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Wales Screen Academy to develop the next generation of TV and Film talent

Pictured: Huw Swayne Allison Dowzell Ben Calvert.

Academi Sgrin Cymru | Wales Screen Academy – an exciting new partnership between the University of South Wales (USW), Screen Alliance Wales and Bangor University to find and support the next generation of screen talent across Wales – was launched in Cardiff last night (Thursday 14 December).

Part-funded by Creative Wales and HEFCW, the educational, not for profit collaboration works with major TV and Film Studios as well as Further, Secondary and Primary Education to create a pipeline of talent for the Welsh Screen Industry, building capacity, capability, skills and knowledge for all of Wales.

It offers learners direct access to current and leading industry expertise, through dedicated classrooms at Wolf Studios in Cardiff Bay, Great Point Seren in Wentloog, Dragon Studios in Bridgend, and ARIA Studios in Llangefni, Anglesey.

Its comprehensive outreach programme covers schools, colleges, community centres and venues throughout the whole region to extend these real-world perspectives to pupils and learners all over Wales.

The launch event, held at USW’s Cardiff Campus, also celebrated the Screen Alliance Wales Awards, which recognised the achievements of budding TV and Film professionals who have worked on major productions thanks to placement opportunities, masterclasses and workshops at Wolf Studios and USW.

Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Dawn Bowden MS, praised the exciting initiative. She said: “The screen sector in Wales is already a major success story, however, we want to see a more representative creative sector. Removing barriers to entry and improving career opportunities for individuals from under-represented groups is a key focus of the Creative Skills Action Plan and our Creative Skills Fund.

“The Wales Screen Academy project can start to really bring about change by demystifying the filming process, making film and TV studios accessible and by forging a physical link between education, training and the industry.

“Partnership working is key to the work we are delivering via our three-year Creative Skills Action Plan and we are thrilled to be working in partnership with the University of South Wales, Bangor University and Screen Alliance Wales to support and deliver this flagship project.

“I wish everyone taking part in the Wales Screen Academy project all the very best and I do hope this is the start of an exciting new initiative which will transform skills and training delivery in the screen sector in Wales.”

Huw Swayne, Director of Wales Screen Academy, added: “Academi Sgrin Cymru | Wales Screen Academy is the culmination of five years’ work by USW with Screen Alliance Cymru and Wolf Studios to address skills shortages in the TV and Film industry.

“The funding from HEFCW and Creative Wales enables us to expand our ground-breaking work to establish educational facilities in studios throughout Wales including Great Point Seren and Dragon Studios. Most recently, through our work with Bangor University and Aria Studios in Llangefni, we now have a truly pan-Wales Academy that strengthens the pipeline of local talent to a booming industry.

“Working with our strategic alliance of colleges – Merthyr, Coleg y Cymoedd, Coleg Gwent, Bridgend College and Cardiff and Vale College – we are surfacing a generation of local talent and expertise in Filmmaking, VFX, Animation, Makeup, costume construction and prop design that is leading the world.”

Allison Dowzell, Managing Director of Screen Alliance Wales, said: “By combining teaching and learning innovations with industry focused workshops, masterclasses and an embedded educational facility at Wolf Studios, we have seen over 30,000 pupils, learners and students from diverse and challenging backgrounds across the region see employment in TV and Film as a realistic career choice.

“Enhanced by a programme of live projects, immersive learning, placements and internships we’re proud that USW and SAW graduates are now in key senior roles in major productions such as Dr Who, His Dark Materials and A Discovery of Witches.”

Professor Ruth McElroy, Head of the School of Arts, Culture and Language at Bangor University, said: “Bangor University is thrilled to be working in partnership to deliver new opportunities to talented young people in north Wales. As a University with very deep roots in our local communities, we are ambitious to realise the potential in this industrial sector.

“Working together we are already making a measurable impact, having interacted with nearly 1,500 pupils and students in the past six months from 12 secondary schools, three drama societies and college and university students from North Wales, as well as hosting activities at Tafwyl, the National Eisteddfod and the University’s Community Day.”