Academy is answer to Limerick prayers

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Praying handsPRAYERS have been answered for jobseekers, with a new production and digital skills academy being established in the Biblical Centre on Dominic Street.

Funding from the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government allowed Limerick City and County Council to purchase the centre for €2.25 million.

Taking advantage of the opportunities being created by the opening of Troy Studios Limerick, the academy had been flagged as a work and skills training centre to support the nascent film/TV production industry and will now be used to train professional staff and trades people for this industry.

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Twenty per cent of its places will be set aside for people from the Regeneration areas of Limerick City. The plan is to have an all-Irish trained crew working at Troy Studios by 2020.

Many of the skills required in this film investment in Limerick are in intermediate skills areas including: hair and make-up; digital animation; acting; camera operator; set design and building; rigging and wardrobe.

Mayor of Limerick City and County, Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon hailed the academy as an important step in the social and economic transformation of regeneration areas.

“Our aim is to target specific groups of people from the four areas to give them training and the skills they need so they can walk onto the set of any film or TV production in Limerick and start working,” Cllr Hanlon explained.

“The academy is a collaborative initiative bringing together representatives from Limerick City and County Council, Troy Studios, the film industry, relevant statutory agencies, local education and training bodies and community partners. The partners have a proven track record in matching training and education to the specific demands of particular industries and have achieved much success through various local initiatives,” he added.

Chief executive of Limerick City and County Council, Conn Murray, has described the purchase of the Biblical Centre as another example of the local authority putting the jigsaw pieces in place to help boost the economic capability of Limerick city centre as part of its economic and spatial plan Limerick 2030.

“The centre is a strategically important building in the overall revitalisation of Limerick and it will form an anchor for the digital hub which we are establishing in the area and is an ideal location for the new Production and Digital Skills Academy,” Mr Murray said.

The centre will be operated by Innovate Limerick, which was established by Limerick City and County Council in 2014. They have been tasked to design and implement a range of training initiatives to upskill potential staff and places will be specifically reserved on these courses for the regeneration communities.

Michelle Brassil from Troy Studios welcomed the announcement this week.

“In providing world class film studio infrastructure, Troy Studios will be the enabler for incoming productions that will seek to employ local production crews, trained to a very high standard. The academy is a significant step forward in meeting this potential demand,” Ms Brassil commented.

Minister for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O’Donovan TD, also welcomed funding of €2.25m for the purchase of the Biblical Centre, Dominic Street under the Limerick Regeneration Programme.

“I am sure that this acquisition will be very much welcomed and is another positive development by the Regeneration Programme as it try’s to stimulate the economic, social and physical regeneration of the City,” he said.

by Alan Jacques

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