Grierson DocLab is a training scheme that helps UK-based new entrants aged 18-25 thrive in the world of factual TV and documentary filmmaking.
The scheme takes place over approximately one year, and due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, will be run as a combination of online and in person. It aims to equip up to 12 successful trainees with the skills and networks to pursue a career in the UK factual industry.
Successful applicants to the scheme will receive:
- An intensive hybrid training programme (details of the areas covered can be found below), supported by industry professionals
- A placement at an independent production company, up to four weeks in length, supported by a bursary
- Full registration for Sheffield Doc/Fest (subject to it taking place given COVID developments)
- Mentoring from an industry professional
- Matched with a Grierson DocLab Alumni buddy
- Networking opportunities
- A ticket to the Grierson Awards ceremony, held on Wednesday, 10 November 2022 at The Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank, London
- Access to, and membership of the Grierson DocLab Alumni network
- Bespoke ongoing support to help career progression within the sector
The hybrid training programme will include:
- An outline of the variety of routes into the industry including editorial and production management
- An overview of different documentary genres, their grammar and conventions
- How to find and develop ideas
- How broadcast commissioning works
- Practical exercises to hone pitching and teamworking skills
- Discussions about digital platforms, branded content, feature documentaries, and other ways to develop your career
- Talks from guest industry speakers as well as Grierson DocLab Alumni about how their careers have progressed since being on the scheme
All expenses associated with participating in Grierson DocLab will be covered by The Grierson Trust. All placements will be paid for via bursaries to help with living costs.
Find out more about the scheme on their YouTube video Ask our Alumni: Past Grierson DocLab trainees answer your questions. The video introduces past trainees Azeem, Toni, Ramla, Rebecca and Sam as they talk about their experience of the scheme, what they’ve been up to since completing it and tips for applying.
Who should apply?
The scheme seeks young people who are passionate about factual television, from nature documentaries to reality TV; short-form content to feature docs and everything in between. Applicants who have ideas about how they can contribute to the industry, and who can offer fresh perspectives that are not currently reflected on-screen or behind the scenes.
In addition to the creative team roles (editorial), they welcome applicants from candidates who are strong communicators, who have excellent collaborative skills and are brilliant organisers who can multi-task; all key skills to work in factual production management. If you don’t know the difference between editorial and production, get up to speed with this careers map, or further useful information can be found on the Royal Television Society website.
The scheme is open to any UK resident aged 18-25 and aims to help new entrants become job-ready and able to take up opportunities in the factual programme-making industry. Therefore, applicants may be in full-time education at the time of applying but must be in their final year of studies to be eligible. Applicants will also not be eligible if they have undertaken an industry placement or work experience that lasted more than three months.
Grierson DocLab is aimed at helping those without connections to the factual TV and documentary industry get their first foothold on the TV career ladder. The Trust has an established track record of supporting under-represented groups in the factual TV industry. We therefore particularly encourage applications from people from those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, people from ethnic minority backgrounds; disabled people and people from the LGBTQ+ community. Also encouraged are candidates from geographical areas across the UK that do not have many opportunities in the screen industries to apply. This is not a definitive list and those applying will have the opportunity to make their case as to how they meet these criteria. This is in line with the positive action provision of the Equality Act 2010.
In return, this prestigious scheme will give successful applicants the support to take that first step towards a rewarding career in factual programme-making.
- Grierson DocLab is a new entrant scheme so no previous experience in the industry is required, you just need a passion for documentaries and/or factual television and a demonstrable desire to work in the sector
- You do not need to have studied film or television in order to apply, nor do you need to have a FE/HE qualification
- If you have more than three months’ experience in the industry, you are not eligible to apply
- You must be aged between 18-25 at the time of applying
- You must be a UK resident with the right to live and work in the UK
- If you are at college or university, you must be in your final year of study
- You must commit to the whole of the Grierson DocLab scheme (see schedule below)
- Online video call interviews – Tuesday, 29 March or Wednesday, 30 March 2022
- Second video call interviews – Thursday, 31 March 2022
- Five-day online training – Monday, 9 May – Friday, 13 May 2022
- Three-day in person training in central Birmingham – Sunday, 22 May – Tuesday, 24 May 2022
- Sheffield Doc/Fest – 24 June – 27 June 2022, pending COVID-19 restrictions
- Grierson Awards – Thursday, 10 November 2022
- Placement – to be arranged on an individual basis and to be completed by Easter 2023
Applications closed at 5pm on Friday, 11 February 2022. Apply here.
Read the full scheme guidance, application questions and FAQs ahead of applying via the online application form. Please ensure you have your CV in a PDF format, saved with your full name in the file name, ready before applying. Please also have two references’ names, email addresses and contact phones numbers to hand on applying.
If you have accessibility requirements, would like help with your application due to a disability, would like to submit your application answers via video rather than written form, or have any other reasonable adjustments, please email firstname.lastname@example.org at least two weeks before the deadline where possible, so that we can assist you promptly.
If you have been shortlisted you will know by Friday, 18 March 2022. Unfortunately, if you haven’t heard from us by then, this means you have not been successful on this occasion. Due to the high number of applications to the scheme, we regret that we cannot provide feedback to applicants who aren’t successful.
Hear from previous trainees about their experience on the training week, with mentoring and their different placements:
- Jess on her mentorship match
- Sameen on her placement with Blast! Films
- The 2021 cohort on their online training week
- Chandler’s placement at Wall to Wall
- Joe’s placement at Dragonfly TV