Mayor’s screen diversity programme sees unprecedented demand

TV and film production training course supporting diverse and disadvantaged communities sees applications three times number of places

A key Mayoral programme to support young people from diverse and disadvantaged communities to gain training and experience in the screen industries has seen unprecedented demand, figures released today by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority reveal.  

Beyond Brontës: The Mayor's Screen Diversity Programme, delivered by Screen Yorkshire, aims to tackle under-representation and increase diversity in the screen industries, by delivering TV and film production training and work placements to young people aged 18 to 30.    

In total the programme received 238 applications for the two courses running in 2022, more than 300% over-subscribed for the 72 places available.  

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:

“Everyone should have the opportunity to be part of the creative industries and nobody should feel that a career in this sector is off limits just because of where they are from or what their background is. The industry needs diversity of voices and we are ready to deliver both behind and in front of the camera. 

“Having this opportunity to learn about the sector and make contacts is a great first rung on the ladder. We are already seeing success from this programme and I look forward to seeing what our incredible graduates achieve in the future. 

“West Yorkshire’s creative sector is one of our fastest growing areas and going from strength to strength as a result of Channel 4’s decision to base its national headquarters in Leeds, which has contributed an explosion of investment and film-making in the region. 

“By championing and supporting the creative industries, I hope we will play our part in a dynamic economic recovery that will support our levelling up ambitions.”  

Recruitment for Beyond Brontës: The Mayor's Screen Diversity Programme specifically targeted disadvantaged groups with goals around gender balance, ethnicity, disability and social class, across all five of West Yorkshire’s districts.   

The first course began in January and finished in the summer, with the second beginning later in the summer and set to run until November 2022. 

In total, there were 46 female participants across the two courses, or 135% of the target, and five individuals identifying as non-binary.  

30 participants identified as coming from minority ethnic backgrounds, and up to 59 from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, or 155% of the target.  

33 identified as having a disability, or 300% of the target.   

Since graduating from the first course in late May, two participants have already gone on to secure full-time jobs at True North and Screenhouse Productions - two of Yorkshire’s best-known independent production companies.  

While the second course will not graduate until November, the goal is for 70% of those who complete the programme to go on to find paid work, further training or apprenticeships in the creative industries, including 50% in Film and TV, within six months.  

The figures were published as part of the agenda for the upcoming meeting of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Culture, Heritage and Sport Committee, to be held on Thursday 21 July.  

The Committee will also discuss the draft Cultural, Heritage and Sport framework for the region, which will see up to £11.5 million invested in supporting culture, creativity and sport to inspire, improve mental and physical wellbeing, and create jobs and growth. 

The figures were published as part of the agenda for the upcoming meeting of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Culture, Heritage and Sport Committee, to be held on Thursday 21 July.  

The Committee will also discuss the draft Cultural, Heritage and Sport framework for the region, which will see up to £11.5 million invested in supporting culture, creativity and sport to inspire, improve mental and physical wellbeing, and create jobs and growth. 

Everyone should have the opportunity to get their big break in the creative industries.

Tracy Brabin Mayor of West Yorkshire

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