered online and in venue
  4. To use our knowledge to educate and deepen public appreciation and understanding of film and the moving image
  5. To work with Government and industry to ensure the continued growth of the UK’s screen industries.

Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter. The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Tim Richards.

Media Contact

Eilidh Walker, Media Relations and PR Officer- Screen
[email protected] / M: +44 (0)7545 402 064

Image courtesy of Final Pixel Academy