The creative and media industry is a highly competitive sector, populated predominantly by project-based workers and small freelance companies. Because of the transient and unpredictable nature of the work, there has been a considerable under-investment in skills development, training and structured career progression. These underlying problems have been concerning the government for some time. So much so, that the UK’s Creative Industries Council and the Department of Culture Media & Sport and Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, co-chaired by Business Secretary Vince Cable, the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, commissioned a report by the Skillsets Skills Group to look into the matter in detail and come up with recommendations about how the industry could improve skills in the sector and drive growth and employment opportunities. The Group chaired by Skillset CEO Dinah Caine and comprised of experts representing groups including NESTA and the Cinema Exhibitors Association has come up with 17 separate recommendations to drive the industry forward, chief amongst which was the need to foster greateropportunities for employees within the sector.
- To create an online professional learning network for employers and individuals, and to implement sector-wide management and leadership programmes by establishing virtual boards of experienced professionals to provide support, mentoring and guidance to start-ups and small creative companies.
- To reform the ICT syllabus in schools. Computer science, arts and/or a creative subject (music, film, media, and photography) should ideally be included in the National Curriculum as core subjects, and also as options within the English Baccalaureate.
- The Creative Industries and the National Apprenticeship Service should in future lead a promotional campaign to raise the profile of Apprenticeships and challenge the traditional notions that they are for those unable to study at university, or that they are “just for boys”.
- Education and training providers must collaborate with Creative Industries to combine arts, design, technology and business, to reflect how the Creative Industries benefit and are being transformed by the fusion of these combined disciplines.
- To establish a single career’s resource for the Creative Industries with authoritative careers information and rich media content, supported by online mentoring programmes.
- To establish group Apprenticeship approaches for the Creative Media and Fashion and Textile industries, which will allow employers to manage apprentices collectively, in partnership with other businesses in the sector.
- To extend the Skillset philosophy right across the sector. The scheme will provide a kite mark for industry-accredited HE and FE courses and should be extended to apprenticeship provision. It acts as a guide for both prospective students and potential employers.
- To improve the quality of industry internships and mentoring programmes, where employers don’t just comply with legislation but also work hand-in-hand with trade unions, employee representative groups and Government to challenge the poor working practices and champion the principles of fair access to the sector.
- To improve the national account system for the Creative Industries by working with the Office for National Statistics to shape the methodology for data collection; reduce duplication, identify knowledge gaps and drive up the quality of the evidence base so that employers can make better investment in recruitment, training and mentoring programmes which will help prospective entrants make informed decisions on career route.
The Council has now charged Skillset with leading bids on behalf of the industry to raise sufficient investment funds to help deliver the strategic plan and the recommendations agreed upon. Business Secretary, Vince Clarke, commented:
“The UK creative industries have a well-deserved world-wide reputation for excellence. This report makes a number of strong recommendations to develop skills and nurture emerging talent in creative industries, particularly through our expanded and improved apprenticeships programme. We look forward to Skillset and others in the creative industries taking this plan forward and implementing it.”
Dinah Caine, CEO of Skillset added:
“We are delighted that Skillset was asked to lead the work of this group, and has now been asked to take the lead in making these recommendations a reality. This work will address the key challenges our industries face by fostering the skills and talent they need to remain internationally competitive and a driver of growth in our economy. We now look forward to working with our industries and the Government in realising these ambitions for our sector.”