Doncaster to become trailblazer in UK film and TV industry

Doncaster College has confirmed a groundbreaking future for its former High Melton Campus, as it announced the purchase of the site by 360 Degrees Media, an innovative media company.

The purchase will lead to the creation of an international film and television studio and The VFX* Academy, which will help to address the current skills shortfall in the industry of 10,000 people. These new facilities at High Melton will increase studio capacity across the UK by nine per cent and address the sector skills shortage by up to a third. By launching a VFX offering at High Melton, film producers will be able to create their films end-to-end on site, simplifying schedules and reducing production costs. The model is designed to attract a wide range of UK and US film and TV productions and establish Doncaster as a leading hub for media production.

Doncaster College and 360 Degrees Media will establish The VFX Academy, an innovative educational collaboration, that gives the college exclusive access and use of the facilities to train students in a variety of associated disciplines, gaining skills and experience that will drive pathways to employment across the industry. Ultimately training up to 750 students annually, The VFX Academy will become one of the largest creative centres in the country, leading participants into employment opportunities locally or in the wider industry.

Andy Tuscher, DN Colleges Group Chair of Governors commented, “We are thrilled that 360 Degrees Media is investing to bring this innovative and creative industry to our doorstep. As well as directly benefiting our communities through local investment and employment, our collaboration brings an exciting range of choice for students planning a career in the media industry. We will also see wider investment across the College, as funds generated by the sale of the campus will support our reinvestment across the College, benefitting all our students.”

Anne Tyrrell, CEO of DN Colleges Group continues, “We are tremendously excited about the impact this investment and collaboration will bring to our students both locally and regionally. This is a truly transformational opportunity, enabling us to deliver a dynamic and inspirational creative media curriculum while putting Doncaster at the heart of the UK’s media sector, directly contributing to a strong and prosperous economic future for our region.”

Alistair Maclean-Clark, CEO at 360 Degrees Media, confirms, “The UK film and TV production sector has seen record inward investment in recent years and going forward, Doncaster will be at the centre of this growing industry with huge future potential. This unique collaboration with Doncaster College and the region itself, will also ensure that this growth is boosted by state of the art production facilities and a strong supply of skilled individuals. It is intended that High Melton will become a creative hub for the industry whilst also attracting production companies and film-makers to base themselves within the creative ecosystem on site.”

The purchase and development of the site are supported by Doncaster Council, Doncaster Chamber of Commerce and the Sheffield City Region LEP.

Cllr Bill Mordue, Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Economic Development for Doncaster Council said: “It is fantastic news for Doncaster that the College’s High Melton site will become the new home to this international film and TV studio. We have been happy to support the College in bringing this to Doncaster. This will not only create jobs and growth for Doncaster’s economy but also encourage more young people to pursue a career in the Film and TV industry.

“During 2017, £1.6 billion was spent on the UK TV and Film projects, this shows that this is a thriving industry. We are ambitious for Doncaster and fully support the creation of this new site in Doncaster that will create more than 1,000 jobs for the borough.”

Dan Fell, CEO of Doncaster Chamber of Commerce, welcomed this development and confirmed its significance for the borough, “This is yet another game changing project for Doncaster. The investment from 360 Degrees Media will change the complexion of the Doncaster economy, facilitate economic growth and create local jobs. Crucially, the scheme will support the diversification of Doncaster’s economy adding more strings to the borough’s bow alongside established sectors such as rail, leisure, construction and logistics. This, in turn, will make the economy more resilient but it will also make the borough a more compelling destination for inward investors, entrepreneurs, skilled workers and international students.

“The Chamber looks forward to working closely with local partners to making this project a huge success, particularly in relation to ensuring that the investment creates significant opportunities for Doncaster’s existing SMEs. We congratulate 360 Degrees Media on the ambition of the project and also Doncaster College on facilitating this game changing project.”

Further information about the purchase of this site, including timings around the transfer of ownership, will be confirmed in the near future when detailed terms of agreement have been finalised.

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