A ground-breaking initiative to establish a network of centres of excellence for film and television in the nations and regions will be piloted in Yorkshire.
Creative Skillset, the skills body for the UK screen industries, will work with Screen Yorkshire and the National Film and Television School to assess how joining forces can amplify the impact of targeted investment into training and build a greater skilled workforce outside London and the South East.
Yorkshire emerged as a logical place to pilot the ambitious plan to build production capacity in the regions because of work already carried out by Screen Yorkshire in developing partnerships with existing production facilities, further and higher education institutions including the West Yorkshire College Consortium, LEPs and other stakeholders.
It is proposed that centres of excellence will act as national and regional hubs for a UK-wide programme of mentoring and the delivery of local bursaries to best support emerging and established talent across the UK in the screen industries.
The initiative is supported by National Lottery funds awarded to Creative Skillset by the BFI (British Film Institute) as part of its future film skills action plan which highlighted the need for 10,000 new recruits to the industry by 2022.
Gareth Ellis-Unwin, Creative Skillset’s head of film, said: “We know that across the UK production and post-production is booming and it needs a reliable and inclusive talent delivery pipeline. The aim is to create a stronger supply of essential crew in areas where there is an opportunity to build an ever-more sustainable industry.
“This should offer opportunities to more young people with talent to get a foot in the door of film and television closer to home – helping overcome the barriers created when there is little or no filming where people are growing up. The initiative will also help existing screen professionals to continue to update their skills and carry on working, while offering producers a wider range of locations with a skilled workforce on hand.”
Sally Joynson, Chief Executive of Screen Yorkshire, said: "Landing the UK’s first centre of excellence for film and TV is a major milestone for the region and reflects Yorkshire’s growing status as a leading centre for film and TV production. Strengthening the workforce is a fundamental part of Screen Yorkshire’s five-year industry growth plan and the centre of excellence is one of a number of initiatives that we have been developing behind the scenes to ensure that productions filming in Yorkshire can be assured they will be working with the best crews in the business.’’
The centre of excellence in Yorkshire will be built on a strong foundation. The region’s film and TV sector has been invigorated in recent years, with Screen Yorkshire’s investment activities helping to deliver unprecedented growth in employment and turnover; more than double the rate of any other region in the UK.
The centre of excellence is part of a portfolio of initiatives being rolled out across the region, aimed at upskilling the local workforce and creating new opportunities for individuals wishing to establish a career in the screen industries. It follows an incredibly busy summer for the region, which has hosted a range of feature film, TV and VOD productions in recent months, including; Hope Gap, Official Secrets, The Personal History of David Copperfield, Secret Garden, Victoria (S3), The Innocents, The ABC Murders and Gentleman Jack.
It is expected that similar centres of excellence programmes for other nations and regions will open for recruitment through 2019 and beyond. Learnings taken from the Yorkshire pilot will inform the roll-out of a second centre, with both contributing to the development of a UK-wide network of a minimum of five locations.
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