First UK Centre of Screen Excellence launches in Leeds

© Jude Palmer

The UK’s first Centre of Screen Excellence launched today in Yorkshire, marking a major milestone in the drive to develop thriving film and TV production centres outside of London and the South East.

More than 50 students underwent their induction at Prime Studios in Leeds before starting training on Monday on new specially-devised training courses in film and TV crafts, including construction, costume, grip, hair and make-up, lighting, and production assistant for scripted.

The induction featured a masterclass from the BAFTA Award-winning screenwriter Sally Wainwright, a ScreenSkills patron. The students were also addressed by project partners Seetha Kumar, CEO, ScreenSkills, Ben Roberts, chief executive of the BFI, Sally Joynson, chief executive Screen Yorkshire and Jon Wardle, director of the National Film and Television School (NFTS).

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

Sally Wainwright said: 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.”

Seetha Kumar, CEO ScreenSkills, said: 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.

“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.’’

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

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. They will offer students a clear pathway into the industry, developing skills and, crucially, providing work placements with local industry partners including ITV and ProVision. 

Figures released by the BFI last month revealed another record-breaking year for film and high-end television production in 2019, contributing a 30% uplift for the economy and making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK.

Yorkshire has been identified as the location for the UK’s first Centre of Screen Excellence due to the significant increase in the levels of production and growth in the number of screen businesses in the area.  The region has recently hosted high-end TV productions including Gentleman Jack, Victoria, All Creatures Great and Small and The English Game as well as feature films The Duke, Downton Abbey, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, Ali and Ava and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

CoSE:Y  is also designed to include mentoring, bursaries and further training. The ambition is to build capacity in the nations and regions and open up opportunities to work in the UK’s booming screen industries, helping build a more inclusive workforce.

The full press release with more information on the launch of the Centre of Screen Excellence: Yorkshire is available here.

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