Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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Skills Minister announces multi-million pound drive to boost diversity in creative industries

Matthew Hancock announces a further £4 million of funding to match industry investment, in a major boost to the creative industries. 

Government is joining forces with employers, charities and industry partners to develop new pathways into the creative industries for hundreds of people from underrepresented groups. The project will open doors for future filmmakers, designers and TV producers.

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock will today (14 July 2014) announce a further £4 million of funding to match industry investment, in a major boost to the creative industries.

The project will see nearly 300 black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) young people recruited into living wage internships. The interns will gain first-hand experience with 150 employers from across the sector with opportunities ranging from training on the sets of shows like EastEnders and Holby City to assisting with curating an exhibition at the South Bank Centre. Young people will attend monthly masterclasses where they can meet and learn from industry leaders. The project will help more than 3,000 young people develop CVs, draft applications and prepare for interviews.

The project, which will be delivered by the charity Creative Access and skills body Creative Skillset, has been launched as part of the successful bid submitted by Channel 4 on behalf of the creative industries for the Employer Ownership of Skills Pilot.

Speaking at an event hosted by Channel 4 and Creative Skillset to celebrate the launch of the project, Matthew Hancock will say:

Our creative industries are a source of national pride, as well as a vibrant part of our economy. There are 1.7 million jobs in the creative industries - that’s 5% of UK total - with 1 in 10 graduates employed in the industry.

Five years ago there were virtually no apprentices in the creative industries - there are now over 4,200. In order to ensure this positive change continues we are empowering employers to play an active role in workforce development.

Everyone in our country - no matter who they are - should have the chance to reach the highest ranks in the creative industries as well as every other part of our national life. This £4 million fund will be key to helping people break into and progress within the creative industries – spreading opportunity and enhancing social mobility.

This project will also provide bespoke bursaries for 900 people to support their progression to senior and influential levels in the creative industries. The training bursaries will be made available for traditionally underrepresented employees and freelancers working in the creative industries including black, Asian and minority ethnic groups. The funding will support tailored training, mentoring and expert career advice that will help individuals to take the best next step in their careers and progress in their chosen field.

The news follows the announcement earlier this month of £16 million of co-investment to develop the current and future creative workforce supporting the Creative Industries Council’s new industry strategy. The strategy, outlines a plan for businesses and government to work together to maintain the UK’s position as a world leader for the creative industries.

Other developments in the overall bid such as the delivery of quality apprenticeships and business leadership provision will also help to progress diversity in the industries.

David Abraham, CEO of Channel 4 said:

With over 500 industry partners involved, this is the largest collaboration ever achieved across the creative industries. Through this co-investment we can ensure learning and training is of the highest quality and that we can open doors at every level of the creative industries to diverse new talent, voices and ideas; allowing us to own our own growth and collectively invest in skills.

M T Rainey, Executive Chair of digital agency TH_NK, founder of, Vice-Chair of Creative Skillset Board said:

Difference is the very essence of creativity; different voices, different experiences, different perspectives coming together in unique new ways. Creativity thrives on diversity. Also, we live in a proudly diverse society and the creative industries can only benefit from better reflecting that diversity in our workforce. So, we need to work even harder to ensure that both access and progress in our industry is open to all.

Michael Foster of Creative Access said:

The Employer Ownership programme is putting employers in the driving seat of skills and workforce development to the great good of young people seeking employment and up-skilling in the creative industries.

Creative Access has, with the catalyst of BIS government support, joined with media employers who will be able to train more young people from diverse backgrounds than ever before. The driving force is economic good sense as employers see the world change and move forward and seek the right balance of skills and cultural diversity in their workforce to match and meet these changes.

Notes to editors

  1. Employer Ownership Pilots are a £340 million competitive bidding fund that invited employers over 2 rounds to tell government how they would better use public investment, alongside their own to invest in the skills of their current and future workforce. The fund is for England only. It is jointly funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department for Education (DfE).
  2. Creative Access: Creative Access was founded in 2012 to provide opportunities for paid internships in the creative industries for young people of graduate (or equivalent standard) from under-represented black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME).
  3. Creative Skillset: Creative Skillset empowers the creative industries to develop skills and talent; it does this by influencing and shaping policy, ensuring quality and by securing the vital investment for individuals to become the best in their field and for businesses to grow. As the industry skills body for the creative industries, we work across film, television, radio, animation, visual effects, games, fashion, textiles, advertising, marketing communications and publishing.
  4. Create UK: On 2 July 2014, Industry members of the Creative Industries Council (CIC) announced their vision and strategy for the UK creative industries for 2020. The Strategy outlines a plan that will see businesses and government work together to maintain the UK’s position as a world leader for the creative industries. The sector plays a key role in a thriving UK economy. To view the full report and strategy,
  5. Employer Ownership Pilot projects supporting the creative industries now include:

Opening doors:

  • More than 1000 creative industries employers will work with at least 250 schools and further education colleges, for example by speaking, providing work experience, careers events and helping make the curriculum come alive.
  • New careers information, advice and guidance (IAG) provided by industry, to help people who are inspired to work in creative industries make informed choices about their education, training and employment, on-line and face-to-face.
  • A new ITV soaps training programme for new trainees working on Coronation Street and Emmerdale productions, led by experienced staff who can pass on their skills.
  • SharpFutures, based at The Sharp Project in Manchester, a Creative Digital agency that supports young people into Creative Digital employment, will take on 15 new apprentices and 33 placements. The aim is to develop a pool of talented, work-ready people to work across a range of companies from Broadcast Production to Web App development.
  • Paid internships at top UK design companies and the opportunity to showcase work in France, China and Italy for 20 textile design graduates from UK colleges and universities –internationally recognised in the field. This will help talented designers make the transition from university to work. This project is run by Texprint, an industry organisation promoting talent in the textiles industry.
  • 270 paid internships for people from minority groups placed across creative industries and delivered through Creative Access, across the UK.

Quality training and skills for individuals

  • New trailblazer apprenticeships, information for employers and apprentices, and qualifications, for example in fashion business and studio management, radio production, film and TV production and digital asset management, supporting 490 new apprentices, including at higher levels.
  • A studio management programme run by Pinewood Studios, Buckinghamshire. Pinewood has developed a specialist studio management diploma: 50 people will enhance their skills to meet demands of major film productions. The diploma will be delivered with Amersham and Wycombe College.
  • Expansion of Creative Skillset’s ‘Pick the Tick’ industry quality accreditation programme for training courses (from apprenticeships to postgraduate and CPD). This will help improve education and training and help people who are inspired to seek work in creative industries find courses that will help them develop the skills that employers want.
  • Fashion and textiles design: Bursary support and CPD masterclasses for 100 fashion designers, as part of a wider skills and enterprise programme led by the British Fashion Council, trade association for the UK fashion industry.
  • Online training for 12,500 higher-level learners, including employees, freelancers and entrepreneurs in several of the creative industries.
  • Developing leadership programme for senior creative business leaders across the sectors.
  • 900 training bursaries, delivered directly by Creative Skillset to individuals from under-represented groups in our workforce.

Support for creative companies:

  • Oxford’s successful publishing cluster will develop a training programme, led by the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies at Oxford Brookes University with 125 local publishing employers, to foster the cluster’s growth and broaden the talent pool. This will include a new higher level apprenticeship for publishing; outreach to schools and colleges; and training in digital skills for over 100 workers already employed in the cluster.
  • Advertising and marketing, training programmes organised by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) and Marketing Agencies Association (MAA), including a new foundation certificate for people new to the industry to gain a comprehensive grounding in the business and be able to contribute more, earlier; a marketing diploma to fast-track young professionals’ knowledge and skills to deliver the multi-platform and media channel campaigns that clients demand. And a 6 month programme to develop the potential agency leaders of the future

Industry owning its growth:

  • Creative Skillset building partnerships with employers, training providers, individuals, Local Enterprise Partnerships and other key strategic bodies to develop and drive implementation of skills action plans, linking the Creative Industries Council strategy to the needs of specific sectors and key city regions
  • Through the Creative Skillset Skills Investment Fund support cutting-edge continuing professional development (CPD) for over 6000 people, in areas that employers have identified skills challenges that could hamper their business; and with Trainee finder match 750 trainees with companies and provide them with structured job placements in film, high-end TV, animation, VFX and games.
  • The TV Freelance Fund, to which BBC and Channel 4 contribute, will support and commission training for freelancers in TV.
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