Applications closed

Step-up to 1st AD in HETV or Film


  • Are you an experienced 2nd Assistant Director working in HETV and/or Feature Films who is looking to step up to 1st AD?
  • Are you an experienced 3rd Assistant Director, with a little 2nd experience, working in HETV and/or Feature Films who is looking to step up to 1st AD?

  • Are you a recently stepped-up 1st AD looking to consolidate your knowledge and gain more confidence in the role?

If you answered yes, then this free to attend, short course is for you. In addition to the training course there are upto 30 funded ‘Step-up’ placements available for eligible participants.

Training course - Step up to 1st AD in Film and/or HETV - Apply now 2The Step-up to 1st AD online training course will enable 60 participants (40 from HETV and 20 from film) working across the UK to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to step-up to 1st Assistant Directors.

In addition, and following on from the training programme, there are upto  30 funded placements as 1st AD available for participants who complete the course (upto 25 in HETV and 5 in film).

This, free to attend course, is taught by a highly experienced Assistant Director and working 1st AD guest speaker(s) and is aimed at ensuring that UK Film productions have access to a cohort of skilled and educated 1st Assistant Directors who can bring increased value to the production chain.

Assistant Directors need to be equipped to understand the necessary approach to take in what is a sensitive position, given that they are often torn between the needs of the direction and the requests of the production. This training course will ensure that participants are better placed to serve both producers and directors, as well as maintaining a safe environment on set and ensuring they remain mentally healthy throughout the shoot process. It will also give experienced 2nd or 3rd ADs the skills and knowledge to feel confident making the transition to the 1st AD role.

This programme is supported by the ScreenSkills High-end TV Skills Fund with contributions from UK high-end TV productions and by ScreenSkills as part of the BFI Future Film Skills programme using funds from the National Lottery.

This course is recommended for:

  • Professional Assistant Directors who have held the position of 2nd on at least three significant HETV productions and/or feature films or

  • Professional Assistant Directors who have held the position 3rd AD on at least three significant HETV productions and/or feature films, and have some 2nd AD experience (e.g. short film) or

  • Recently stepped up 1st ADs in HETV and/or Film looking to consolidate their knowledge and gain more confidence in the role

This training course is an opportunity for individuals to not only improve their technical AD skills but also their softer, leadership and management skills, to enable them to be ready to Step up to 1st AD.

By the end of this training course participants will have:

  • been trained by respected and established colleagues;
  • in depth understanding of the role and responsibilities of 1st AD
  • gained a more detailed understanding of scheduling and the practical implications on the production process;
  • learned about budgeting and budget management requirements of the role
  • knowledge of the Health and Safety requirements for the role, including running safety briefings
  • knowledge of the paperwork and reports expected of a 1st AD
  • learned how to manage and run a large busy set
  • learned how to position themselves within both the operational and the creative process;
  • shared their knowledge, experience and concerns with colleagues and peers;
  • had the benefit of a peer support network;

This course will run ONLINE four times: twice in December 2021 and and twice in January 2022. We are currently inviting applications for the following training dates:

Course Dates

The course will be running as 2 sessions on consecutive Saturdays:


      • 8th January and 15th January 2022 am cohort – APPLICATIONS CLOSED
      • 8th January and 15th January 2022 pm cohort – APPLICATIONS CLOSED


      • 19th and 26th February 2022 am cohort – APPLICATIONS CLOSED


      • 16th and 23rd March 2022 am cohort – APPLICATIONS CLOSED


  • Applications are now closed for this training course.
  • Please note these are the final set of dates for this training course at the current time.

About the placements

Upto 30 placements will be available as part of this training course – 25 on HETV and 5 on film. Participants who complete the course will be invited to express an interest in a placement.

The placements are funded by the HETV Skills Fund and ScreenSkills Film Fund. The fund will pay out a maximum of £6,000 for each placement (£600 per week for 10 weeks). This will be paid via the production company to the individual. Production companies may, at their sole discretion top up the placement fees.

This course is delivered by HETV and film Industry Professionals and sector experts

Addie Orfila | Lead Tutor

Addie has over 22 years’ experience within TV and short film production. Starting as a trainee continuity announcer and then runner at ITV Yorkshire, Addie has worked her way up as 3rd AD, 1st AD, PM and Head of Production.  She has worked on all four of the big UK serial dramas and was HoP at Hollyoaks and Production Manager at Coronation Street for very successful tenures.  Having worked on shows such as HeartbeatTouch of Frost, Countdown, My Parents are Aliens, Emmerdale, Barking and Jinx, Addie has a large wealth of experience to draw from, is a mentor for Women in Film and Television, was a member of Channel 4’s Mentoring Diversity Network as well as trainer on the pan-industry Project Diamond Diversity monitoring scheme.

Alison Grade | Course Director

Alison runs Mission Accomplished and regularly delivers training for ScreenSkills. She is an experienced Line Producer and Production Manager as well as a Nesta Accredited Creative Enterprise Trainer. She regularly delivers training that enables creatives to demystify and take charge of the numbers! She is the Course Director and part of the training team. Her company Mission Accomplished regularly delivers training for ScreenSkills.

Sarah McCaffrey | Course Director

Sarah McCaffrey runs Solas Mind, a training and well-being company in the Creative Industries. She has extensive experience designing and managing training courses for ScreenSkills through her previous role as Training Manager at the Production Guild. Sarah previously designed and delivered the Accounts Trainee Finder Bootcamps for ScreenSkills. Sarah also regularly runs mental health workshops for ScreenSkills and is currently supporting the trainee finder and MAM trainees.

Guest Speakers | To be announced

Addie will be joined for parts of the training by guest speaker(s) from HETV and/or Film.