Creative sector needs to provide young people a platform ahead of Channel 4 move

The creative industry needs to provide young people with a platform to develop their skills ahead of Channel 4’s big move to Yorkshire, according to a content studio.

Neil Adams, managing director of Leeds-based photography and video agency Powerhouse, believes that there is a lack of awareness when it comes to career opportunities in the sector.

Mr Adams told The Yorkshire Post: “Leeds already had a really well established creative industry, prior to Channel 4 saying they were coming here.

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“It’s already a vibrant hub and I think that’s been a major factor in the decision of Channel 4 coming here.”

Channel 4 is coming to Leeds. Pic: Channel 4/PA Wire

However, following the broadcasters move, there are likely to be question marks over the sustainability of the talent pipeline.

“There’s certainly going to be a huge increase in demand for talent,” Mr Adams said. “I think that we need to do more to grow the pool of talent.”

Channel 4’s move will create opportunities for production companies in the region as the broadcaster looks to tap into new ways of content consumption, according to Mr Adams.

He said: “The way people are watching content now has rapidly changed from traditional broadcasts.

Neil Adams, managing director of Powerhouse.

“Now there’s a huge amount of people watching content through YouTube, Instagram TV, Facebook etc.

“Channel 4 recognises this and are going to require a lot more, what I would class as, digital content as opposed to traditional broadcast content.”

Creative subjects have taken a back seat in education, Mr Adams believes, but the industry can do more to engage with young people.

Powerhouse employs 22 people in Leeds. The studio launched its own academy back in 2017 for fresh talent to gain hands-on experience. Since then, three young people have ‘graduated’ from the training school – going on to be employed by the studio, full time.

Photography director Richard White also holds workshops and mentoring sessions at Leeds Arts University.

Mr White said: “Ever since launching Powerhouse in 1999, I’ve always realised how incredibly key it is, that as a business, we help young people to succeed in our sector.

“A lot of traditional skills are being replaced by AI, but creativity is something that simply can’t be superseded.

“As employers, we all need to step up and fly the flag for Leeds, by creating opportunities across the creative sector. Even small agencies, who don’t have the resource to take on a young student, can help by providing mentoring and linking with local education providers.”