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Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

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BBC gets keys to unlock thousands of new jobs in North of England

John Whittaker, Chairman of Peel Holdings, and Sir Michael Lyons, Chairman of the BBC Trust, with members of the Salford Family Orchestra at the handover of Building C at MediaCityUK, Salford (photo: Ed Swinden)

The BBC was handed the keys to the first of its three new buildings at MediaCityUK, Salford today, marking the beginning of the Corporation's on-site work to boost the creative economy in the North of England.

The BBC is the lead partner of a major regeneration programme to build Europe's biggest media centre at Salford Quays, relocating 2,500 jobs there from 2011 and helping act as a catalyst for thousands more in the wider private sector, from TV production to computer games design.

As the anchor tenant of the project the BBC aims to play a central part in helping local and regional development agencies create up to 15,000 jobs and a potential £1bn additional net value to the North's economy over the next few years; and workspace for hundreds of media and related businesses. (Source: North West Development Agency).

Led by BBC North Director, Peter Salmon, the move is a major component of the BBC's "Out-of-London" strategy to better serve and represent audiences and do even more to spread the BBC's investment directly into the UK creative economy, currently running at over one billion pounds each year.

Building C – the biggest and first of three BBC office buildings – will be home to BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Sport and local and regional news and is being handed over ahead of schedule.

Work will now start on fitting-out Building C to create the network radio station and broadcasting facilities for the digital age, bringing together everything the BBC does on-air and online to support the best possible coverage of live news and live sport.

The handover marks a period of increasing momentum, as the project comes to life:

  • Peter Salmon and his team have started a major new drive to find the flagship BBC programmes and content of the future, that will help put Salford on the map. Alongside in-house operations, he and his deputy, Richard Deverell, will particularly encourage and support independent producers to come forward with new ideas for how the BBC can best serve our audiences right across the UK.
  • BBC staff relocation levels are much higher than the average for a major move – helping to reduce overall redundancy costs – but still providing several hundred new roles at the BBC site in the North of England.
  • 2,800 people are now directly employed in MediaCityUK's construction, the largest project outside the Olympic Park in London, of which more than 50% are from Greater Manchester and 75% are from the Northwest.
  • The BBC will be making significant long-term savings, which mean the impact of initial relocation is cost-neutral over 20 years, by sharing studios with other media organisations, by working from more efficient buildings, reducing staff costs (eg London weighting payments) and by harnessing the on-site high-speed broadband and HD technology rather than carrying out expensive upgrades to existing buildings.
  • Pioneering new partnerships with local schools, colleges and universities to provide career training in the creative industries and raise the aspirations of young people now emerging into the workplace. There are more than 50 learning organisations currently linked to the new BBC North development, and staff are helping mentor and nurture new talent.

Peter Salmon said: "This is the first, exciting step in rewiring the BBC in the North of England, helping us better spread the British public's investment in the licence fee right across the UK, with the aim of making even better programmes and content that reflects their lives.

"Just as important, when our media industries are facing such tough times, this project can act as a catalyst for the renaissance of the creative economies across the North and create valuable new jobs in these tough times.

"Though there is still much work to do before we can broadcast and launch operations here in 2011, today we see that ambition taking physical shape, and the planning to deliver great new programmes that MediaCityUK will inspore."

Bryan Gray, Chairman of the developer Peel Media, said: "Together with our partners, we are building a new city at Salford Quays, bringing a renaissance to Manchester's historic waterfront. Today's building handover to the BBC is the first of many important milestones for MediaCityUK. We all look forward to delivering our shared ambitions of creative excellence, innovation and tangible benefits for the North of England and the wider UK media sectors."

Visiting Salford, BBC Trust Chairman, Sir Michael Lyons, said: "One of the Trust's key aims for the BBC is that it serves all audiences regardless of location and background. And that ambition extends beyond what's on our screens and radios. It means the BBC contributing to the cultural life and economic prosperity of communities across the length and breadth of the UK.

"The Salford project is an excellent example of the BBC doing just that. Today is a significant landmark in a project that will help regenerate an entire area and I hope, in time, act as a springboard for wider creative innovation in the North of England."

As part of the official handover a short fanfare was performed by four members of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra's brass players, joined by members of their Salford Family Orchestra, plus young musicians from Salford's Music Service.

The fanfare was specially composed by Peter Willmott, a double bass player for the Philharmonic Orchestra, who helped create the successful family orchestra, set up in partnership with the BBC Proms, which enabled over 70 amateur music lovers from Salford travel to London to perform on stage at the Royal Albert Hall earlier this year.

Notes to Editors

1. The BBC takes delivery of two more buildings – to house BBC Children's, BBC Learning, Religion, Radio, hundreds of technologists and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in the spring of 2010, creating the Corporation's second biggest base after London.

2. The three new buildings leased by the BBC at MediaCityUK all meet the BREEM "excellent" rating for sustainability.

3. The MediaCityUK consortium developing the site comprises Peel Holdings Ltd, the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), Central Salford Urban Regeneration Company and Salford City Council.

4. Examples of partnerships with schools, colleges and universities:

  • The University of Salford's MA Film class 2009 were asked to create films giving their unique take on life in the North. This challenge is now being extended to work with students from all over the North.
  • The BBC has worked with students across three partners – Newcastle University, Teesside University and East Coast Media in Grimsby on a challenge set via YouTube, to come up with ideas to make the BBC's coverage of The Great North Run more interactive, and pitch them to a BBC panel. The top six were chosen for a three-week work placement with the BBC teams covering the event. Two went to BBC Sport in London, two to Look North in Newcastle and two to BBC Radio Newcastle. Within three days the students had three pieces on Look North; the Assistant Editor there says they surpassed all expectations. The News Editor at Radio Newcastle was so impressed she's offered her pair shifts with the Sports team – with the view to giving them casual contracts.
  • In March 2009 BBC News School Report worked with five Salford Schools, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC21CC and Radio Manchester, to broadcast three hours of live radio on Radio Manchester's DAB channel. In September 2009 BBC Learning's My Story, Video Nation, the BBC Bus, BBC Radio Sheffield and Rotherham College worked with media students from Rotherham to produce stories which were broadcast on BBC Radio Sheffield.

MediaCityUK Fact Sheet

Creative Renaissance of the North

By opening a major new production centre in Salford, the BBC is planting its feet in the North. Five major departments will be based there, including Sport, 5 Live, Children's programmes, Learning, Future Media & Technology, as well as output that was already Manchester-based: Entertainment, Comedy, Religion, Drama and Current Affairs, Radio as well as Television.

Eventually, the project's arteries will feed into all corners of the North, invigorating the creative industries in the whole region.

The BBC currently invests £1.1bn of the licence fee directly into the creative economy. By 2016 we aim to ensure at least 50% of network programme spend will be outside the M25. In the Nations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) the figure will go up from 6% in 2007 to 17%. The English regions will account for 33%.

A recent report by regeneration expert Andrew Curry found the "creative buzz" approach to regeneration in Salford is a potential model for other towns and cities to follow. It says that the Salford project could help match the success of Manchester City Centre in the Nineties, where the vibrant music and club scene became a focal point for a revival in the new music industry reinforcing the resilience of the local economy and community.

Jobs and Construction

The BBC is locating 2,500 jobs from London and Manchester to MediaCityUK. As a whole, MediaCityUK is expected to create more than 15,000 jobs; deliver £1 billion in additional net value to the Northwest's economy over 5 years (£220m GVA pa), once complete; and provide workspace for several hundred creative and related businesses.

The site construction is directly employing a workforce of 2,800 people of which 52% from Greater Manchester and 75% are from the Northwest. The construction of phase 1 is projected to support 13,000 jobs. It is the UK's largest construction project outside of the Olympic Park (and the third biggest in Europe), and is already making a significant impact on the local and regional economy providing jobs, skills and wider community benefits.

Skills and Training

The MediaCityUK project is offering ongoing training to those working on site and has already updated the specific trade skills for 1,500 people. Over 80 apprentices are working on the project.

To raise awareness of career opportunities in construction, over 1,500 students from Greater Manchester have been involved in the project including site visits. Salford University is establishing a major presence at MediaCityUK by developing a School of Music, Media and Performance to be opened in 2012.

The university's new centre will focus on employer-led and postgraduate learning and research collaboration and host up to 1,000 staff and students.

Eighty-four primary schools in Salford are being engaged to raise aspirations and interest of pupils in careers in the creative and digital sector and includes four projects:

  • The Higher Future 4 U aspiration programme will be offered to all Y5 pupils
  • Me And My Movie film-making initiative to all Y6 pupils in all 82 Salford primary schools.
  • Radiowaves internet radio stations are on offer to all 18 secondary schools
  • Supporter to Reporter a more specialised intensive sports journalism course available to 30 pupils per year.

The Oasis Academy MediaCityUK School accommodating 900 secondary students and 250 sixth form students, will move to a brand new complex at MediaCityUK in September 2011.

BBC Philharmonic Orchestra

Two years ago the BBC Philharmonic announced a major new partnership with Salford City Council worth £20 million over eight years, in the run-up to the opening of the BBC's new site at MediaCityUK.

Since then the BBC Philharmonic team has worked with around 2,000 people of all ages in Salford, developing skills, raising career aspirations and making great music. They have performed in many venues all over Salford ranging from the iconic Salford Lads Club, to St Philips Church and Islington Mill. Smaller concerts have taken place in shopping malls, nursing homes, canteens and nurseries.

The Orchestra's partnership with Salford hit a high this summer, when Salford City Council hosted this year's BBC Proms In The Park, staging a magnificent concert from Buile Hill Park which was attended by over 8,000 people, and which was part of BBC TV's Last Night Of The Proms coverage on BBC One and BBC Two.

The next big project sees the Orchestra celebrate the International Year of Astronomy by commissioning Salford composer Alan Williams to explore the scientific theory of creation, or "the big bang". The new work, Wonder – A Scientific Oratorio will be premiered by the full forces of the BBC Philharmonic at Salford University, alongside the BBC Singers and Salford Choral Society, conducted by Tecwyn Evans next month.

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