Creative Skillset Advice Page on Best Practice

Introduction from Creative Skillset

Creative Skillset values the live brief for its Ticked courses because it:

Evidences the industry readiness of students

Evidences to the sector the quality of work being produced

Evidences collaboration between universities and industry

Creative Skillset is regularly reviewing its guidelines and advice in this area and is consulting with each of these sectors to ensure best practice is achieved:



Unions & professional bodies

The latest information that comes from this consultation process will be made available in this space and on the website.





Chris Wensley - HEFCE Project Manager

Chris manages the £2.5m HEFCE bid and liaises with the Creative Skillset Media Academies; focusing on budget management and assisting with project planning, monitoring and reporting back to HEFCE.


(Coming soon!)

Best Practice – A Working Academy Industry Mentor Scheme from the University of Bradford

The University of Bradford has taken an innovative, but also collaborative approach to engaging its students with industry on live working briefs. Features of this approach that is now proving students get jobs off the back of this experience are;


We have built up a bank of more than 30 media companies or freelance professionals in the Yorkshire region who are paid to work in an advisory role with any fee paying work the students take. On many projects the company has gone on to have commissioned further work directly off the back of the new relationship introduced by the University.


We don’t go out to tender competitively with local companies for any commercial projects, although we may offer to work on a joint pitch if required. We make it clear to clients that approach us that we limit the work we do to not-for-profit organisations, charities or companies who would not have otherwise commissioned the work.


We are non-exploitative to our students and will always look to pay them a day rate or expenses for any work that they do externally for a client


Our whole emphasis is upon supporting students to get them the production credits, showreel evidence and industry endorsements that will help them get a job. We don’t take on projects that have no benefit in this area.




Simon Couth

Simon Couth – MD Reputations Group and Working Academy Director

Simon is a director of digital media and marketing company based at the Press Association in London, the UK’s largest news agency. He has been supporting Creative Skillset and the University of Bradford to develop this Working Academy site.



Best Practice – An Industry Network Approach from the Media Academy Wales

Skillset Media Academy Wales Remit

Industry consultation

To ensure that we are supporting the industry and creating opportunities that can benefit a wider industry group. Ensure that we have industry endorsement and buy-in for the ‘live briefs’ scheme as we need them to be a partner for delivery and promotion.

Our Model and its USPs

There will always be a mentor from industry involved in the production to guide and facilitate

Code of conduct

All parties need to agree to the Academy ethos of working practice, and each person involved need to offer feedback on their experience

Multi-course and multi-level

To ensure that courses intermingle, and that students and graduates understand all the roles within a production


So that the industry can see what kind of clients we are being approached by (as not all briefs will reach the point of being produced)


That expenses will always be covered and if a production budget is substantial, a fee will be paid, so that we don’t exclude those who can’t afford to get involved


Hannah Ray Bould

Hannah Raybould - Skillset Media Academy Wales Manager

Hannah co-ordinates curriculum enhancement, short course provision, outreach, marketing and international liaison for the partnership of 4 Higher Education Institutions in Wales.  She has successfully bid for £4 million in funding during this time and now manages the Skillset Academi+, TransformatLab and Cinovate projects alongside the work to support students and graduates of the Academy’s Creative Skillset accredited degrees.



Best Practice – A Production Company Model from Southampton Solent University

Solent Productions today is still a production centre, not a limited company. It turns over £200,000 plus annually, but still requires subsidy from HEIF, etc.It has a full time Head of Production, Technical Producer and two graduate interns. Importantly it generates 4000 plus hours of student work experience annually. Its ethos is to produce work for external and internal clients to professional standards and in production company environment.

How Solent Productions Works in Practice:

It sits alongside curriculum, offering work experience opportunities at all stages of production in video, graphics, editing and design.

The production centre advertises itself to students and invites them to join up via Facebook. Projects initially mentored and monitored by Solent Production staff. On ongoing commissions trusted students will work more independently.

There’s a small steering group drawn from across two key Faculties meets monthly to review productions, staffing, workflow and resources. Most productions, including internal projects, have accompanying budget which supports Solent Productions and pays students at Job Shop rates.



Tony Steyger

Tony Steyger - Television Producer and Director

Tony is an experienced television producer and director and has worked for BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five. In 2007 he helped establish the in-house production centre, Solent Productions, which makes projects for clients and broadcasters, and currently heads up the Solent’s Skillset Media Academy.


Best Practice – Collaborate with Industry over Live Briefs with DFF

The Digital Fiction Factory has established a strong Academic network of Universities in the North of England that contribute to the development of proof of concept responses to a range of Ch4 and BBC cross platform commissions. They support this in a these ways;

Responding to real live briefs

Staff and students have the opportunity to work on the actual briefs and are able to submit ideas and present pitches.

Consultancy and support for User testing

Understanding user journeys and UX methodologies is key to the development of the proof of concepts. Universities have been able to help with this testing process

Collaborative productions

Some Universities with specialist equipment or expertise have been contracted to work alongside production companies or digital agencies to develop a DFF commission.

Ron has provided an example multi-platform brief that was used last year with BBC Learning and members of the academic network responded to. Click on the download to view.


Ron Cook

Ron Cook - Digital Fiction Factor Director

Ron is Director of the Digital Fiction Factory’s Academic Network. The DFF is a partnership between Lime pictures, the BBC, Channel Four and Creative England. He is also Emeritus Professor in the School of Media at the University of Salford.