The prestigious scheme aims to widen participation in, and access to, the media industry by supporting talented students from lower income backgrounds who are pursuing careers in television. STV, All3 Media and the Steve Hewlett Memorial Fund also provide funds and support for the TV Production/Journalism bursaries.
RTS Bursary Scheme
The number of bursaries offered in 2020 will reach 40 across both schemes, with STV matching its commitment from last year and generously funding 10 further bursaries for the 2020 intake.
This year the RTS will be offering an unprecedented 40 bursaries across its two schemes: The Technology Bursary and The TV Production and Journalism Bursary.
In his role as ambassador, Ashley will champion the scheme and motivate students looking at a career in the Television sector, provide his support and share his experiences with current and future bursary students, as well as joining the Education Committee.
Bursary alumni Suzanne Pearson and Florence Watson – part of the inaugural 2014 cohort of the scheme, who both graduated in 2017 – offered tips on how to get a foot in the door of the industry at the end of May. From producing soap script bibles to advice on maintaining a work-life-balance on 18-hour shooting days, they left no stone unturned.
“It’s all a bit of a mess, really,” says Charlotte Humphreys. “I was living in south London, which had the most cases of Covid-19 in the UK, so I packed some of my most important stuff into Ikea bags and left.
“I’m paying £700 a month for a room I’m not living in, my stuff is at four different addresses and I’m staying with my Dad, who has a terminal lung condition. I bought a car, an absolute banger, for £275, because I need to get shopping for my Dad.”
My week starts the way it has done most Mondays for the past three years – sitting in a university library. There’s one big difference. At this time of year, there is a veil of calm. The underlying current of stress has dissipated. It’s a big change from the tensions of exam season a month ago.
Chairs stand unoccupied and academic books are tossed aside. I am finally on my last chapter. This one is entitled “The real world of television”.
Addressing the students and mentors, RTS Education Chair Graeme Thompson said: “You are part of a thriving project, which is making a difference to representation in the TV and screen industry. We fervently believe that we reach the parts that others in the industry can’t reach – and that’s fantastic for the diversity of our industry.”
RTS bursary student: Natasha Graham
Mentor: Julian Unthank, Screenwriter
Natasha on Julian
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the mentoring programme. I was a bit nervous about being matched up with Julian. You never know what someone’s going to be like.
He was really nice, though. He called me straight away and asked me what I was interested in. He’s very down to earth. I like that about him.
He invited me to meet him at H Club London – we get membership as part of our RTS bursary, so that was nice.
Now in its 10th year, this annual event has become a Southern Centre institution.
Some 200 production-based students from regional universities met around 15 media professionals to discuss TV production, opportunities in the industry and career development.
One of the professionals offering advice at the event was Dean Massey, who in 2014 was part of the first batch of students to receive an RTS bursary. Massey, a graduate of Southampton Solent University’s Television and Video Production course, currently works for Sky News as a camera operator/editor.