UK’s First Centre of Screen Excellence Launches in Leeds

Centre of Screen Excellence: Year 1 launch in Leeds 2020

February 28th

With special guest, BAFTA Award winning writer Sally Wainwright

Screen Yorkshire, The National Film and Television School (NFTS), ScreenSkills and the BFI today launch the UK’s first Centre of Screen Excellence: Yorkshire (CoSE:Y) in Leeds. The event, which takes place this afternoon at Archive, Prime Studios in Leeds, marks a major milestone in the nationwide drive to develop and support thriving and representative screen industry centres outside of London and the South East.

New BFI Chief Executive, Ben Roberts, introduced today’s event in Leeds, alongside Centre of Screen Excellence: Yorkshire partners; Seetha Kumar, CEO, ScreenSkills, Sally Joynson, Chief Executive Screen Yorkshire and Jon Wardle, Director: NFTS. Centre of Screen Excellence: Yorkshire is supported with National Lottery funding awarded by the BFI and is part of the BFI’s Future Film Skills strategy, the majority of which is being delivered by ScreenSkills.

BAFTA Award winning screenwriter Sally Wainwright delivered a keynote masterclass to the first Centre of Screen Excellence: Yorkshire students, who today embark on training courses in film and TV crafts, including construction, costume, grip, hair and make-up, lighting, and production assistant for scripted. The courses are designed to respond to increased demand across the UK’s booming film and television industries, particularly in Yorkshire. 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.

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

Sally Wainwright, BAFTA Award winning writer

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

Ben Roberts, Chief Executive of the BFI

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.

Seetha Kumar, CEO ScreenSkills

The courses will be delivered by world leading film school the NFTS, in partnership with Leeds College of Building, University Centre Leeds, Keighley College and the BECTU Grips and Crane Technicians Branch. The Centre of Screen Excellence: Yorkshire is also providing mentoring, bursaries and continuous professional development courses. The range of activity is designed to address under-representation in the industry by supporting people from all backgrounds to develop successful careers.

Today’s launch is a really exciting milestone that will deliver lasting change to the industry and the NFTS is proud to play our part. We are fully committed to ensuring the demand for highly trained creative workers in Yorkshire and the nurturing of future talent in the region is met with the delivery of these world class courses

Jon Wardle, NFTS Director

It is fantastic news that Yorkshire has been chosen as the base for this important new initiative - one that will really push open the door for more diverse, representative talent from across the regions to train and enter the screen industries and build capacity outside of London and the South East. There’s been a lot of talk about diversity recently, but it’s action that’s needed and this is a prime example of partners working together to make that happen - and I’m proud that it is taking place here in Yorkshire

Sally Joynson, Chief Executive at Screen Yorkshire

There is so much passion, creativity and talent in Yorkshire but our young people and career switchers are too often held back by a lack of viable pathways into industry. That's why I've been campaigning for years to support ScreenYorkshire and ScreenSkills establishing the UK's first Centre of Screen Excellence in Leeds, and I'm thrilled to see it launch today. "Yorkshire already leads the pack with the fastest growing screen industries anywhere in the UK. I'm excited to see the heights we can reach with the help of this new initiative, and I hope it will prove a successful model that we can bring to other regions across the country

Tracy Brabin, Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and MP for Batley and Spen

Centre of Screen Excellence: Yorkshire is an innovative collaboration that brings together local and national partners. It addresses the need for more highly trained crews to service the UK’s thriving screen industries. 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, making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK. Yorkshire was 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, seeing the region emerge as one of the most prosperous for film and TV outside of London and the South East.

Centre of Screen Excellence: Yorkshire places the region at the heart of a national drive to create new opportunities for individuals wishing to develop careers in the film and television production industries. It builds on the work of Screen Yorkshire, that has helped to establish Yorkshire as one of the most dynamic and transformative regions for the screen industries. The region has recently hosted high-end TV productions including Gentleman Jack, Ackley Bridge, Victoria, Zero Chill, 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.

Yorkshire’s popularity as a filming destination is set to increase, with a major new film and television studio facility and Sky Studio’s Innovation Hub both opening in Leeds in 2020, hot on the heels of Channel 4’s new National HQ launching in 2019. Centre of Screen Excellence: Yorkshire will support this growth ensuring much needed crew are trained to be set-ready for in-demand roles; with the long-term ambition to establish the region as a nationally recognised centre for training in the screen industries.

For images and enquiries contact: Rachel McWatt, Communications Manager, Screen Yorkshire: 07949 666275 or

Notes to editors

About Centre of Screen Excellence: Yorkshire

Centre of Screen Excellence: Yorkshire is delivered by Screen Yorkshire in partnership with the National Film and Television School (NFTS) and supported by ScreenSkills using National Lottery funds awarded by the BFI as part of the Future Film Skills programme. The Centre aims to address the need for more highly trained crews to service the UK’s thriving screen industries.

About Screen Yorkshire

Screen Yorkshire champions the film, TV, games and digital industries in Yorkshire and the Humber, UK. Its aim is to secure and support the very best projects, companies and individuals, helping to make the region one of the most sought-after destinations for production in the UK.

Screen Yorkshire offers production financing through its Yorkshire Content Fund. Credits include: Official Secrets, Hope Gap, All Creatures Great and Small, Ackley Bridge, Dark River, Yardie, Ghost Stories, Stardog & Turbocat, Journeyman, Dad’s Army, Swallows and Amazons, Testament of Youth, ’71, National Treasure, The Great Train Robbery, Peaky Blinders, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell and Hank Zipzer.

Screen Yorkshire delivers the Film Office services for Yorkshire & Humber and has been leading the development of the Yorkshire Screen Hub, a cluster for the screen industries, recognised by the BFI in 2016 as the first awardee of funds from its Creative Cluster Challenge Fund. Screen Yorkshire also works with ScreenSkills, NFTS and the BFI to develop regional and UK wide talent by devising and delivering industry schemes


About the National Film and Television School

Recipient of the 2018 Outstanding Contribution to British Cinema BAFTA, the NFTS is one of the world’s leading film, games and television schools. NFTS alumni have gone on to win 13 Oscars and 145 BAFTAs with alumni including Oscar winning cinematographer Roger Deakins, BAFTA winning director Lynne Ramsay, Oscar winning animator Nick Park (creator of Wallace & Gromit) and Oscar winning composer Dario Marianelli. The NFTS is a registered charity (313429). For more information see

About ScreenSkills

ScreenSkills is the industry-led skills body for the UK’s screen-based creative industries – animation, film, games, television including children’s TV and high-end drama, VFX and immersive technology. We work across the whole of the country to ensure that UK screen has access now, and in the future, to the skills and talent needed for continued success.

About the BFI

The BFI is the UK’s lead organisation for film, television and the moving image. It is a distributor of National Lottery funding and a cultural charity that:

  • Curates and presents the greatest international public programme of world cinema for audiences; in cinemas, at festivals and online
  • Cares for the BFI National Archive – the most significant film and television archive in the world
  • Actively seeks out and supports the next generation of filmmakers
  • Works with Government and industry to make the UK the most creatively exciting and prosperous place to make film internationally

Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter. The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Josh Berger CBE.