Students have been given hands-on experience getting to grips with film production from professionals with free training for those who wouldn’t normally get the chance.

The students on media courses at Barking and Dagenham College were given two days’ intensive training by the non-profit Ghetto film school, working with technicians from studio operating and production company the MBS Group. 

They included Katie Brett, a 20-year-old from Dagenham anxious to cut a path in the film and TV industry. 

 “I gained many skills helpful to the industry,” she said. “The course leaders were so knowledgeable. Everyone was encouraging.”

A two-day workshop held at Barking’s Wharf Studios in River Road focused on technical skills such as set lighting and grip, using the ‘Illumination Training’ programme being run in Canada and the US which was being introduced in the UK.

The programme is designed to create career pathways to the entertainment industry for those who may not otherwise have access. 

It has involved 900 students and 130 instructors in cities like Toronto, New York and Los Angeles in the last two years.

The equipment company’s director Toby Dare said: “We are developing the next generation of film professionals and have expanded our programming with the first-ever sessions in the UK. The students learned skills in lighting and grip at The Wharf studios.”

The programme is run by professionals committed to mentoring newcomers and bridging the gap between learning and getting jobs in the industry.

It is led by the American company’s vice president Irene Phan who explained its goal “to bridge the gap for students who may not have access to the training needed to get below-the-line jobs in the film and television”. It promotes "diversity and inclusion".

The core training focuses on lighting and grip, but also covers set construction, decoration and prop management.

Grips are the technicians who make sure that what the director wants on a shoot is possible.