Creative content production company Powerhouse has hosted its first open day for local secondary school students in response to the growing need to retain talent in the north.

With the popular belief amongst young people that success in the sector is only achieved by moving South, Powerhouse opened its studios to students for the first time to demonstrate that matching careers are available right on their doorstep.

Two classes of year 10 photography students from Leeds West Academy were invited to it’s Rodley-based studios to witness the wealth of opportunities in the north for aspiring creatives.

It is one of just many ways in which Powerhouse has committed to inspiring young people, with the firm regularly delivering lectures and workshops at local universities and colleges such as Leeds Art Academy.

Head of people at Powerhouse, Debbie Adams commented: “Recognising that we have a wealth of creative talent on our doorstep, I have always been keen to engage with students who are enthusiastic about photography and creative arts.

“Finding and nurturing new talent is such an essential part of keeping our industry alive, and what better way to do it than to form a link with a great hub of young creative energy.

“Leeds in particular has a vibrant creative sector and businesses need to do all they can to ensure that young people are aware of the vast array of exciting career opportunities available to them.

“While higher education institutions are great for recruitment, we must also work with schools to change the perception of photography in the north and demonstrate the range of commercial jobs available in studios just like ours.”

Debbie, who is also an enterprise advisor for the school via a new government initiative, took the lead on arranging the visit and on the day, kicked off with an insightful talk about the sector in general.

Director Richard White, who has built the successful production company from the ground up, then gave an overview of the company and the opportunities that led to him developing a successful career in the north.

The visit finished with students being introduced to the various roles involved in production and a tour of the Powerhouse offices and prop rooms to learn about what’s needed to run a shoot.

Rosie Nevison, curriculum leader of art and photography at Leeds West said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for our students to obtain real insight to what the creative industry is all about.

“Each of them relayed how it had really opened their eyes to the different career opportunities available to them in the north post GCSEs.

“It was so beneficial to them that we now plan to build this into our curriculum for future GCSE students and continue building our relationship with Powerhouse.”

Powerhouse plans to continue its efforts post pandemic and has already developed a strategy with this and other schools, in addition to scheduled talks and speaking engagements focused on wider concepts of employability and getting into the creative sector. 

Urging other businesses to do the same, Richard White added: “As employers, we all need to step up and fly the flag for Leeds, by creating opportunities across the creative sector.

“Even small companies, who don’t have the resources to offer work placements, can help by providing talks or mentoring students.”

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