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ScreenSkills diversity drive lands $250k Adobe Film & TV Fund UK debut boost

ScreenSkills, the skills body for the UK screen industries, is collaborating with The Adobe Foundation to fund a series of programmes to provide opportunities in film and TV for people from under-represented communities across the UK.

“This collaboration with the Adobe Foundation will help encourage and support people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and communities to follow a career in the creative and screen industries,” commented Laura Mansfield, CEO, ScreenSkills. “A diverse and inclusive workforce, made up of a rich and broad range of views and experiences, can helps us all to see the world from multiple perspectives and enables us to learn from, as well as respect and value the contribution of others, challenging our own and other peoples’ potential preconceptions.”

The ScreenSkills programmes will be funded through $250k from the Adobe Film & TV Fund, which is being extended to the UK for the first time. The Adobe Film & TV Fund was launched in January 2024 to help address the inequity in funding career and training opportunities across the entertainment industry.

The funding will enable ScreenSkills to create face-to-face opportunities for over 350 people from communities that have traditionally found it challenging to either consider, or to progress a careers in the screen industries. Additionally, ScreenSkills will be able to extend the reach of specific programmes through further digital engagement.

Adobe and the Adobe Foundation have committed $6m in global grants, contributions, and donated product in the first year of the fund, partnering with global organisations that share a commitment to empowering underrepresented communities. The organisations, including Easterseals, Gold House, Latinx House, NAACP, Sundance Institute and Yuvaa, work with The Adobe Foundation to provide fellowships and apprenticeships that offer direct, hands-on industry access to those that may not otherwise consider careers in this field.

Stacy Martinet, Adobe’s VP of marketing strategy and communications, said: “Diversity in front of and behind the camera is key to unlocking more diverse and inclusive storytelling across TV and film. Bringing our global Film & TV Fund to the UK underscores our commitment to opening doors for underrepresented and marginalised communities around the world and empowering those already in the industry to grow and further their careers.”

The ScreenSkills programmes are:

  • First Break for Unscripted Television: The Unscripted TV Skills Fund will pilot a First Break to demystify unscripted television and create career pathways for people from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds – giving them initial tools, knowledge and taster experiences of working in unscripted television. This pilot will be based on the successful First Break model created by the High-End TV Skills Fund.
  • Dream Big: A training programme delivered by the Children’s TV Skills Fund in partnership with ThinkBigger!, which provides practical training in production, industry masterclasses and mentoring for underrepresented groups, helping candidates develop the professional and personal skills needed to succeed in the Children’s TV industry.
  • Film Forward: A new pilot programme – based on the existing and successful Film Skills Fund Film Forward programme – designed specifically to support film professionals who have declared a disability. The programme will match people in the film industry with five years or more experience, with paid production placements and provide them with career coaching and bursaries to support them to step-up to a more senior role.
  • Film Skills Fund Inclusion and Diversity Conference – a one-day, free-to-attend conference to mark the 25th anniversary of the Film Skills Fund, focused on promoting the benefits of diversity and inclusion in film and TV. Additionally, the Film Skills Fund, in partnership with Discover! Creative Careers, will undertake a series of visits to schools across England.
  • Adobe Foundation Bursaries: Bursaries will be offered to women from minority ethnic groups, to enable them to progress their careers in the sector, by providing coaching to develop their careers.
  • ScreenSkills and The Adobe Foundation Present podcast series – a series of five podcast episodes discussing the importance of, and challenges to increasing diversity and inclusion in the screen industries.

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