From education to employment

Dagenham film studios announcement held at Barking & Dagenham College

Made in Dagenham Afridjan Bracaj, Darren Rodwell, Wasimah Jheengoor, Mohammed Hussain and Yvonne Kelly by Andrew Baker

The newly appointed operator of London’s soon-to-be largest film and TV studios was announced at Barking & Dagenham College yesterday (3 Oct).

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, visited the College to make the important announcement.

The Leader hosted the high profile virtual event, where Barking and Dagenham Council announced the operator of the Eastbrook Studios. Guests included the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan who said the studios will help London’s economy recover after the pandemic. In somewhat of a coup for the borough of Barking and Dagenham, the huge studios will be London’s largest Hollywood-style TV and film production centre.

The filming of the virtual event took place in the College’s own state-of-the-art TV studios, situated in the newly opened East London Institute of Technology on the College’s Dagenham campus.

Prior to the event starting, Mr Rodwell spoke to the College’s Principal and CEO Yvonne Kelly and chatted to some media studies students. The event was livestreamed from the College and began with a video narrated by Idris Elba who studied performing arts at Barking & Dagenham College in the 1990s.

Student Wasimah Jheengoor, 17 from Ilford would like to be a presenter and journalist:

“It’s a really good chance and opportunity for us. I think it will be so much easier for us to get into jobs in the film and TV industry now that we will have these studios on our doorstep.”

Mohammed Hussain, 19 from Clayhall, would like to do acting and directing, he commented:

“I feel like it’s a really positive thing for the area, as this will be a gateway into the industry for me and other local young people.

“Idris is one of my idols, so it’s really motivational that he spoke on the video. It would be so great if Idris could visit the college, because it would be so inspirational to us students.”

Afridjan Bracaj 19 from Dagenham dreams of becoming a script writer and director:

“I’m really enjoying my studies and I’m doing an extra BFI course; we will be making a short film this term and I will be achieving an additional certificate on top of my BTEC in media, which will be great for my CV.

“Being at the event today has given us an opportunity to step forward and ask questions. It’s a really exciting time.”

After the official announcement of the operator of the studios, global media real estate leader Hackman Capital Partners, there was a question and answer discussion chaired by Justine Simons OBE Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries.

The College’s Principal and CEO Yvonne Kelly commented:

“The opening of the Eastbrook Studios film and TV studios will really put Barking and Dagenham on the map in this growing industry. What’s more, it will provide a pipeline of skilled jobs for local people for the future. We are incredibly proud to be providing the training that those people will need to secure these jobs.

“Thanks to the recent opening of the East London Institute of Technology on our Dagenham campus, we have state-of-the-art TV studios and film labs; students will be using real industry equipment and gaining industry standard skills which will enable them to get skilled employment in the industry.”

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