Netflix and National Youth Theatre team up to show Yorkshire youngsters film and TV career options

Yorkshire has given the UK some of its favourite television talent, from Sean Bean to Jodie Whittaker, and provided the backdrop for top screen moments such as Happy Valley.

Despite this, young people in the region report that there is a lack of support and guidance which is preventing them from building a successful career in TV, film and theatre.

A new survey from the National Youth Theatre has found that 83 per cent of young people in West Yorkshire, of 105 respondents aged 18 to 30, believe that not having industry contacts would hold them back from forging a career in TV and film - higher than the 79 per cent of young people nationally who believe the same.

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Almost two-thirds of young people (65 per cent) also say that they have been discouraged by their teachers or parents from pursuing careers in the industry, showcasing the need for better support and guidance for young people on how to secure entry level roles in the industry. Almost half (46 per cent) also believe that they need to live in London in order to forge a career in the industry.

A computer screen and mobile phone display the Netflix logo. Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images.A computer screen and mobile phone display the Netflix logo. Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images.
A computer screen and mobile phone display the Netflix logo. Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images.

Anna Mallett, vice president of production across territories including UK at Netflix, said: “These challenging statistics show that too many young people in West Yorkshire feel held back from creative careers because of a lack of support or contacts.

"Yorkshire has given the world amazing stories, global stars and stunning film and TV.

"We're delighted to partner with the National Youth Theatre to help young creatives in West Yorkshire build the networks and skills needed to make their mark in the creative industries."

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To do that, National Youth Theatre and Netflix joined up to offer IGNITE Your Creativity, a free programme to help young people build their networks and raise awareness about the wide range of behind the scenes careers available in the industry.

As part of this, Production Park, studio space in Pontefract, recently hosted a course where youngsters participated in workshops, while they also attended exclusive backstage tours at Channel 4 News, Theatre Royal Wakefield and the Virtual Production Studio at Production Park itself.

Paul Roseby, CEO at the National Youth Theatre, said: “Those taking part tell us that these workshops have been instrumental in demystifying the entertainment industry and the exciting careers available in TV, film and theatre production, and that they feel they now have a clear ladder to progression. This is invaluable in building the future of the UK creative industries.”

Since March, IGNITE Your Creativity has supported more than 700 young people to gain insight into the creative sector, having carried out 18 workshops in Wales, reaching 350 students, in addition to workshops in Yorkshire.

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Further activity is planned for later in the year in the North East, and in September this year, over 160 National Youth Theatre members, including some IGNITE participants, will perform at LEEDS 2023.