Screen Start pilot year graduation

Thirteen participants from marginalised and under-represented communities have graduated from Screen Start, GMAC Film’s new screen sector employability programme.  

After an extensive outreach process in 2022, and with funding from Screen Skills, Screen Scotland and BBC Scotland, bespoke development pathways began taking shape in January 2023. During Screen Start, participants receive mentoring from industry professionals, bespoke training, embark on work placements with industry partners, attend networking events and develop screen specific employability skills. 

While on the programme

Participants are paid the living wage for two days per week with all travel and living expenses covered (including childcare); the aim being that participants are equipped with the necessary skills, knowledge, network, kit and confidence to join the screen sector workforce at the end of the six-month training programme. 

Screen Start Programme Manager, Frances Higson said:  

“It is such a delight to see all thirteen participants graduate from Screen Start and to receive such positive feedback about the programme’s impact on their development, both professionally and personally. Over the course of the past six months, it has been incredible to see each participant flourish as a result of the opportunities and support provided by GMAC Film, our funders at Screen Scotland, BBC Scotland, and Screen Skills, and our wonderful industry partners.” 

Now at the end of the programme, participants have gained: varied on-set experience, industry contacts within their chosen field, an industry standard CV, a focused career plan in their area of production. The pilot year of the Screen Start has been a huge success, with participants developing skills, confidence and aspirations over the course of a few months.  

Emma Turner, ScreenSkills Head of Film, Animation and Future Skills: 

“We have been delighted to support Screen Start as part of our Film Skills Fund training and programmes funding. It is always rewarding to see such a talented and enthusiastic individuals go through such a unique and supportive programme which is fully focused on growing a truly diverse crew in Scotland. Screen Start has provided meaningful experiences and opportunities to its cohort of thirteen and ScreenSkills Film Skills Fund will be ready to support them further as they continue to step confidently into and up in the screen industries.”  

Fi Milligan-Rennie, Screen Scotland’s Head of Education:  

“Bespoke training opportunities and industry placements are vital for those getting their start in film and tv. The Screen Start programme’s individually tailored approach is really making a difference to industry trainees in understanding potential career trajectories. It’s also great to see how the programme is creating increased opportunities, understanding and co-operation between training providers and industry that will bring about new collaborations into the future.” 

Thirteen participants include:

Rurally Excluded – three participants 

BPOC – three participants 

Disability – five participants 

Care experienced – two participants 

Young carer – one participant 

LGBTQI – three participants 

Asylum seeker – one participant 

Single Mothers – two participants 

What the participants think

Comfort Anjorin, Firecrest Films and BBC Alba – Cameras Trainee 
“Before Screen Start, I didn’t have the confidence to operate a camera and I didn’t have any contacts, I got involved because I wanted to meet people in the industry and tell stories. 

I’ve achieved so much through the programme. During my placements with BBC Scotland, No Drama and Create Anything I gained valuable experience, made industry connections and even met producers who are keen to help me bring my own film to life – I’m so excited. This experience has taken me from 0 to 100; Screen Start has really helped me.”

Ross Mcgregor, River City and BBC Alba – Fight Co-ordinator  

“I was relieved when I started Screen Start, as I tend to be a bit wary of people I don’t know. It was surprising that I felt l could let my guard down when I met the other participants, everyone was open minded and we all had similar interests, which was different for me. I really liked my mentor Paul Donnelly (of Outlander) as he has a lot of experience doing fight co-ordination and acting. Paul has done multiple martial arts which gave me the opportunity to learn things that I always dreamed of as a kid.  

The training on Screen Start has been useful for me as I have learned things I never even thought about. I think myself very lucky to have been a part of the programme and I’m excited to see where my future is going. I hope that Screen Start continues to give people like me a chance to catch their dreams.” 

For further information about Screen Start contact


Image: Screen Start participants