Grierson DocLab

About the Grierson DocLab training and mentoring schemes

The Grierson DocLab core scheme is a training programme that helps new entrants aged 18-25 thrive in the world of factual TV and documentary filmmaking. Comprised of intensive training, paid work placements, mentorships and more, this scheme aims to equip trainees with the skills, networks and confidence to take their first steps in the industry.

From 2021, The Grierson Trust, in partnership with Netflix, also offers two further specialist schemes in the form of Grierson DocLab In Focus: Editing and Grierson DocLab In Focus: Production Management, which are for people aged 18+.

Both of the new Grierson DocLab In Focus training courses are now closed for applications (deadline 8 July 2022) and will prepare each successful applicant for a paid three-month placement, working on a Netflix documentary production. Coupled with ongoing support from The Grierson Trust, trainees will have access to networking events plus professional development opportunities through a programme of webinars. They will be assigned an industry mentor and all trainees will then join the Grierson DocLab Alumni group which provides continuing support through its network.

Find out more about each scheme below…

About Grierson DocLab

The core Grierson DocLab programme is a training scheme that helps new entrants thrive in the world of factual TV and documentary filmmaking. It has been running since 2012 and The Trust keeps in contact with Grierson DocLab Alumni as they progress their career.

Taking place over the course of one year, it is made up of: a five-day online training programme and three-days in person training; up to four-week placement, supported by a bursary at a UK production company; a match with an industry mentor; full industry delegate pass for Sheffield Doc/Fest; attendance at the Grierson Awards in November; plus networking and one-day training opportunities and ongoing bespoke support beyond the scheme.

The programme is targeted at UK-based young people aged 18-25 who are passionate about factual television, from nature documentaries to reality TV; short-form content to feature docs and everything in between. It gives trainees the knowledge, networks and confidence to pursue a career in factual television in editorial or production management roles.

Applications for the 2022 iteration of the core Grierson DocLab new entrants’ scheme are now closed and the trainees have been selected. Find out more about this years' cohort.

About Grierson DocLab In Focus: Production Management

This scheme is for individuals who want to pursue a career within the production management area of documentary programme-making. It is specifically designed for people who have no previous experience in the television industry, as well as those who may come from a different part of the creative industries and is open to individuals with more than three years’ experience in a role with transferable skills gained in other sectors and job roles. For example, events/project management, travel, logistics, hospitality and finance. Check out the profiles of last year’s group to get an idea of their range of career backgrounds. This is not a graduate scheme, but suitable candidates may be returning to work after a break or looking for a career change.

There are eight places available on the scheme. The programme will involve an intensive training schedule with industry speakers covering a wide range of topics including budgeting, cash flow and production paperwork; health and safety and risk assessments; managing and looking after personnel; understanding deliverables; the importance of diversity and inclusion on a production; hearing from alumni, as well looking at when to step up to the next level in this career path.

A special webinar introducing the production manager scheme was held on Wednesday, 13 January 2021 for those who have no previous experience in the TV sector. Watch the recording.

Find out more about Grierson DocLab In Focus: Production Management

  1. Meet the 2021 Grierson DocLab In Focus: Production Management trainees
  2. Read about the training week

About Grierson DocLab In Focus: Editing

The editing programme also has eight places available, in this instance for those with either post-production experience who are looking to step up to Assistant Editor, or those who have not progressed through a more formal editing career pathway. Check out the profiles of last year’s group to get an idea of their range of career backgrounds. The programme will involve a rigorous schedule with leading industry speakers covering topics such as: managing the relationship with the director; insight and case studies from editors about how they have developed their respective careers; how to enhance the story and challenges in the edit.

The programme will involve honing technical skills via practical tasks such as sync mapping, grouping and exports in Avid, to learn about the art and craft of narrative editing.

Candidates for the editing scheme are expected to have proficient editing skills at the time of applying, whether on Avid, Premiere Pro or similar software. They could be self-taught, have learned through training or learnt on the job. It should be noted that the scheme will be taught using Avid and it will be expected trainees will understand terminology, and be able to action the daily tasks set on the placement. Each successful trainee will be provided with a one-year Avid license, supplied courtesy of course partners, Avid.

Trainees will be loaned a laptop for the training weeks, as well as rushes from a Netflix production to undertake an editing exercise to embed the learning over the course of the training weeks.

Find out more about Grierson DocLab In Focus: Editing

  1. Meet the Grierson DocLab In Focus: Editing trainees
  2. Read about the training week
  3. Read 2021 trainee, Mags' blog about her placement and mentor

Grierson DocLab schemes, diversity and inclusion

The Trust has an established track record of supporting under-represented groups in the documentary industry. We therefore particularly encourage applications to all schemes from those from lower socio-economic backgrounds; people with a disability; those from ethnic minority backgrounds and people from the LGBTQ+ community. We also encourage 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. 

Read our Diversity and Inclusion Statement.

Grierson DocLab Alumni

The core Grierson DocLab scheme has been running since 2012, with the exception of 2014, and The Trust keeps in contact with Grierson DocLab Alumni as they progress their respective careers.

If you would like to support Grierson DocLab 2022, or if you have any questions about any of the training schemes, please get in touch.

Our 2022 Supporters

The Grierson Trust is hugely grateful for the support it receives from many of the UK's leading independent factual production companies. This year we have BBC Studios, Blast! Films, Dragonfly TV, The Garden, Lightbox, Minnow Films, Netflix, Plimsoll Productions, Raw TV, Rogan Productions, Twenty Twenty, Wall to Wall, Wise Owl Films (All3Media) and Zinc Media confirmed as supporters - offering our Grierson DocLab trainees hands-on experience in the form of work placements. 

We would like to thank our supporters in-kind, Clear Cut Pictures, Blueberry Creatives, MUBI, Talented People, The Kit Room and The Talent Manager, plus all our industry colleagues and friends who give their time and wisdom to mentor or conduct talks and workshops for our trainees.

If you would like to support Grierson DocLab 2022, please get in touch.

Our 2021 Supporters

The Grierson Trust is enormously grateful for the support it receives, particularly from headline sponsors and partners Netflix and many of the UK's leading independent factual production companies. BBC Studios, Blast! Films, Box to Box Films, Dragonfly TV, The Garden, Lightbox, Minnow Films, Plimsoll Productions, RAW, Twenty Twenty, Wall to Wall and Wise Owl Films/All3Media have all committed their assistance for 2021, with additional support for the scheme coming from The Rumi Foundation.


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