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Welcome to the Creative Skills Place Forum

On the 18th January 2024 the Creative Industries Council (CIC), in partnership with the Audience Agency, held its first open online forum to discuss place-based creative skills development. The event brought together representatives of industry, local and national government and over 200 participants. To record the insights shared at the inaugural forum, and future events, and make them accessible to a wider audience, we have created this section of the website.

Welcoming participants to the first forum, Francesca Hegyi (above), Deputy Industry Co-Chair of the CIC and Chief Executive of the Edinburgh International Festival, who leads on the CIC's engagement with place-based initiatives and partners, said:

"Our aim in hosting these online events is to bring together industry, with national and local policymakers and partners, to make connections and to share insights, learnings and experiences. We want to help people designing policy and programmes, to better understand the specific needs of creative businesses and vice versa. We are conscious that many of the skills polices discussed are specific to England, but we hope the approaches and insights will be useful for colleagues across the UK.

"This first session is an experiment. We’d welcome your feedback as well as ideas on future sessions."

Speaking to the forum participants, Sir Peter Bazalgette, Industry Co-Chair of the CIC, (above) described the skills challenge as the most important facing today's creative industries.

Sir Peter said: "Your commitment to creative skills development that is place-based and rooted in specific subsectors of the creative industries is critical for our future.  Not just for the creative sector either, but for the whole economy - an economy that is fuelled by our design, our creative software and our advertising and marketing.

"The creative industries are a UK success story and represent a powerful cultural as well as economic asset. Just witness the impact of ITV drama 'Mr Bates versus the Post Office' as a topical example. Our sector contributed £126bn to the economy in 2022 – 6% of national output – growing from £108bn the year before, accounting for 2.4 million jobs and growing faster than the economy in general. We are now designated one of the Government’s five priority sectors for growth.

"We know too much of Britain’s economic activity happens in the South East but the creative industries are showing how you can support local growth across the country. There are 55 creative clusters and more than 700 micro-clusters from Shetland to Penzance covering all major subsectors. Creative clusters also make places more attractive to live and work and this double whammy of cultural and economic value is something we as a sector are increasingly recognised for.

"Skills are the most important challenge facing us today, and a major part of the Government’s Creative Industries Sector Vision.

I"t’s not surprising that a sector which drives digital disruption and innovation should have skills shortages. Technology is changing rapidly and with AI that change is even faster. So as the sector grows, so do skills gaps.

"We know that creating opportunities for good work is a priority for local government too. In research the Creative Industries Council commissioned, 75% of Local Authorities said that increasing access to training and skills for young people is a priority for the creative industries in their locality. Policy programmes now coming on stream, bootcamps and Local Skills Improvement Plans all put a renewed focus on joined-up local skills provision.

"It’s a big opportunity, and as I mentioned earlier, what we do matters not just for our sector but for the economy as a whole. A recent survey from Kingston University found that 52% of business leaders across different industries now say creativity is a critical skill for the future. We cannot maintain our dynamic growth without training the next generation of talent.

"If we are the beating heart of our culture as we claim, then it is critical that we enable people from all background and communities to get in and get on. Only then can we truly claim to nurture the national conversation.

"We hope the discussion during and after this session will empower policymakers and our sector to develop joined-up talent pathways, both locally and nationally."