Spotlight on...Yorkshire

Everybody's Talking About Jamie (c) Amazon Studios

You can’t make great film, TV and animation without investing in the people. This is why ScreenSkills is committed to delivering training, resources and opportunities across the whole of the UK. This month our focus is Yorkshire and the Humber.

Seetha Kumar, ScreenSkills CEO, said: “We are proud to support the screen industries in Yorkshire in close partnership with partners. Thanks to the contributions of productions that contribute to our skills funds and funding from the BFI, who award us National Lottery funds, we can run training for professionals at all careers stages.”

Among our partners in the area are Screen Yorkshire, the NFTS and local colleges, and broadcasters including Channel 4 with their Leeds HQ and ITV which offered placements for the First Break social mobility initiative on Emmerdale.

Productions, programmes and placements

ScreenSkills has collaborated with productions across film and TV to offer training opportunities in Yorkshire and the Humber and we thank all of them for their support.

In the past year, new entrants and established professionals have developed their skills through placements supported by ScreenSkills on seven high-end TV (HETV) productions.

HETV Trainee Finder, ScreenSkills’ programme of paid placements for new entrants, matched trainees with Gentleman Jack and The Gallows Pole, Shane Meadows’ upcoming adaptation of Benjamin Myers’ Yorkshire-set novel, as well as new drama The Confessions of Frannie Langton and returning series’ All Creatures Great and Small and Ackley Bridge.

The last three of those titles joined Channel 4’s Hullraisers and BBC’s Happy Valley in also providing opportunities for crew members to step up into a more senior role with support from the ScreenSkills’ Make a Move programme.

Some of 2021’s most acclaimed films welcomed new entrants onto production via the Film Trainee Finder programme.

Ali & Ava, nominated for seven British Independent Film Awards, saw eight Trainee Finder trainees work on set across hair and make-up, costume and the art department. Censor had five trainees receiving work placements while five trainees are currently in Leeds working on Carol Morley’s upcoming release, Typist Artist Pirate King.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie swapped the West End stage for the big screen and four trainees were on set to see the adaptation into fruition. A further four trainees joined the production of The Duke, a forthcoming art heist drama starring Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren.

Recruitment for the next round of Trainee Finder trainees kicked off last month including a Trainee Finder Open Doors for Yorkshire and the North East. Attendees had the opportunity to find out more about the Trainee Finder programme and talk to Yorkshire-based trainee alumni and heads of departments. Richard Knight from Screen Yorkshire spoke both about his work as a location manager and also the role of Screen Yorkshire in the region.

In November, the first training programmes from the ScreenSkills Unscripted TV Skills Fund were confirmed including a production coordinator programme taking place in Leeds from March next year. The hybrid course will include in-person training and e-learning as well as mentoring from industry professionals and paid work placements of up to 12 months. More information and details of how to apply can be found here.

Centre of Screen Excellence: Yorkshire

The Centre of Screen Excellence: Yorkshire was launched by ScreenSkills last year in partnership with the BFI, the NFTS and Screen Yorkshire, to build talent in the region and provide a pathway into the industry for those who have not historically worked in it.

Glyn Middleton, Head of Skills and Industry Engagement at Screen Yorkshire, said, “The core value of the Centre of Screen Excellence is to light the path from whatever previous work or education you’re doing that leads you directly into the industry. We all know the hardest thing is to get in so we’re allowing students to show their qualities that we can link to specific training and knowledge in the field.”

The centre works in tandem with screen professionals and production companies to focus on areas of skills shortages so that students are best placed to join the industry. Glyn explained: “What we’re doing with ScreenSkills is to demonstrate the range of opportunities and knit together the best education with the best of the vocational work.”

Despite a launch date that collided with a global pandemic all students from the inaugural production assistant and lighting technician courses have secured work in the industry, with roles ranging from runners and research positions to production assistants and assistant directors.

New cohorts will be able to sign up for the next year of courses from January 2022. Follow the ScreenSkills and Screen Yorkshire websites for details on when recruitment will be live.


The ScreenSkills Mentoring Programme has seen significant growth in Yorkshire and the Humber since it was launched in 2019 with events including a mentoring roadshow in Leeds.

The FilmMakers 25 project, delivered by Under the Moon and jointly funded by ScreenSkills and Bradford Metropolitan District Council and Bradford 2025 in association with Bradford UNESCO City of Film, has supported 50 filmmakers. It’s hoped they will become part of a strong talent pool behind Bradford’s bid to win UK City of Culture status.

Other mentoring funded by ScreenSkills includes the SIGN Up! mentoring programme, led by the University of York, for 25 people from under-represented groups and Screen Yorkshire’s Beyond Brontës programme which is also focussed on those from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds. An evaluation in summer of this year showed that 73% of those who have taken part in the programme are now working in the creative industries.

These commitments to connecting new and diverse talent to industry knowledge can be found throughout ScreenSkills’ operations in Yorkshire. On 8 December, Margaret Burgin, ScreenSkills’ Head of Careers, will speak to the importance of this at the Screen Industries Growth Network (SIGN) event, From Courses to Careers: Guiding Young People Through the Screen Industries. The online event is free to attend and can be booked here.

Further and higher education

Integral to ScreenSkills’ work in helping find and develop the future workforce are initiatives that connect industry expertise to prospective new talent.

ScreenSkills Select endorses college and university courses identified by industry practitioners for their quality and industry relevance.

In the past year, the following courses have been endorsed in the region:

Bradford College BA (Hons) Make-up with Special Effects for the Creative Industries

University of Bradford BA (Hons) Film and Television Production

These are in addition to the five courses at University of York and the filmmaking degree at Northern Film School/Leeds Becket University that were endorsed the previous year.

As part of the work of ScreenSkills Select in forging stronger connections between industry and education, earlier this month the team ran a day-long workshop for key industry practitioners and local educators that featured attendees from production companies, broadcasters and local universities and colleges.

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