Centre of Screen Excellence officially opens in Leeds

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The country’s first Centre of Screen Excellence has officially launched in Leeds today, marking a “major milestone” in a nationwide drive to develop and support the screen industry outside of London and the South East.

The Centre of Screen Excellence: Yorkshire (CoSE:Y) will offer students training courses in film and TV crafts, including construction, costume, grip, hair and make-up, lighting, and production assistant for scripted.

These have been designed to offer students a clear pathway into the industry.

CoSE:Y is supported with National Lottery funding awarded by the BFI and is part of the BFI’s Future Film Skills strategy, the majority of which is being delivered by ScreenSkills.

“This is an important part of our wider strategy to help train a wider workforce for the UK’s rapidly growing industry,” explained Ben Roberts, Chief Executive of the BFI.

“For people in Yorkshire, this Centre offers a very real career pathway into much needed jobs, and also creates a blueprint for further centres around the UK - to ensure other regions can effectively capitalise on the production industries’ increasing demand for skills”

Roberts was at today’s launch event, alongside Seetha Kumar, the CEO of ScreenSkills; Sally Joynson, Chief Executive Screen Yorkshire; and Jon Wardle, Director: NFTS.

BAFTA Award winning screenwriter Sally Wainwright delivered a keynote masterclass to the first students.

“The launch of these first craft courses are such an important initiative and it’s just brilliant for Yorkshire. There is so much creativity and passion in the region and I’m excited that it will open up many opportunities for local talent – it’s a powerful combination and the screen industry will benefit from it hugely,” she said.

The courses will be delivered by the NFTS, in partnership with Leeds College of Building, University Centre Leeds, Keighley College and the BECTU Grips and Crane Technicians Branch.

The Centre of Screen Excellence: Yorkshire is also providing mentoring, bursaries and continuous professional development courses. This is designed to address under-representation in the industry by supporting people from all backgrounds to develop successful careers.

“The drive to commission and produce more film and television outside of London and the South East has to be matched with an investment in developing skills and talent on the ground. The Centre of Screen Excellence: Yorkshire is an innovative response to making sure that building capacity in the nations and regions creates opportunities for a greater diversity of talent to enter and progress in the industry,” added Seetha Kumar, CEO ScreenSkills.

“These new courses, along with other support offered by our mentoring and bursaries initiatives, help lay the groundwork for enabling Yorkshire and Humber to expand as a home for film and TV production. It will be exciting and rewarding to follow our new recruits over coming months and we wish them all the very best.’’

Last month, the BFI released statistics to show 2019 was another record-breaking year for film and high-end television production. This contributed a 30% uplift for the economy and it was one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK.

Yorkshire has been chosen for the first Centre of Screen Excellence due to the significant increase in production levels and the growth of screen businesses in the area.