David Lyle Foundation restarts post-COVID to back next generation talent

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The David Lyle Foundation (DLF), the international not-for-profit organisation that helps young executives to make a positive difference to the global entertainment industry by building successful, sustainable careers, is rebooting for 2023 as its inaugural scholarship programme draws to a close.

DLF awards two annual scholarships, each valued at US$10,000, to promising young entertainment-industry professionals. The successful candidates receive a year-long programme of education and development, designed to fast-track their understanding of the global content business. This includes subscriptions to key trade publications and organisations, as well as all-access passes to the world’s leading content-industry events.

The scholarship winners are chosen from a shortlist of 10 candidates, selected by DLF’s advisory board of executives, who are drawn from across the global entertainment business. Each of the recipients receives a budget of US$5,000 to pay for flights, hotels and expenses. They are also matched with experienced industry mentors, who offer them support and guidance throughout the year-long programme.

The DLF’s founding partners, all of whom provide financial and operational support to the programme, include Broadcast, C21Media, Edinburgh TV Festival, EMC, FRAPA, Realscreen, PACT, NATPE, TBI and Reed MIDEM. Further details on how to apply for a 2023 DLF scholarship will be announced in the New Year.

The first two DLF scholarships were awarded in January 2020, but the programme was frozen until January 2022? on account of the Covid pandemic. Here, the inaugural winners — Gaby Lafor, director of LineLight and Chris Sanders, development producer at Rare TV — tell us how the experience has shaped them, both as individuals and entertainment executives…

Gaby Lafor
“The DLF scholarship programme has provided me with a massive and valuable insight into the business of broadcast television — not only what it means to create programming, but also the importance of certain roles and hierarchies in the machine that is television. Being afforded the opportunity to travel the world has shown me how my domestic industry works and how that feeds into the more general international culture of entertainment.

“The past year has been a complete eye opener and inspired me in more ways than I can count. I’ve rubbed shoulders, shaken hands (and my ass) with some of the most influential people in the business. One of the greatest discoveries is how passionate and committed television people are to their careers whatever their position, senior or otherwise, which has been very encouraging to witness.

“I’d say to future applicants — and I’m addressing my own community specifically here — Black people are still heavily underrepresented in all of the spaces I’ve been given access to over the last 12 months. I’d encourage as many people as possible to apply for a DLF scholarship. The insight you gain from this scheme is nothing short of game-changing.”

Chris Sanders
“Where to begin with my love for the David Lyle Foundation and what it’s given me? First, the opportunity to meet international producers has opened so many doors for me and accelerated my career in ways I didn’t even know were possible when I applied to the programme back in 2019. Without these opportunities, I wouldn’t have been able to progress my career and specialise in US development and productions at Rare TV.
“Second, I think the breadth of experiences the scholarship provides — from international conferences, subscriptions to the trade press and one-on-one sessions with industry leaders — really helped build my confidence at a crucial time in my career. For those looking to take a step up, but who are unsure how to go about it, a whirlwind year with the DLF will without doubt bring you into contact with the people and ideas you need to make the change.
“But perhaps most important of all is that DLF is not so much a scholarship as a family. The love and support on offer really does help you to navigate what is sometimes a very tricky industry. Although I’m sad my time on the programme is ending, I hope to remain a part of the DLF family for many years to come.”

For more information on the David Lyle Foundation, and to donate, please CLICK HERE.

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