Mayor shares acting tips during visit – and backs VAT change

Posted: February 27, 2024

Tracy Brabin has been sharing career insights – and life lessons – with our acting studens.

The West Yorkshire Mayor put aspiring actors through their paces during a visit to Quarry Hill campus in support of this year’s Colleges Week.

In the workshop Ms Brabin, who has starred in hit TV dramas including Eastenders and Coronation Street and is also an accomplished screenwriter, spoke about the joys and challenges of the profession.

Guiding the 32-strong group of students as they interpreted one of her scripts, she stressed that versatility was the key to surviving.

Great time to enter a booming industry

Speaking afterwards, the mayor said that 2024 – with a continuing boom in locally set TV dramas – was a great time to be entering the profession.

She said: “West Yorkshire’s creative industries are booming, with productions like Happy Valley and Gentleman Jack showcasing our region to the world.

“This growth is creating a whole host of new jobs in the area, and bringing millions of pounds into our economy.

“I’m thrilled we’re giving young people the opportunities they need to upskill and flourish, as we work to build a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire.”

An inspirational visit

West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin talking to students at Quarry Hill campus

The visit made a strong impression on the learners, including acting student Noemi Kubiak. She said: “Tracy gave us some really good career advice on how to support yourself as an actor in between roles.

“She said to use our creative skills to branch out into writing, which isn’t something I’d ever considered before. Acting can be quite a competitive field, so it was reassuring to know that you can still be successful whilst pursuing other things.”

Assistant Principal of our School of Creative Arts, Richard Lee, helped host the visit. He said: “It is really inspiring for our students to meet and work with actors of Tracy’s calibre like this, and they have all been buzzing since the workshop.

“She shared some really valuable insights into the world of professional acting and explained how many roles – including in backstage theatre and production, as well as writing – are out there in the creative industries right now.”

Tax change would save colleges millions

Run by the Association of Colleges, Colleges Week celebrates further education and its role in tackling skills shortages. One of this year’s key campaigns is calling for the rules to be changed so that colleges, like school sixth forms and 16-19 academies, can have their VAT costs reimbursed.

The mayor is backing the call, which would save the country’s colleges around £200m a year.

She said: “At a crucial time for learning and development, college students deserve to have all the resources they need to thrive.

“That’s why we’re backing calls to even the playing field for colleges and reinvest vital funds back into the system.”

Bill Jones, our Executive Principal, added: “We are thrilled to see Tracy, who has been a real supporter of both the college and the wider sector, publicly backing this campaign during Colleges Week.”

Through our parent organisation, Luminate Education Group, we offer courses for anyone looking to work in the performing arts and music at a variety of levels. Those range from introductory diplomas right through to degree-level options at Leeds Conservatoire.

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