From education to employment

Prime Minister and Chancellor visit University of Sunderland following Crown Works Studios funding announcement

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and ​Chancellor Jeremy Hunt arrived at the University of Sunderland on Friday (March 15) to speak with media students following the Government’s announcement of support for the multimillion-pound Crown Works Studios plans.

The ​pair took a tour of the MediaCentre at St Peter’s Campus, seeing the University’s industry-leading television and radio studios, as well as chatting with students taking many of the creative courses on offer at the campus.

The Government has confirmed the £37m funding and new powers that will give the North East Mayoral Combined Authority (NEMCA) the power to unlock one of Europe’s largest filmmaking complexes, on the banks of the Wear.

Last week, the Government announced a “trailblazer” deeper devolution deal with NEMCA as part of the Spring Budget, which will empower local leaders with funding and tools to deliver local regeneration priorities.

This includes £37m of flexible funding for the remediation of brownfield sites and acceleration of regional projects. Subject to business case, NEMCA intends to use £25m of this funding to remediate the prospective Crown Works Studios site, laying the ground for development of the studio facilities.

The film studios, a joint venture between global entertainment company Fulwell 73 – who has its northern office based at the University – and Cain International (FulwellCain Studios), is expected to create more than 8,000 jobs across the north-east.

Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Sunderland, said:

“We were very pleased to welcome the Prime Minister and the ​Chancellor to the University and to be able to demonstrate the excellent teaching and facilities on offer for students preparing for jobs in the creative sector. 

 “For our award-winning film production students – a product of courses regarded as some of the best in the county – the Crown Works project represents a chance to fulfil their potential while remaining in, and contributing to, the north-east.

“This ambitious undertaking will require roles from across a range of sectors. We will continue to work with local government and the team behind Crown Works, to develop a skilled workforce to maximise the success of this project.”

The visitors were met by Sir David, as well as Leo Pearlman, co-founder and managing partner of Fulwell 73, and Patrick Melia, CEO of Sunderland City Council.

The University currently runs courses related to jobs in the Film and TV production sector and is expected to play a pivotal role in helping train workers of the future for the project.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

“As we have seen from the UK’s success during awards season, the UK’s home grown talent is testament to its reputation as a film, tv and arts superpower.

Through our billion pound package of support for the creative industries, and by empowering local leaders and deepening devolution across England, we are backing British business, growing the economy, and developing the Oscar winners of tomorrow.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt added:

“Our creative industry doesn’t just win awards – it’s worth over £125bn to our economy and supports over two million jobs. 

“That’s why we’re continuing to back it with a £1 billion package of tax reliefs – and it’s fantastic to see this investment in Sunderland which will help nurture the next generation of local talent, also helping to grow our economy.”

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