Outlander fast tracks next generation of skilled screen talent

Back Row (L-R):  Amelie Furst, Francesca Cozzari, Julia Forrester, Amy Grant, Chloe Waugh, Elizabeth Kane Front Row (L-R): David Thomson, Rory MacDonald, Calais Brown, Josh Rowe

  • 63 trainees in total gain work experience across season one and two of Outlander
  • 38 trainees supported through season one and 25 trainees complete training on season two 

Creative Scotland, Creative Skillset and Left Bank Pictures today, Thursday 3 March 2016, announce the completion of an intense trainee programme for twenty five Scottish-based trainees on the award winning, high-end TV production, Outlander Season Two.

Supported through Creative Scotland’s ScreenSkills Fund and Creative Skillset’s Trainee Finder Programme the programme was established to foster practical TV production skills training for young people to develop the skills and professional experience needed to progress within the film industry.

For the past 18 months, the trainees, aged between 19 and 29 and from across Scotland, have experienced working on location and in the Cumbernauld studios, learning from the experienced and talented crew members employed on Outlander across a wide variety of creative and technical roles including camera, costume, assistant director, carpenter, art department, props, plasterer and production.

The trainees involved in season two are:  

  • Anna Robson - Costume Trainee
  • Amelie Furst - Costume Trainee
  • Amy Malcolmson - Costume Trainee
  • Amy Grant - Production Trainee
  • Calais Brown - AD Trainee
  • Chloe Waugh - Art Dept. Trainee
  • David Thomson - Props Trainee
  • Daniel Fairhurst - Props Trainee
  • Elizabeth Kane - Design Trainee
  • Francesca Cozzari - Costume Trainee
  • Gina Warnes - Costume Workshop
  • Ruth Kubyk - Costume Design
  • Grace Allan - Costume Workshop
  • Isabella Gibbs - Costume Trainee
  • Jade McNaughton - Crowd Costume Trainee
  • Jasper Fitzgerald - Art Dept. Trainee
  • Josh Rowe - Camera Trainee
  • Julia Forrester - Costume Trainee
  • Lyndsay McIntosh - Costume Trainee
  • McKenzie Harris - Trainee Carpenter
  • Mike Edwards - Camera Trainee
  • Reemah Shenab - Dye and Breakdown
  • Rory MacDonald - Trainee Plasterer
  • Suzanne Hill - Costume Workshop
  • Zoe Gilchrist - Production Trainee

 To enter the programme trainees submitted their CVs to Outlander.  Shortlisted applicants were then interviewed by a variety of Heads of Department.  Those demonstrating commitment and passion for working across craft and technical departments in TV Drama, and skills relevant to the trainee role they were applying for, were selected to support their development and equip them with the skills necessary to sustain a career in the industry.               

Josh Rowe, Camera Trainee commented: “Joining the Outlander Training Programme is one of the best decisions I’ve made.  It has allowed, in an industry notoriously difficult to start up in, to gain the best foothold on a career I could have hoped for.  Working on one of the biggest productions in the country has given me invaluable experience that I can now take to any set I work on in the future.  Most importantly, working for an extended period of time, and in the conditions we faced, means I have accumulated knowledge, experience and work practices that could have taken years to pick up, had it been on several smaller shoots, commercials or dramas.”

Chloe Waugh, Art Department Trainee said: “This has been the most useful, challenging and enjoyable traineeship I have completed.  I have learned so much about the television industry as a whole.  I have been given great support and every day is a new learning experience.  My superiors are genuinely interested in progressing my learning throughout this traineeship and have encouraged me to expand my skills and knowledge. To work on a production of this scale has really set me up for future employment and will be a huge advantage to me when applying for jobs.”

Nicki McCallum, Outlander’s Supervising Art Director commented on the value of the scheme to the sector:  “From an art department point of view, we struggle greatly in finding people with suitable skills. The ability to immerse someone within the department, in order to establish the area in which they excel, and to encourage that over a decent period of time has proven invaluable.  We cry out for people to have decent draughting, model making and graphic skills. To have the time and space to nurture these skills has been fantastic.” -

Alex R. King, HOD Plasterer commented on trainee Rory MacDonald’s experience: “Rory has been able to work alongside skilled tradesmen, gaining a lot of valuable experience towards his own development. He's also had the opportunity to gain an insight into how other departments work.  This has had obvious benefits, in showing him the film making process from different perspectives.  Rory has gained sufficient experience, that he's been able to achieve an NVQ level 3 in plastering. He was also entered into the regional heat of Skillbuild, (Skillbuild is a competition run regionally, nationally, and internationally to find the best trainees of a variety of different trades), in which he came first. The funding of trainees in certain trades, by Creative Scotland is important. It's especially important for departments like plastering that suffer from a wider lack of skilled personnel.”

Natalie Usher, Director of Screen, Creative Scotland, said:  “The strength of the screen sector relies on a continuous flow of skilled and creatively ambitious craft and technical crew. The Outlander trainee placement scheme is one of a number of valuable initiatives taking place across Scotland to develop a skilled and diverse workforce, an ambition outlined in our Screen Strategy.

“The 25 young people engaged in the Outlander scheme have not only gained first-hand experience of working on set and learning from the talented crew, but have also made those all-important contacts that are essential when competing for their next career move within the sector.” 

Ruth Palmer, TV Partnership Manager, Creative Skillset, said; “Creative Skillset are delighted to have been able to help establish the Outlander Trainee Programme through our Trainee Finder Service and to have been able to support both season one and two.  Providing structured trainee opportunities in TV drama is a key priority for us and the work we do though the High End TV Council to ensure we grow the next generation of UK drama crew.

“It is great to work with productions that are really committed to this too and especially committed to fostering and developing local talent.   We look forward to watching the Outlander trainees progress in their careers and to seeing more Scotland productions benefit from our Trainee Finder service” 

On the training programme Outlander Producer David Brown, said; “Training is the future of our industry and we at Outlander see the growth of talent and opportunities as part of our mission here in Scotland.  We are immensely proud of every one of the graduating trainees and know that we will all benefit from their participation in this programme. The scheme, with its wonderful diversity of skills and talents is funded equally by Creative Scotland and Outlander.  We hope it will stand as a model for future training initiatives across the industry.”

Starz, in association with Sony Pictures Television, has recently announced the Season Two premiere of its hit original series “Outlander” on UK Channel: Amazon Prime on 10 April 2016. The eagerly awaited second installment will be 13 episodes and is based upon the second of eight books in Diana Gabaldon’s international best-selling Outlander series, entitled Dragonfly in Amber.


Notes to Editors

About Outlander

Outlander is produced by Left Bank Pictures, Tall Ship Productions, and Story Mining & Supply Company, in association with Sony Pictures Television.  Outlander is adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s international best-selling series of seven books, which tell the story of Claire and James Fraser, using time travel to slip between 18th and 20th Century Scotland, the series was written and executive produced by Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: The Next Generation).

Production spend figures in Scotland reached historical highs of £45.8m in 2014 largely due to Outlander establishing itself in Scotland.  The production engaged more than 300 crew and 37 trainees across craft and technical departments, providing valuable skills development opportunities and over 2,000 supporting artist roles were cast from within Scotland and the rest of the UK.

About the Outlander Trainee Placement Scheme

Season two of the Outlander Trainee Placement Programme received £80,000 from Creative Scotland’s Screen Skills Fund and £57,000 from Creative Skillset’s Trainee Finder Programme and supported 26 trainees.  Season one of the Outlander Trainee Placement Programme received £189,000 from Creative Skillset’s Trainee Finder Programme and supported 38 trainees.  All sums were match funded by Outlander.

About the Creative Scotland’s Screen Skills Fund

In early 2015, the Scottish Government announced a new £1m Screen Skills Fund to support programmes and initiatives, in partnership with industry and other public bodies, which directly addressed four priority areas across the screen sector, including development, production, exhibition, and distribution. Administered by Creative Scotland, the fund was open for applications from organisations and consortia in April-May 2015.

Applicants were asked to submit proposals which addressed the following priorities for support:

  • Advanced career development, building entrepreneurship and leadership skills
  • Business development and management seminar and workshop programmes
  • Bespoke skills development, including traineeships and apprenticeships
  • Access routes into the industry focusing on employability, encouraging and increasing workforce diversity and emerging talent development programmes.

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here.  We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.  We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery.  For further information about Creative Scotland please visit www.creativescotland.com.  Follow us @creativescots and www.facebook.com/CreativeScotland

About Creative Skillset’s Trainee Finder Programme

Trainee Finder is a service that matches trainees with companies across the UK's animation, film, games, high-end and children's TV and VFX industries.  The scheme is supported by Creative Skillset’s Skills Investment Fund which encourages co-investment in skills and training to ensure a continued supply of a new generation of talent, capable of world-class creative content.  For further information about this programme please visit: http://creativeskillset.org/who_we_help/creative_businesses/access_new_talent/trainee_finder 

Creative Skillset is the industry skills body for the Creative Industries. It works across film, television, radio, fashion and textiles, animation, games, visual effects, publishing, advertising and marketing communications.  It works with and for the Creative Industries to develop skills and talent, supporting productivity and employability.

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