The Manx Multimedia Centre is an ambitious initiative that aims to train creative media talent, particularly in multimedia, to help support the Isle of Man's emerging media industry. A number of films, including the recently released Waking Ned, have been shot there.
Based at Queen Elizabeth II High School in Peel, on the west of the island, it was set up two years ago as a joint venture between the departments of education and trade and industry with industry support.
Julie Harmer, the director, says the aim of the centre is not simply to teach students how to use the technology, but to get them using it creatively. "When they leave school, it doesn't matter whether they work for a bank or in the media - if they have got a sense of how to turn a concept into an exciting and engaging piece of information, that's what will set them apart."
The centre produces programmes to a professional standard based on ideas devised by students. They work alongside a professional cast and crew to help produce the finished videos, giving them a professional showreel.
The most recent production is Deadline, which examines the social issues surrounding drug use. The 24-minute video is accompanied by an action plan and other material and retails for pound;19.99 (exc VAT) through distributor Beckmann Home Video (0181 748 9898).
It is the first to be complemented by a website designed by students, which Harmer says gives them the opportunity to develop a different set of skills. The next production will feature a more sophisticated website with an interactive online drama. Internet activity is likely to grow, as several companies have commissioned the centre to design and maintain websites.
The centre also hopes to start running weekend workshops so that students from other schools on the island can benefit from its activities.