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Southport & Mersey Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 10 December 2007

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ANYONE in Liverpool who wants to work in TV is being offered a chance to take their 1st steps on the career ladder, with the launch of an inspirational – and paid - new training programme.

Northern Routes will give successful applicants the opportunity to get invaluable, hands-on industry experience by offering placement opportunities with some of the region’s award-winning programme makers.  From production assistant to post-production, make-up to camera area, Northern Routes placements will cover all areas of behind-the-scenes production, with trainees also being paid £300 a week while they learn the tricks of their trade.

The initiative, aimed at nurturing new talent from across the north, is the result of months of partnership working between the three northern regional screen agencies:- Northwest Vision and Media, Screen Yorkshire and Northern Film and Media, supported by the training body for the audiovisual industries, Skillset.

“We’ve always had close links with the other regional screen agencies in the north, but this is the first time we’ve worked so closely together to develop a training programme targeted at a wholly northern skills base,” explains Alice Morrison, Chief Executive of Northwest Vision and Media, which works on behalf of the TV, film, radio and digital content industries.  “The Northwest already boasts one of the industry’s largest, and most highly talented skills base, outside of London. But if we want to continue to make the region one of the premiere locations to film in, then we need to support the new talent which production companies are looking for. That’s why it makes sense for the three northern screen agencies to work together, to be able to offer an even greater talent base to those productions,” adds Alice.

Michael Grade, Chief Executive of ITV and Skillset Patron, is backing the ground-breaking Northern Routes project. "If we are to stay in touch with our audience demands we need an ongoing supply of fresh ideas, creativity and diverse perspectives,” he says. “Structured trainee schemes like Northern Routes are one of the key industry responses to this issue and I'm very pleased to give ITV's support to this scheme."

Successful applicants will not only be given access to industry experts, but will also attend a series of workshops, prior to a 12-week work placement with a production company. They’ll also receive bespoke training based on individual needs, 1-to-1 mentor support and a training allowance. 

To apply to Northern Routes, please visit Applicants must be aged over 18, with at least three months relevant industry experience, through either paid or voluntary work. Closing date for applications is January 2 2008.

 Skate your way into 2008!

PRINCE Charles’ favourite building is to be transformed into an ice rink over the festive season.  A 12 metre by 12 metre rink will enable up to 50 people at a time skate around the magnificent Great Hall inside the Grade 1 listed St George’s Hall on Lime Street in Liverpool.  Skaters will be accompanied by a wide selection of music and to add to the seasonal spirit, hot chocolate and mulled wine will be available.

The building was re-opened by His Royal Highness earlier this year following a 5 year, £23 million makeover which saw it restored to its former glory, incorporating a Heritage Centre, upgraded courts and prison cells open to the public.

Councillor Warren Bradley Leader of Liverpool City Council and Deputy Chair of the Liverpool Culture Company said:- “St George’s Hall is the jewel in Liverpool’s architectural crown, and we really want as many people as possible to enjoy its splendour.  The indoor ice rink illustrates how one of the city’s most iconic buildings can be used in a really imaginative way. During 2008 we will be programming a variety of exciting events so that the people of Liverpool can enjoy this amazing space and the great facilities it has to offer.”

Liverpool’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Paul Clark, added:- “The ice rink will bring the Great Hall alive, attracting people inside and giving them a chance to take a break from last minute Christmas shopping and get into the festive mood in a safe environment.  The Lady Mayoress and I are very much looking forward to putting on our skates, going for a spin and gliding our way to Capital of Culture year!”

Kris Donaldson, Acting Chief Executive, The Liverpool Culture Company continued:- “The ice rink kick starts the city-wide programme of events leading up to the official opening of 2008 on 11 and 12 January. We hope that the people of Liverpool will join us at the very beginning of the run up to the exciting year ahead.”

The Ice Rink (St will be open from 10am until 8pm (last admission 7.20 pm), from Friday 21 December until Saturday 5 January, closing only on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Tickets for a 30 minute skate are available from St George’s Hall Heritage Centre. Pre-booking is advised and tickets can be reserved by calling

0151 225 6909, (booking fee £1 per transaction).

Local businesses are also being offered the opportunity to hire the rink for the evening for corporate entertainment.

The rink is made of a synthetic material which is sprayed to give it the appearance of ice, meaning there is no risk of damage to the floor of the Great Hall.

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