Following the announcement of additional funding of £475,000 by the First Minister in her keynote speech at last year’s Edinburgh International Television Festival, NFTS Scotland will significantly enhance vital skills provision arising from the expected growth in film and television production in the country.
The BBC alone has committed additional investment of £40m a year in Scotland and is proposing to launch a new channel next year and will also produce more network output in future.
NFTS Scotland is expected to open in January next year with students enrolling from April. It will specifically work to address gaps in existing provision by delivering courses other providers aren’t currently offering in Scotland, such as production accounting, script editing, factual development and drama, craft and movie production accounting.
The NFTS is an acknowledged global leader in the provision of postgraduate, high-level, creative and technical skills for the audio-visual industries.
Diversity and inclusion are key priorities and there is a joint aspiration that a third of all places in the first two years will be fully funded scholarship places. The BBC and the Scottish Government are making a contribution to a bursary fund which will meet the costs of these scholarship places and ensure that students will be drawn from a broad range of backgrounds.
The hub, which has been developed in partnership with the BBC for the whole industry, received strong endorsement from broadcasters and film production companies in the Scottish screen sector including STV, Channel 4, the British Film Institute (BFI) and the producers of Outlander (David Brown), Mad Max Fury Road (Iain Smith) Sunshine On Leith and T2 Trainspotting (Andrew MacDonald).
The BBC will give significant support to start up the hub through its multi-year commitment to provide premises and operational support, in addition to its sponsorship of bursaries.
Projected annual student numbers are expected to be in the region of 450 (100 full time, 50 part-time and 250 on Continual Professional Development courses) with more than 1500 students expected to graduate from the facility within five years.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says: “This is an exciting development for our screen sector which is already an area of growth for Scotland. While we have excellent university and college provision for a range of screen subjects and media skills, NFTS’ plans will complement and expand the training opportunities available in Scotland.
“We have seen a rise in high-profile film and television productions being made in Scotland, and this government is focused on ensuring that continues. That is why we are establishing a new Screen Unit within Creative Scotland to better coordinate public sector support for screen. And as the BBC expands its operations in Scotland – specifically in Scottish news and drama productions – we must ensure people can gain and update the skills they need to capitalise on the opportunities ahead.”
BBC Scotland Director, Donalda MacKinnon says: “BBC Scotland already has an excellent track record in helping to create the broadcasting stars of the future through our various apprenticeship and training projects, so hosting the NFTS in our Glasgow HQ will build on that. The NFTS has a well deserved international reputation for the quality of its training so we’re very happy to be working in partnership with them to ensure that we and other broadcasters – along with the film industry in Scotland – have a well trained and well-educated workforce to select from for many years to come.”
John Wardle, NFTS Director, says: “The NFTS has a proud history of developing Scottish talent from its base in Beaconsfield, so we are incredibly pleased to announce the expansion of the school into Scotland and look forward to making an even greater contribution to the Scottish economy through our unparalleled reputation for delivering high-calibre, job ready graduates.”
Steve Morrison, television and film producer, who is the NFTS’ first ever graduate and the BBC’s board member for Scotland, says: “As a Scot and a graduate of the NFTS, I am fully supportive of this initiative. It’s fantastic both for the School and for creative industries in Scotland to have such a driving new force in skills and talent development in Scotland.”
NFTS prides itself on producing award-winning, world-class industry leaders. Its graduates have gone on to win seven Oscars and 100 BAFTAs with alumni including cinematographer, Roger Deakins (12 times Oscar nominee); BAFTA winning director, David Yates (best known for directing the Harry Potter films; Oscar winning animator Nick Park (creator of Wallace and Gromit) and Oscar winning composer Dario Marianelli.