Calderdale College has secured more than £700,000 of government funding to establish a state-of-the-art digital creative skills hub, Mill Studios, at Dean Clough in Halifax.
Mill Studios will serve students aged 16+ and will work with the digital and creative industries to bring the very latest technologies in theatre, film and TV production, music and gaming, to deliver a pipeline of local talent to the sector.
The hub, which is due to launch ahead of the next academic year, as part of Calderdale’s Year of Culture 2024, has been funded by the Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF), which aims to tackle skill shortages by responding to employers’ needs and giving young people the skills to get good jobs and increase their prospects.
At a time when Halifax is establishing its place as the Hollywood of the north, Calderdale College will create high-tech facilities for film and TV production, design and editing, as well as Esports and Games Design classrooms. The new centre will also feature a collaborative space for events and exhibitions.
With the video games industry now making more money than both film and music combined, the College has identified an opportunity to support students seeking to enter this sector. From September 2024, there will be new courses in Esports and Games Design to provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to secure high-paying job roles in branding and marketing, programming, live-streaming, analysis and a wide range of other positions.
A Media T Level course will also be introduced to give students the chance to work towards careers in TV and Film Production.
The College will deliver a digitalised curriculum, transforming the ways in which students studying digital creative courses learn and are assessed, to fill skills gaps from post-GCSE to degree level.
David Malone, Principal and Chief Executive at Calderdale College, said: “When I first visited Dean Clough, I was blown away by what is a vibrant and captivating creative community which offers so much for businesses and students. I quickly got to work with the Chairman, Jeremy, exploring how we could build on our presence at this Calderdale treasure and digitalise our curriculum to meet the future needs of the Creative Industries.
“What we have planned is a huge game-changer for the College and the district, providing a digital creative hub that will transform learning in this sector, bringing new courses to Calderdale along with cutting-edge facilities.”
Jeremy Hall, Chairman and Managing Director of Dean Clough, added: “Since the first meeting with David, Karl, the Deputy Principal, and the vibrant team at the College we’ve been hugely excited to explore the opportunities for creative change based on our shared values and aspirations. So, we are truly delighted to announce our partnership with the College to add to Calderdale’s standing as a cultural centre for creative production, to ensure that we, as a united community, grasp this opportunity to bring the Creative Industries and young people closer together.
“We have the privilege to be the custodians of Dean Clough, and the last 40+ years have seen its incredible organic evolution, created from and rooted in our community with it now being a hive of business, cultural and leisure activity; this new facility is another significant step in its exciting creative development”.
More than £6.5 million has been secured for colleges across West Yorkshire from the government’s £200 million LSIF budget, to help meet the demands that have been identified within the region’s Local Skills Improvement Plan. Working in collaboration with the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges, the fund will be used to invest in new facilities and equipment and the delivery and development of new courses in curriculum across a range of priority sectors.