The region’s independent TV sector is calling on creative talent from across the West Midlands to join an innovative new skills bootcamp.
The WMCA is funding the innovative pilot scheme to help the region’s screen industry discover new talent, or to encourage people from other careers to switch to the TV industry.
It is working in partnership with Create Central – the new industry-led body set up to turbo-charge the region’s film, TV and games industries.
The Gadget Show is one of the programmes produced by independent TV company North One, which is involved in the bootcamp, at its Birmingham base. Picture courtesy of North One
Create Central members who work in the TV sector have helped to shape the bootcamp content and are offering real-life work experience for existing gaps in their businesses, with a guaranteed job interview at the end.
The WMCA and Create Central have teamed up with Solihull College & University Centre and Screen Central who will provide the skills training.
The bootcamp will consist of an intensive five-week programme and a three-week real-to-life work placement in one of the region’s top TV companies for people who have the drive and commitment to work as production co-ordinators, researchers or runners in the TV sector.
Developed by Create Central members working in the TV sector, Solihull College & University Centre and training providers, the bootcamp will help 20 creatives gain the experience needed to become researchers, production co-ordinators or TV runners.
The WMCA is expecting to see 29,000 new, highly skilled jobs in the region’s digital and creative industries by 2030.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “In the heart of the UK and the home of TV and film hits like Peaky Blinders, Citizen Khan and the Nativity franchise, there has never been a more exciting time for local residents to start a career in the creative sector.
“The creative industries are the fastest growing sector of the UK economy and are worth over £1 billion. We are ensuring people in the West Midlands have the right skills and talent to meet this increased demand.
“This pilot bootcamp shows we are delivering on the promises we made at the launch of Create Central, when we pledged up to £500,000 to train more people for jobs in the film, TV and games sectors.”
Create Central was developed with national bodies including the BFI, ScreenSkills, UKie, Creative England, the Creative Industries Federation and PACT to build on the region’s existing creative and cultural talent and take it to the next level, helping to drive investment, growth and thousands of new jobs.
Chaired by international industry heavyweight Ed Shedd, Create Central’s members include Peaky Blinders writer Steven Knight and Nativity film franchise founder Debbie Isitt.
Independent TV companies from across the region are involved in the first bootcamp, including Wonder, Full Fat and the sector’s largest employer, North One.
Neil Duncanson, CEO of North One, whose Birmingham base produces Gadget Show, Fifth Gear, Travel Man and all Guy Martin’s programming, said: “It's great for Create Central to partner with the WMCA to develop these bootcamps, so the indie TV sector can get the right talent into our businesses to meet our immediate needs.
“Create Central members are really supportive of an industry-led approach, so that further education colleges can provide as real-to-work training as possible. We are looking forward to hosting the first work placements in the next few months.”
Lisa Cleaver, head of school for visual performing arts and media at Solihull College & University Centre, said: “We are delighted to be working with the WMCA and Create Central on this exciting project. It gives us the opportunity to work alongside industry to develop meaningful training which directly prepares people for the realities of a career in the screen industry. Every aspect of this programme is being co-designed and delivered with the industry, it is set to be an engaging and exciting programme.”
Cllr Ian Brookfield, WMCA portfolio holder for economy and innovation and leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “Expanding our TV and film sector is a great way of growing our economy in a way that benefits all our communities.
“We will help by equipping local people with the skills and hands-on experience they will need to land these new jobs.”
For more information about the pilot bootcamp, visit www.wmca.org.uk/cc-bootcamp . The closing date for applications is Monday 9 March and the bootcamp starts in April.