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College media centre nurtures northern talent

A college is cashing in on the media industry's migration from London by producing a new pool of talent in the North-west.

A new pound;2 million media centre at Salford college hopes to throw the spotlight on the upcoming generation of journalists and production staff.

College principal Tony Craven said: "The Salford area is hardly a hotbed of the media industry. With our new facilities, we hope to turn it into one.

"Location filming alone contributed pound;30m to the North-west's economy last year and young talent will help attract more jobs."

A major film and TV production studio has been developed half a mile from the Worsley campus. This is expected to cover 15 acres by 2009, with sound stages and associated media company bases.

The timing could not be better, according to the BBC, which is already planning to move many of its staff to Manchester.

Leo Devine, the BBC's head of regional and local programming, said: "The North-west has a long history of producing quality television from classic series such as Z Cars to Boys From the Black Stuff to the Royle Family.

"Filming now taking place in Manchester for the drama series Life on Mars shows this tradition is continuing, adding to the need for well-trained and highly-skilled people to work in this growing industry."

Seasoned BBC broadcasters have agreed to pass on their experience by attending sessions with the students.

TV producer Roger Appleton, who has more than 15 years' experience in the industry, will head the new faculty. Other key members of staff include Ali Awad, who has five years of production and editing experience in TV and feature films.

Students will embark on one of three courses from September to receive a Btec national diploma in TV production, at level 3 (A-level equivalent), a Btec national diploma in journalism, at level 3, or a Btec first diploma in media at level 2 (GCSE grade A-C equivalent).

Mr Craven said: "The centre and staff, who all have years of experience in the industry, will allow young people to learn practical skills for this growing industry.

"Our unofficial motto is: 'Don't just learn about it, learn how to do it'."

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