National Film and Television School to Open Hub in Leeds

Supported by Industry Partners Including Channel 4, ITV, BFI, Screen Yorkshire and ScreenSkills

NFTS announces it is to open a hub in Leeds following the successful opening of NFTS Scotland, which is based in Glasgow. NFTS Leeds is part of the School’s ongoing strategy to support the growth of film and television production outside London and is supported by NFTS Platinum Partner, Channel 4 whose new HQ is to be based in the city as well as ITV, who also have a production base in the City, BFI, Screen Yorkshire and ScreenSkills.

NFTS Leeds, which will operate from a number of spaces across the city including dedicated space at ITV, will provide specialist training to meet the growing needs of film and television production in the area. NFTS Leeds is expected to open in January 2020 with 150 students expected to enrol within the first year. Courses will mirror those offered by NFTS Scotland and will include three-month certificate courses; twelve month full-time and part-time diploma courses; and short courses to provide ‘Continuing Professional Development’ (CPD) in key film, television and games craft disciplines.

Yorkshire based screen industries are growing faster than anywhere else in the UK according to data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS)*. An ONS study revealed that between 2009-2015, employment across the film and TV industries in the region grew 88% against a UK average of 32%. This trend has continued with regular TV productions such as Emmerdale based in the area as well as TV series including Ackley Bridge (Channel 4), Gentleman Jack (BBC), The Innocents (Netflix), Victoria (ITV) and feature films, Phantom Thread and Darkest Hour.

Channel 4 CEO, Alex Mahon said: “It’s fantastic that NFTS is opening a hub in Leeds, the new home of Channel 4’s National HQ. We’ve seen a significant influx of creative organisations committing to Leeds since we made our announcement and the addition of NFTS will undoubtedly create more opportunities and attract further investment. By working closely with the NFTS and other partners such as Leeds City Region, Screen Yorkshire and regional production companies, we can nurture local talent to meet the demands of Leeds as a creative powerhouse.”

MD of ITV Studios, Julian Bellamy said: "We are delighted to be working with NFTS on their new hub in Leeds. Whilst increasing its global presence, ITV Studios is proud of its UK heritage and have long held a production base in Leeds. We look forward to continuing our work with the NFTS and other partners to support the growth of talent and meet the increasing demand for a broad range of behind-the-camera skills." 

NFTS Leeds will specifically work to address gaps in existing provision by delivering courses other providers aren’t currently offering in the area such as Production Accounting, Script Editing, Craft Skills, Location Management and Factual Development. 

Jon Wardle, NFTS Director says: “Since inception, the NFTS has had a remit as the UK’s National Film and Television School to serve the whole of the UK and we have shown with the successful opening of our hub in Glasgow, that there is the demand for opening hubs outside of our main base in Beaconsfield and that graduates go on to achieve great things in the local area. We look forward to working with our partners locally in Leeds and the surrounding area to make an even greater contribution to the local economy through our unparalleled reputation for delivering high-calibre, job ready graduates.”

Amanda Nevill, CEO, BFI says: “It’s fantastic that the NFTS is coming to Leeds and giving talented young people the opportunity to learn the craft and technical film and television skills that will prepare them for a career in the industry. Production is booming all over the UK and Yorkshire is a shining example of a region has really capitalised on this, but we still need thousands more skilled people to join the workforce.  The new NFTS hub is not only great news for Yorkshire, but great news for the creative industries and the wider economy.”

Patrick McKenna, NFTS chairman, says: “The School plans to make its courses increasingly accessible to students throughout the nations and regions of the UK.  This exciting new initiative in Leeds marks the second phase of an ambitious programme of development following the successful opening of NFTS Scotland.”

Gareth Ellis-Unwin, Head of Film and Animation at ScreenSkills, said: "The NFTS is an important partner for us across the UK and specifically in the delivery of our own plans in Yorkshire. It is fantastic to see the collaboration between all partners on the ground to develop skills and talent in this way." 

The NFTS, which was awarded a BAFTA for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema in 2018, is an acknowledged global leader in the provision of postgraduate, high-level, creative and technical skills for the audio-visual industries.

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Contact for more information:

Vicky Hewlett, NFTS Head of PR and Communications –

Editor’s Notes

*About Screen Yorkshire:

Screen Yorkshire champions the film, TV, games and digital industries in Yorkshire and the Humber, investing in content and driving growth since 2002. Its Yorkshire Content Fund has invested in nearly 50 feature film and TV productions, including Ackley Bridge, Official Secrets, Ghost Stories and Dad's Army.

Screen Yorkshire’s contribution to the creative industries has delivered unprecedented growth in turnover and employment in the region. A report commissioned by Screen Yorkshire revealed that between 2009-2015 the screen industries in Yorkshire & Humber grew faster than anywhere else in the UK, including London and the South East.

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 and the BFI to develop regional and UK wide talent by designing and delivering industry schemes