The Grierson Trust’s 2016 DocLab Training and Mentoring Scheme

Indie production companies line up to support The Grierson Trust’s 2016 DocLab Training and Mentoring Scheme

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London, Tuesday 1st March: Ten of the UK’s leading independent factual production companies have lined up to support The Grierson Trust’s 2016 DocLab training scheme with financial support for trainees, offers of paid work placements and help in delivering workshops, masterclasses and mentoring. Century Films, Lightbox, Minnow Films, Pulse Films, Raw, Renegade Pictures, The Garden, True North, True Vision and Voltage TV are all committing their assistance with additional support from Blueberry Media Consultants.

So The Grierson Trust is now on the hunt for the next generation of documentary filmmakers as applications for DocLab 2016 open. DocLab prepares new entrants with skills to make them job ready and help turn their passion for factual storytelling into a reality. With support from The Trust, trainees will access a range of experiences and training to help them get that first foot on the jobs’ ladder.  The Trust is now seeking applications from young people aged 18 – 25 who have ideas on what they can contribute to the industry and who can offer fresh perspectives which are not being reflected on the screen.

Lorraine Heggessey, Chairman of The Grierson Trust said: “The Grierson Trust sees backing new talent as a crucial part of its role. There’s no point in everyone complaining about lack of diversity in our industry if we don’t make sure young people from the broadest range of backgrounds can get through the front door. We are never going to change things if we rely on people who already have contacts in tv, who have financial support from parents so they can afford to do work experience for free and who probably come from in or around London.  At The Grierson Trust we’re trying to make sure that a wide range of voices from across the UK, across ethnic groups and across socio-economic groups will be get the chance to become the documentary makers of the future.

“We have put more resources into DocLab, building it into a dynamic, fit for purpose training scheme that supports young people as they take their first steps into documentary making. The scheme has gone from strength to strength thanks to support from broadcasters and indies. The way the independent sector has embraced DocLab has been amazing.  We found we were pushing at an open door when we suggested that companies got actively involved and we are so grateful that the UK’s top documentary makers are keen to help us build and strengthen this training scheme.”

DocLab 2015 alumnus, Mary Finnigan said: “Before Grierson I was a trainee teacher forcing teenagers to follow their dreams when I actually wasn’t following my own. Grierson made those dreams a reality. Not only have I had the opportunity to develop my ideas for a documentary with major production companies, but I have been offered an internship with RDF to start in April. I have worked at both Century Films and Minnow Films learning from the best and building the skills and experience needed to be successful in this industry. All of this was made possible by The Grierson Trust DocLab. They changed my life!”


The Grierson DocLab offers participants the support they need towards a successful career in factual programme making.  This includes a residential training programme, access to award-winning industry professionals, structured mentoring support, the chance to attend the internationally recognised Sheffield Doc/Fest, and a paid placement with a production company.  The Trust additionally provides ongoing bespoke support for participants as they progress with their career choice within the sector.

This opportunity is for new entrants aged 18-25, and will support a variety of roles behind the camera. The scheme starts with an intensive four-day residential programme in Birmingham for four consecutive days (15 – 19 May).

Fellow 2016 alumnus, Holly Lubran added: “I learnt loads: how to develop my ideas into pitches and how to pitch, how to write for different audiences and channels. It introduced me to some amazing people especially other ‘DocLabbers’ and industry professionals. Being at DocLab really boosted my confidence and helped me get the job I am in now, developing factual series and one offs. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to work in the industry.”

The training includes:

  • An introduction to the genre covering different types of documentaries and styles of shooting.
  • Learning how to research ideas, develop and pitch them.
  • Script development focusing on structure and story.
  • Exploring production roles and practical exercises to experience the different positions.
  • Information, advice and careers guidance.


Successful applicants will also benefit from a self-shoot/editing training weekend.


To apply for a place on this year’s Grierson DocLab and Mentoring Scheme further details and an applications form are available from t[email protected] or at The closing date for applications is 5pm, Tuesday 29th March 2016.


Application Criteria:

Applicants must:

  • Be aged between 18-25
  • Be available to attend the selection day on Thursday 21st April 2016, in central Birmingham
  • Be available to attend all days of the DocLab (arrive Sunday 15th evening, finishing Thursday 19th May 2016).
  • Be available to attend Sheffield Doc/Fest between 12th – 15th June 2016
  • Be available for a paid placement (one or two weeks in duration) at a time to be agreed


Please note: As this is a new entrant scheme, it is not for individuals who have had paid placement experiences.


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