West Yorkshire sees job growth as creative sector booms

West Yorkshire’s creative industries is set to benefit from further investment with a new £1.7 million package to help boost the sector announced today.

27 July 2023

West Yorkshire’s creative and cultural industries has seen a rapid growth over the last 12 months, with more jobs in the sector being created thanks to the Mayor’s commitment to deliver a Creative New Deal.

New figures published by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority reveal that almost 48,000 creative, cultural and sport roles were advertised in the region during the 12 months up to June 2023 - a 17 percent rise on the previous year and almost three times greater than the national annual increase of six percent.

And West Yorkshire’s creative industries is set to benefit from further investment, with a new £1.7 million package to help boost the sector announced today. 

The ‘You Can Make it Here’ support package will support people into the region’s growing creative industries, upskilling them through a bespoke range of initiatives, including training accelerators and mentorships.

Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin said:

“Our creative industries are booming with thousands of job opportunities for people across the region and today’s investment will give everyone a chance to get the skills they need to do a well paid job that they love.

“The support we’re providing is key to creating a greater, more diverse pool of talent and opportunities to help drive further growth and innovation throughout the sector.

“It’s going to help us to build a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire that will make a real difference to the lives of people in our communities and beyond.”

The £1.7 million investment will further support the Mayor’s ambition to increase economic benefits for the region through culture, helping to boost recovery for creative industry businesses and freelancers, as well as tackling the lack of diversity within the sector.

One of the schemes is an extension of support for the Mayor’s Screen Diversity programme. Delivered by Screen Yorkshire, it aims to increase opportunities in the screen industries by providing training and work placements for young people in under-represented groups. Of the last cohort, 43% identified as disabled and 38% were from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Caroline Cooper Charles, Chief Executive of Screen Yorkshire said:

“It has been amazing to work with the Combined Authority to deliver the incredible Mayor’s Screen Diversity programme and we can’t wait to welcome our new cohort next month.  

“The screen sector is thriving in Yorkshire with a 98% increase in people working in film and television in the region between 2017 and 2021. This programme has been absolutely critical in helping people from all 5 West Yorkshire districts access these burgeoning opportunities.  

“Over the past year we've supported 77 participants, who went on to work with local companies such as DANZ and True North and on productions including CBBC series Jamie Johnson FC and the feature film Sky Peals (soon to premiere at Venice Film Festival). Some have also been accepted onto prestigious further training with Film Hub North and the Northern Film and Television School Leeds.”

Cllr Denise Jeffery, Leader of Wakefield Council and Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Place, Regeneration and Housing Committee, said:

“West Yorkshire has a strong and diverse creative heritage. It’s fantastic to see the progress our region is making to harness the opportunities which stem from that.

“We’ve got huge potential. The Mayor’s You Can Make It Here support package will help Wakefield and everywhere else in West Yorkshire to realise that potential. Helping to create more new employment opportunities for local people, creating the right environment for business growth, and placing this vital sector at the heart of our region’s economy”.

Leaders approved the £1.7 million ‘You Can Make It Here’ scheme at a meeting of the Combined Authority today (27 July).