About the scheme

The BBC Academy provides training and experience for the next generation of Designers. We are committed to running the Design Trainee Scheme for the benefit of all broadcasters and production companies.

The Design Trainee Scheme helps talented Designers at the start of their careers gain an introduction to the television, film and interactive design industry. As well as industry standard training, the scheme helps Trainees build on their existing knowledge and skills by providing practical experience working alongside experienced Designers and design teams.

The scheme offers 12 month contracts and Trainees will develop a network of professional contacts to help establish their careers.

Applicants must choose between set, costume, make-up and interactive design and submit a portfolio of work in order to be considered.

You can apply for the scheme between 18 June and 2 July 2012, and information on how to prepare your application will be available on our recruitment site in May.

Trainee overviews

The role of a Trainee can vary greatly from job to job.

Below you will find outlines of the various tasks a Trainee may be expected to carry out.

Art Department

A man in the Art Department working on a scale model

An Art Department Trainee will usually work for the Production Designer or Art Director and may be asked to carry out a wide range of tasks over the course of a placement. This will usually start during pre-production and finish at the end of filming.

Jobs may include: producing on-screen graphics, prop buying, photocopying, set-dressing, research, standing-by on set, construction/technical drawing and model making.


Costumes on a rail in the studio

A Costume Trainee will usually work for the Costume Designer or Supervisor and may be asked to carry out a variety of tasks over the course of a placement.

Jobs may include: costume maintenance (washing/ironing etc), research, dressing, on-set stand-by, sourcing, petty-cash buying, small makes and alterations.


Gavin and Stacey’s Nessa (Ruth Jones) in make-up

A Make-up Trainee will usually work for the Make-up Designer or Supervisor and may be asked to carry out a wide variety of tasks over the course of a placement.

Jobs may include: keeping workstations tidy, wig maintenance/cleaning, keeping continuity records, standing-by on set, applying make-up to minor characters/supporting artists (SAs), petty cash buying, barbering and research.


A BBC employee working on a computer

An Interactive Design Trainee usually works as part of a team on an ongoing project. This could be in User Experience and Design, Audio and Music, BBC Vision, Journalism or World Service.

Jobs may include: Research, idea generation, wireframing, developing look and feel, user testing, prototyping and website design.



Sarah Kelly on set applying make-up to Freema Agyeman, playing Tattycoram in Little Dorrit

Sarah Kelly


"As soon as I heard about the BBC’s Design Trainee Scheme, I knew I had to apply for it – it sounded like just the thing for me!  I had already been working as a Make-up Artist for a few years in the fashion and beauty industry but knew film and TV was what I wanted to be doing.  The application process was quite long and daunting, putting all my skills to the test.  I am so glad I applied for it though – I had an amazing 12 months on the scheme working on a variety of productions for the BBC.  

I worked on quite a few period dramas such as Little Dorrit and The Diary of Anne Frank, which were great as I love the historical aspect of these and they gave me a chance to do a lot of hair work as well as make-up.  I also worked on a comedy show and Silent Witness among others.  It is very intense and hard work but is the best grounding for a career in the TV industry.  I got to meet lots of other Hair and Make-up Artists and really my network of friends in the industry began on the scheme.  Hopefully my hard work has paid off, and I have had consistent work since finishing the scheme over two years ago working as an assistant in both film and TV."

Trainee Rory Strang at Media City in Manchester

Rory Strang

Interactive Design

"I decided to apply for the BBC Design Trainee Scheme after I attended a presentation at University. I had just finished my MA in Graphic Design at Chelsea so the timing was perfect. Alongside my MA, I had been doing some freelance work for digital agency Emak Mafu and was becoming increasingly interested in Interactive Design.

The scheme was attractive to me because it offered a wide variety of work and exposure to projects that could only exist in such a creative organisation. During my time on the scheme so far I have worked on such diverse assignments as the CBBC site rebrand, iPlayer 3 and GVL3 (BBC site standards) all of which have opened my eyes to the possibilities available to a Designer. I hope to go on working for the BBC once I leave the scheme and am looking forward to my future as a Designer."

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