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London reopens its doors to UK visitors with a £6m campaign

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Frozen the Musical actors Samantha Barks and Stephanie McKeon
Frozen the Musical, featuring Samantha Barks as Elsa and Stephanie McKeon as Anna, to open this Summer in London | Photo: Trevor Leighton

It was a long winter, with arts and hospitality closed to the public over the first months of 2021, due to Covid-19 restrictions in place since last December.

As England officially re-opened entertainment venues in May, visitors from across the UK are being encouraged to rediscover London post-pandemic with the launch of a £6m campaign (as well as industry contributing over £1m in funding and value-in-kind).

With restrictions on international travel still in place, the ‘Let’s Do London’ campaign aims to provide inspirational reasons for Londoners, day-trippers, and overnight visitors to return to the capital.

The vast program includes public art installations, turning central London into a real outdoor art gallery. Award-winning designer, Yinka Ilori, is leading the program with ‘Asphalt Art’, a series of new temporary streetscape commissions in central London. These commissions are in partnership with the London Design Festival and Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Asphalt Art Initiative. There will also be a transformation of road crossings and street furniture in the West End, with a partnership between Royal Academy artists and the Heart of London Business Alliance Art of London programme. And multi-award-winning artist and designer, Es Devlin, will plant a living forest at Somerset House for this year’s London Design Biennale, a global gathering of creative designers, curators and design institutes scheduled to take place from June 1 – 27th.

Those leaving home to hit the popular areas of London will see colourful changes on the way. David Hockney, one of the UK’s most influential living artists, has redesigned TfL’s iconic roundel as ‘Hockney Circus’, part of a takeover of Piccadilly Circus Underground Station which started on the second half of May.

While people get used to meeting indoors, again, an invitation to get back to the big screen will see outdoor film screenings curated by BAFTA and the British Film Institute. The series of events popping up across the capital will include Alice in Wonderland at the V&A and Fantastic Beasts at the Natural History, as well as the Royal Opera House’s ‘Unlocked’ taking over the Covent Garden piazza. ‘London Lates’ over the summer months will also see extended opening hours across museums, galleries and cultural and grassroots music venues.

From August, families will be able to enjoy Disney’s smash hit, Frozen the Musical, for the first time in London at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. But not all this theatre buzz will take place indoors: The Regents Park Open Air theatre will open from June with a programme including Shakespearean classics such as Romeo & Juliet and family favourites Anansi the Spider and Dragons & Mythical Beasts. Speaking of Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s Globe will stage ’Midnight Matinees’ with performances starting at 11.59pm.

“Our new campaign is bringing together many of the capital’s leading organisations and venues to offer an unparalleled experience for anyone visiting the capital throughout the year.  With restrictions on international travel likely to continue this year, Londoners and visitors from the UK have a unique opportunity to experience all the capital has to offer without the queues. In doing so, you’ll be providing vital support for our world-leading venues as they start to re-open and need our help more than ever.” – says Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

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Sky Studios Elstree searches for young talent to join Content Academy

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Applications for new roles aimed at launching young people into a career in film and TV close on May 15th | Photo: Kyle Loftus

Sky Studios Elstree is on the search for local candidates, in Hertfordshire, to fill 12 fully paid, year-long placements as part of Sky’s Content Academy, aimed at launching young people into careers in the film and TV industry.

The Studio, which is set to open later this year, is looking for eight school leavers and four recent graduates to work at their brand-new site and is calling out for applicants from Borehamwood, Elstree and the surrounding areas.

For school leavers, the roles include four Runners who will be at the heart of the operations of Sky Studios Elstree, working with the Client Services and Operations teams to provide support to some of the biggest productions filming in the UK. There’s also one Rigging and three Lighting roles to be filled and this team will play a critical role in providing set lighting and equipment to clients filming at the studios.

“Elstree and Borehamwood is synonymous with producing world-class film & TV and, as long-term partners in the local area, we are excited to create these new opportunities for young people who want to get in to the industry. These roles allow us to break down barriers to entry, by enabling applicants without previous film or TV experience to secure a paid, full-time role at the heart of the UK’s newest studio. These 12 new roles, on top of the jobs already created locally at the studio, are just the first intake of placements and we’re excited to announce more as we ready for opening later this year.” – says Caroline Cooper, COO at Sky Studios.

When it opens later this year, Sky Studios Elstree will house 13 studios and enable £3bn of production investment over the first five years of operation.

The graduate roles include Senior Runner and Client Services and Operations Trainee positions. These candidates will be responsible for everything from coordinating the runner team, attending production meetings to overall studio operation support. The positions are designed to give people starting out in their career a broad understanding of what goes into productions and the vast range of opportunities available, as well as allowing them to build up their on-set experience and production network.

This opportunity follows Sky’s yearlong partnership with Elstree Screen Arts Academy, coaching students in a documentary project celebrating Elstree & Borehamwood’s rich film and TV heritage. This summer, ESA students will receive first-hand production experience as part of a 6-week summer internship on a variety of Sky Studios productions.

These new roles come after Sky Studios Elstree announced a local recruitment drive late last year for a range of operational roles and for facilities support across the site including security, cleaners and maintenance.

Applications for new roles aimed at launching young people into a career in film and TV close on May 15th  and for further information visit: https://careers.sky.com/earlycareers/content-academy/

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Applications for the 2022 Airbnb Athlete Travel Grant are open until May 20

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In 2021, more than 9,000 athletes benefited from Airbnb athlete support programs, representing more than $4 million in direct support | Photo: Anastase Maragos

Airbnb has opened applications for the next edition of the Airbnb Athlete Travel Grant, in partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). The program, which was launched in 2021, offers up to 500 athletes a year $2,000 USD travel grant to use exclusively on the accommodation platform as they travel, train, and compete and will run through 2028.

Last year 500 athletes representing 125 countries and 63 sports benefitted from the Airbnb Athlete Travel Grant program, including Canoe sprint athlete Saied Fazloula, who represented the Refugee Olympic Team at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020:

’’I used my Airbnb Athlete Travel Grant for multiple trips before the Olympic Games in Tokyo, including for a training camp and other competitions. It’s incredibly valuable to have this support as a refugee – Airbnb has provided not only a grant, but also a clear head so that I can concentrate on my sport.” – acknowledges Fazloula.

Applications will close on May 20, 2022 at 1:59 pm PDT. The Airbnb Athlete Travel Grant can only be used towards Stays in association with training, medical, or competition-related travel, and is not intended for non-sports-related personal use.

To find out more and apply, visit: www.airbnb.com/athletetravelgrant

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Top 10 cities for sourcing highly skilled talent in Europe

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Forecast: 30-40% of employees are expected to be part of hybrid work settings

A new report by Forrester, a research and advisory firm, has ranked Helsinki, Stockholm, and Copenhagen as the top European hotspots for businesses to recruit highly skilled talent.

Navigating The Leading Skill Clusters Across Europe, ranks 50 cities to help tech and business leaders establish where to source the skills needed for the future. The focus on digital transformation efforts, an aging population, increasing automation, and continued pandemic-related disruptions have created a skills gap in Europe.

The recent study also highlights that Europe‘s heterogeneous skill landscape is led by the North and West. Top ranked cities like Helsinki and Berlin offer a highly educated and diverse workforce with above average language skills and a business-friendly regulatory framework.

“The focus on green and digital revolution coupled with the socio-economic changes have created a noticeable skills gap in Europe, which can be debilitating for business growth,” – says Dan Bieler, principal analyst at Forrester. “To prepare for the future of work, European businesses need to hire talent adept at both technical and soft skills. The Nordics region is teeming with precisely this kind of talent. Recruiting talent from emerging hubs like the Nordics will allow European businesses to accelerate digital transformation efforts and drive long-term business growth.”

The top 10 cities also include Berlin, Hamburg, Oslo, Munich, Vienna, Zurich, and Amsterdam. London, often known as Europe’s tech hub, was ranked 19th — largely due to stringent immigration rules post-Brexit, resulting in London, Manchester, and Birmingham sliding in rankings.

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