UK television is highly respected throughout the world. The leading national terrestrial broadcasters, the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 are at the heart of an industry which also includes relative newcomer, Channel 5.
Technological development and deregulation has opened up the UK market during the past 20 years. BSkyB, the most dominant multi-channel non-terrestrial operator, (also a provider of news content to Channel 5) is the most wealthy of the UK's broadcasters. Virgin Media also has a substantial business distributing its services via cable.
Deregulation fostered an explosion in the number of independent production companies, several of which are now multi-million pound and global businesses; they provide content not only to publisher broadcasters Channel 4 & 5 but also to producer broadcasters, the BBC and ITV. BSkyB and Virgin Media make a small proportion of their broadcast content in-house; the majority of their content is commissioned from independent producers.
Pact is the Producers' Alliance for Cinema and TV. Follow this link for a listing of independent producers.
For a new entrant then, the number of potential employer targets is enormous. If your interests are on the technical side then certainly at entry level the expectation will be that have a multi-skilled approach to work; at the more experienced levels, specialist craft skills continue to be in demand, so don't lose sight of your strongest suite. For costume and make-up grades, the challenge beyond delivery of core skills, is to adapt to changes in technology which are fast seeing more output broadcast in HD and 3D.
In the multi-channel world, content is king and the demand for writers, producers and directors remains high. But with production budgets always under pressure, the development of ideas with multi-platform potential are increasingly attractive.
UK television embraces a whole range of career opportunities taking in not only roles connected to programme creation and broadcast engineering but business executives, marketing personnel, rights experts and lawyers.
Aside from applying for published jobs and training opportunities, new entrants need to seize the many opportunities for networking and showcasing skills which the industry supports throughout the year.
For more info about the TV industry in the UK visit http://creativeskillset.org/creative_industries/tv