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Launch of Creative and Digital Technologies Academy to Inspire Young Talent

14 January 2021
Two male students in film studio with camera and lighting equipment

Young people, aged 18-25, interested in the creative industries, are set to benefit from a new Creative and Digital Technologies Academy delivered by Cinemagic in partnership with Belfast Metropolitan College and North West Regional College, supported by Department for the Economy.

The ground-breaking initiative brings the creative industries together with the Further Education and career sectors, to address the impact of Covid-19 on young people, and to showcase how partnerships focused on digital skills development and investment in young talent can create a strong pipeline to employment and local economy growth.

The Academy delivered by award-winning youth charity and film festival, Cinemagic, will run over the next four months, with 40 young people across Northern Ireland set to benefit from practical online masterclasses hosted by film and television experts, culminating in the production of two short films and a behind the scenes documentary. Participants on the programme will also achieve a BTEC Level 3 qualification in Production.

Cinemagic CEO, Joan Burney Keatings MBE commented “We are looking forward to working with our partners Belfast Metropolitan College and North West Regional College, with support from Department for the Economy, to help young people develop new skills, explore opportunities and give them the confidence to thrive in a career in the creative and digital sector. This is especially important in a time where the digital industries are playing a significant role in reshaping how young people can access learning and gain invaluable insight which will help facilitate entry to this type of employment”.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds said “The creative and digital sectors have seen significant growth in Northern Ireland in recent years, fuelled in large part by the success of the major television and film productions that have located here. This academy, funded by my Department, will equip participants with the skills they need to kick-start a career in this dynamic and vibrant sector, and I urge anyone who is interested to apply.”

Belfast Metropolitan College Principal and CEO, Louise Warde Hunter said “We are delighted to be working with our partners on this exciting programme. There is no doubt that young people have been greatly impacted by the pandemic and this Academy will not only provide them with an amazing opportunity to gain industry relevant skills and experience through the wide range of masterclasses and film production, it will also be under-pinned by a qualification to enhance their chances of gaining employment in the creative sector.”

Dr Danny Laverty, Head of Department Science, Technology and Creative Industries at NWRC added “NWRC is delighted to be partnering with Cinemagic and Belfast Met in the delivery of this innovative and ambitious Academy. It will benefit young people looking for their next step into Creative Industries which, across all areas, contribute £13m to the UK economy every hour. It is one of the fastest growing UK industries and NWRC has a strong track record in the delivery of creative and digital technologies. We are grateful to DfE for funding this initiative.”

To apply for the project, which is free of charge, 18-25yr olds from Northern Ireland are asked to submit an online registration form to by 5pm on 21st January 2021. No prior qualifications or experience in the creative industries is required. The project is looking for individuals that are interested in creative and digital technologies, and who wish to further their skills and work on a practical filmmaking project.

Further details will be provided after registration and key dates are as follows:

25th and 26th January: online interviews for registration

1 February: Project Start.

The project online masterclasses will run on Mondays (6pm-8.30pm) and Wednesdays (3pm-5.30pm) throughout February and March* unless otherwise stated and participants must be available for all sessions.

The short film productions will take place in April.

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