About the Northern Ireland Skillset Media Academy



skillset media academy partnerThe Northern Ireland Skillset Media Academy  is aimed at developing a new wave of talent to create the Facebook, YouTube and Twitter style concepts and media content of the future.

It is composed of a consortium led by University of Ulster's School of Media, Film and Journalism and including the Belfast Metropolitan College and North West Regional College. Some media related courses in these institutions were selected to be part of the world's first media academy network in 2007 by an industry body chaired by Greg Dyke, former BBC director general.

Since then graduates have gone on to help attract to Northern Ireland production of Panorama, the flagship BBC current affairs programme. Graduates have also worked on HBO's Game of Thrones, one of the highest grossing new television series in the world in 2011, most of which was filmed in Northern Ireland.

The academy is the first attempt anywhere in the world to 'hardwire' collaborative partnerships between the media industries and academia into the fabric of national education infrastructure.

It is part of a network of around 20 UK academies which sees world-leading academics, content creators, computer games developers, software programmers and creative artists working with industry. They will develop talent, creativity and business ideas to exploit new technologies and opportunities in broadcast television and interactive media.

Dyke said: "We live in a very competitive world where one good idea can see a person move from mum's garage to global media magnate virtually overnight. The problem for the UK, though, is that a lot of people all over the world are having good ideas in television and interactive media! Good ideas are simply not enough - they have to be world-beating! This is where education and industry collaboration can play a crucial role.”

Those in the Skillset Media Academy Network have been identified by Skillset, the government licensed sector skills council for creative media, as centres of excellence in media education and training. The academies are aimed at ensuring that the UK media has the most talented, skilled and diverse workforce in the world for years to come.

Northern Ireland’s success followed a one-year application and industry inspection process. Over 60 consortia bid for the academy status.

The academy helps indigenous media companies become more internationally competitive by bringing skills to an international standard. It will also act as an incentive for international media companies, particularly in interactive digital media, to locate in Northern Ireland. It works with Invest Northern Ireland in attracting them.

Richard Williams, chief executive of Northern Ireland Screen, said: “The Northern Ireland Skillset Media Academy will for the first time create a proper and coherent link between the television, film and digital media industry in Northern Ireland and the education and training providers.

“This provides a once in a generation opportunity to ensure that in the future graduates of courses are better equipped for the industry they wish to join and are provided with a clearer path to that industry albeit still a challenging one.”

The academy is advised by a board of leading industry practitioners to ensure its training, research and skills are industry-led. It is chaired by Mairead Regan, group director of human resources at UTV Media plc, which employs 800 media professions in the UK and Ireland. Peter Johnston, director of BBC Northern Ireland, also sits on this advisory board.

The academy provides a pathway of qualifications for talented individuals. For example, its ladder of qualifications will allow a school leaver enter a higher national diploma (HND) qualification in a further education college in the academy. They will then, if they met the requirements, be able to progress to a PhD over their careers. They will be supported by industry placements, research, industry talks, workshops and other joint projects across the partnership during their careers.

Basil Dalton, head of media courses at North West Regional College, said: “For the first time in Northern Ireland higher level media education is being delivered in a joined-up fashion.”

The Northern Ireland Skillset Media Academy is made up of four partners:

  • University of Ulster, Coleraine (lead partner)
  • Belfast Metropolitan College
  • North West Regional College, (Derry city campus)
  • Southern Regional College, (Newry campus)

The following courses delivered by these partners make up the Academy.

  • MA Journalism (University of Ulster, Coleraine)
  • MA Media Management and Policy (University of Ulster, Belfast)
  • MA Documentary Practice (University of Ulster, Coleraine)
  • BA Media Studies and Production (University of Ulster, Coleraine)
  • BA Interactive Media Arts (University of Ulster, Coleraine)
  • HND Moving Image (Belfast Metropolitan College)
  • HND Moving Image (North West Regional College, Derry city campus)
  • HND Interactive Media (North West Regional College, Derry city campus)

Other academies include:

    1. Birmingham City University Skillset Media Academy .
    2. Bournemouth Skillset Media Academy (Bournemouth University, Arts Institute at Bournemouth).
    3. Central Saint Martins Skillset Media Academy (Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design).
    4. Cornwall Skillset Media Academy (University College Falmouth, Cornwall College Truro College).
    5. Creative Loop Skillset Media Academy (Aberdeen College, Cardonald College, Dundee College, Perth College, Reid Kerr College).
    6. Goldsmiths, University of London Skillset Media Academy (Goldsmiths, University of London, Documentary Filmmakers Group, Hi8us, London Film Academy).
    7. Hertfordshire Skillset Media Academy (University of Hertfordshire, West Herts College, The Film and Digital Media Exchange).
    8. Liverpool John Moores Skillset Media Academy (Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool Community College).
    9. Middlesex Skillset Media Academy (Middlesex University, SAE College,
    10. National Film and Television School, A Skillset Screen & Media Academy.
    11. North by Southwest: The Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Skillset Media Academy (University of Gloucestershire, Cirencester College, Gloucestershire College, Wiltshire College).
    12. Ravensbourne Skillset Media Academy (Ravensbourne College of Design & Communication, Cass Business School, 01zero-one).
    13. Yorkshire and Humber Skillset Media Academy (University of Bradford, East Coast Media, Grimsby Institute).
    14. University of Teesside Skillset Media Academy (University of Teesside).
    15. University of Sunderland Skillset Media Academy (University of Sunderland).
    16. Westminster Skillset Media Academy (University of Westminster, City of Westminster College).

For more information see www.skillset.org/mediaacademies