Hundreds of young people are being offered specialist work experience with leading experts to help meet the demand for careers in Northern Ireland’s screen industries.
A major programme that introduces young people to the film, TV, animation and games industries has been given a significant investment boost to continue until March 2020.
This will include a Film Journalism placement in Portstewart with Empire Magazine’s Helen O’Hara from September 30 to October 2.
ScreenWorks, a partnership between Northern Ireland Screen and Into Film, will give 450 young people vital work experience in 30 different disciplines.
A pilot project began late last year when 150 young people aged 16-19 were given the chance to explore careers in the industry by taking part in placements with award-winning artists and technicians.
This has now been extended to give opportunities to hundreds more young people, with some courses being offered to younger age groups to help inform their study choices.
Project co-ordinator Sean Boyle from Into Film said the response from teachers and pupils was so positive that Northern Ireland Screen has decided to increase the scope of the programme to give more young people exposure to this burgeoning industry.
He said: “The past few months has shown that there is a real appetite for careers in this exciting, fast-moving industry. We need to train thousands of young people to meet the needs of film, TV, animation and games and are looking at all aspects of the business.”
The work placements will begin in late September to coincide with the new academic year and will include production accountancy, editing, visual effects, journalism, animation, game design, story development and catering.
Richard Williams, CEO of Northern Ireland Screen, said: “Following the incredible success of the ScreenWorks pilot we are delighted to be able to increase our support so that even more young people can avail of this wonderful opportunity.”
The first tranche of ScreenWorks proved to be popular with students and teaching staff alike. Patricia Dickson, Course Coordinator, Level 3 Fashion, Belfast Metropolitan College, whose students took part in the pilot project, said:
“The students who were involved found it to be very beneficial and learned a great deal which they have been able to bring back to help them on their course. I thought it was a great opportunity for our students to work with an outside company and people who are from the industry. It gives them links with people within the field, introduces them to Into Film and hopefully provides them with contacts for the future.”
Beth Irvine, a pupil of Ballyclare Secondary School, who attended the Prosthetics experience, said: “This programme gave me the knowledge I needed to understand how to apply, make and work with prosthetics, as well as help develop my teamwork and communication skills; something that I think every young person needs help developing.“