The creative and cultural industries in West Yorkshire have experienced remarkable growth in the past year, primarily due to the Mayor’s commitment to implementing a Creative New Deal. According to recently released figures by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, there has been a significant 17 percent increase in the number of advertised creative, cultural, and sports roles in the region during the 12 months leading up to June 2023. This growth is nearly three times higher than the national annual increase of six percent.

To further enhance the creative sector, a new £1.7 million support package called ‘You Can Make it Here’ has been introduced. This package aims to empower individuals to pursue careers in West Yorkshire’s thriving creative industries by providing tailored initiatives, including training accelerators and mentorships.

Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin said; “Our creative industries are booming with thousands of job opportunities for people across the region and today’s investment will give everyone a chance to get the skills they need to do a well-paid job that they love.

“The support we’re providing is key to creating a greater, more diverse pool of talent and opportunities to help drive further growth and innovation throughout the sector.

“It’s going to help us to build a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire that will make a real difference to the lives of people in our communities and beyond.”

The £1.7 million investment aligns with the Mayor’s ambition to boost economic benefits in the region through culture. It aims to facilitate the recovery of creative industry businesses and freelancers while also addressing the issue of underrepresentation and lack of diversity within the sector.

One of the significant schemes under this package is an extension of the Mayor’s Screen Diversity program, implemented by Screen Yorkshire. This program has been instrumental in providing training and work placements for young individuals from underrepresented groups in the screen industries, including those with disabilities and ethnic minorities.

Caroline Cooper Charles, Chief Executive of Screen Yorkshire said; “It has been amazing to work with the Combined Authority to deliver the incredible Mayor’s Screen Diversity programme and we can’t wait to welcome our new cohort next month.

“The screen sector is thriving in Yorkshire with a 98% increase in people working in film and television in the region between 2017 and 2021. This programme has been absolutely critical in helping people from all 5 West Yorkshire districts access these burgeoning opportunities.

“Over the past year we’ve supported 77 participants, who went on to work with local companies such as DANZ and True North and on productions including CBBC series Jamie Johnson FC and the feature film Sky Peals (soon to premiere at Venice Film Festival). Some have also been accepted onto prestigious further training with Film Hub North and the Northern Film and Television School Leeds.”

Cllr Denise Jeffery, Leader of Wakefield Council and Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Place, Regeneration and Housing Committee, said; “West Yorkshire has a strong and diverse creative heritage. It’s fantastic to see the progress our region is making to harness the opportunities which stem from that.

“We’ve got huge potential. The Mayor’s You Can Make It Here support package will help Wakefield and everywhere else in West Yorkshire to realise that potential. Helping to create more new employment opportunities for local people, creating the right environment for business growth, and placing this vital sector at the heart of our region’s economy”.

The approval of the £1.7 million ‘You Can Make It Here’ scheme by the leaders at the Combined Authority meeting on July 27 marks a significant step forward in promoting the growth and prosperity of West Yorkshire’s creative industries.