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Want to make it in television? Prince Charles announces new bursary scheme

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The Prince of Wales has announced 20 bursaries for students studying television production and related digital media, at an event held yesterday at Covent Garden’s Hospital Club.

The Royal Television Society (RTS) Television Craft Skills Masterclass also saw television and media students from across the country mingling with experts from within the industry, and participating in two ‘masterclasses’ – one in sound, and one in camerawork.

The event saw the Prince of Wales, who is patron of the RTS, addressing students, lecturers, journalists and industry experts on the issue of a ‘skills shortfall’ within the industry. According to industry body Creative Skillset, 2,160 recent university leavers have entered TV industry – but only 345 (16%) are in technical roles.

Addressing the audience, the Prince of Wales pointed out that the UK is second only to the USA in the number of television programmes it exports, which include Dr Who, Downton Abbey and The Duchess of Cornwall’s favourite, Strictly Come Dancing – but there are currently too few designers, editors, camera operators, costume supervisors and technicians to keep the industry thriving long-term.

It is with this in mind that the RTS has developed its new bursary scheme, to address issue of not enough people having adequate skills to work successfully in British TV and film - which the Prince of Wales pointed out as being eye-wateringly lucrative, generating £17.5 billion last year alone.  

The bursaries, worth £60,000, will be given to university students from less than affluent areas, in order to widen participation in the hugely competitive television industry and allow them to gain the vital work experience that is required.

Students will also receive free membership to The Hospital Club whilst studying, and one year’s paid membership to the RTS once they have graduated.

Managing Director of Content for BskyB, Sophie Turner-Laing, told students that work experience in television studios is more important than a degree because technology moves too fast for universities, meaning that students are often behind on the technical side by the time they graduate.

Addressing students alongside Turner-Laing were Danny Cohen, Director of Television for the BBC, Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO of FremantleMedia, David Liddiment, of All3Media and the BBC Trust, and Sir Peter Bazalgette, President of the RTS.

The masterclasses featured those who working behind the scenes on The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, New Tricks, The Voice, Frozen Planet, Yellowstone and Broadchurch.

Theresa Wise, CEO of the RTS, said: "As an educational charity the RTS must play a bigger role in developing the next generation of television professionals. We wish to encourage more diverse and less affluent young people to consider a future career in our industries and provide tangible support during the early stages of their development and career progression.”

For more information on the criteria and how to apply for the bursaries, visit www.rts.org.

Follow the RTS on Twitter @RTS_media and #RTSStudent

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