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Bristol is kicking off a year-long £300,000 training programme to diversify entry-level behind-the-scenes talent in the West Midlands.

The West of England Film & High-End TV Workforce Development Programme will offer tailored training for up to 750 people in crew positions in scripted film and TV production to people from under-represented backgrounds.

Funded by the government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the scheme will be implemented in three intakes across the year. Trainees will partake in a ‘get to know the industry’ webinar and an industry induction day at Bristol’s The Bottle Yard Studios, with 45 set to undertake a bespoke five-week training scheme.

Training will focus on confidence-building, set etiquette and work-readiness, communication skills and teamwork, wellbeing and resilience, as well as digital and financial literacy and how to find work as a freelancer.

Those who complete the full training will be added to a ‘new entrants’ portfolio given to film and high-end TV productions filming in the region.

A digital new entrants hub, meanwhile, will signpost anyone in the West of England interested in a career in film or high-end TV to useful resources, training and development opportunities that are relevant to the region.

The scheme opens this month to residents of Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, and South Gloucestershire aged 17 and above.

It specifies ‘under-represented’ groups as 17 to 25 year-olds, those not in education, employment or training, under-employed people and those on zero-hour contracts, women, people from the global majority, disabled people, people living with mental health issues, carers and care leavers.

Participants who face a financial barrier to taking part can apply to use a dedicated access fund.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris, who leads the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority, said that Disney becoming the first client of The Bottle Yard’s recently-established TBY2 facility for the filming of Jilly Cooper adaptation Rivals was a “vote of confidence” for the region.

“But to keep up the pace, we need to tap into the extraordinary wealth of creative talent we have in the west,” he said. “That means supporting them with world-class training to create that new home-grown creative generation for the sector.”

ITVX fantasy drama The Winter King [pictured] and upcoming BBC3 shows Boarders and A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder were also shot in the region, which is currently hosting production of the BBC/Masterpiece PBS co-production of Wolf Hall: The Mirror.

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