Grierson DocLab 2021

Applications for Grierson DocLab 2021 are now closed.

The trainees for 2021 Grierson DocLab have now been selected. Meet the Grierson DocLab core group.

About the scheme

Grierson DocLab, with support from Netflix and The Rank Foundation, is a training scheme that helps UK-based new entrants aged 18-25 thrive in the world of factual and documentary programme-making.

The scheme takes place over approximately one year, and due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, will mostly be held online. It aims to equip up to 15 successful trainees with the skills and networks to pursue a career in the UK factual industry.

Successful applicants to the scheme will receive:

  1. An intensive six-day online training programme (details of the areas covered can be found below)
  2. A bursary-paid two or four-week placement at a UK production company
  3. Camera and editing skills training
  4. A trip to Sheffield Doc/Fest (subject to it taking place given COVID developments)
  5. Mentoring from an industry professional
  6. Networking opportunities
  7. A series of monthly webinars by industry representatives to support professional development
  8. A ticket to the Grierson Awards ceremony, held on Wednesday, 10 November 2021 at The Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank, London
  9. Access to, and membership of the Grierson DocLab Alumni network
  10. Bespoke ongoing support to help career progression within the sector

The six-day online training programme will include:

  1. An outline of the variety of routes into the industry including editorial and production management
  2. An overview of different documentary genres, their grammar and conventions
  3. How to find and develop ideas
  4. How broadcast commissioning works
  5. Practical exercises to hone pitching and teamworking skills
  6. Discussions about digital platforms, branded content, feature documentaries, and other ways to develop your career
  7. Talks from guest industry speakers as well as Grierson DocLab Alumni about how their careers have progressed since being on the scheme

All expenses associated with participating in Grierson DocLab will be covered by The Grierson Trust. All placements will be paid for via bursaries to help with living costs.

Who should apply?

The scheme seeks young people who are passionate about factual television, from nature documentaries to reality TV; short-form content to feature docs and everything in between. We are looking for applicants who have ideas about how they can contribute to the industry, and who can offer fresh perspectives that are not currently reflected on-screen or behind the scenes.

In addition to the creative team roles (editorial), we welcome applicants from candidates who are strong communicators, who have excellent collaborative skills and are brilliant organisers who can multi-task; all key skills to work in factual production. If you don’t know the difference between editorial and production, get up to speed with this careers map, or more useful information can be found on the Royal Television Society website.

The scheme is open to any UK resident aged 18-25 and aims to help new entrants become job-ready and able to take up opportunities in the factual programme-making industry. Therefore, applicants may be in full-time education at the time of applying but must be in their final year of studies to be eligible. Applicants will also not be eligible if they have undertaken an industry placement or work experience that lasted more than three months.

The Trust has an established track record of supporting under-represented groups in the factual TV industry. We therefore particularly encourage applications from women; people with a disability; those from BAME backgrounds; people from the LGBTQ+ community; and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. 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.

In return, this prestigious scheme will give successful applicants the support to take that first step towards a rewarding career in factual programme-making.


  1. Grierson DocLab is a new entrant scheme so no previous experience in the industry is required, you just need a passion for documentaries and/or factual television and a demonstrable desire to work in the sector
  2. You do not need to have studied film or television in order to apply, nor do you need to have a degree or FE/HE qualification
  3. If you have more than three months’ experience in the industry, you are not eligible to apply


  1. You must be aged between 18-25 at the time of applying
  2. You must be a UK resident with the right to live and work in the UK
  3. If you are at college or university, you must be in your final year of study (either at undergraduate or postgraduate level)
  4. You must commit to the whole of the Grierson DocLab scheme (see schedule below)


  1. Online video call interviews – Monday, 22 March 2021
  2. Potential second video call interviews – Monday, 29 March 2021
  3. Six-day online training – Monday 17 May – Saturday, 22 May 2021
  4. Sheffield Doc/Fest – dates for the festival to be confirmed and pending COVID-19 restrictions
  5. Camera and editing skills training – three days’ online training in autumn 2021
  6. Grierson Awards – Wednesday, 10 November 2021
  7. Two or four-week placement – to be arranged on an individual basis and to be completed by Easter 2022

Application Process

Applications closed at 5pm on Friday, 12 February 2021.

If you have been shortlisted you will know by Monday, 15 March. Unfortunately, if you haven't heard from us by then, this means you have not been successful this time around. Due to the high number of applications to the schemes, we regret that we cannot provide feedback to applicants who aren't successful. Good luck and thank you again to all who applied.

Watch films about previous iterations of Grierson DocLab from 2018, 2019 and 2020.

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