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Creative Economy

VIEW: Our people and our future

February 22, 2021
Published on:
October 27, 2019
January 5, 2021

Our People and our Future

The following speech was given by Dinah Caine, Chair of Council, Goldsmiths University of London, and CIC member, at the 2019 Autumn Reception for the Creative Industries Council, at the House of Commons on 22nd October, 2019.

Dinah Caine (main)

We stand here today gathered in the House of Commons at a truly historic moment when this country’s future and the manner in which that is managed are being vigorously debated. And the outcome of that debate is still uncertain.

But what is certain, whatever those arrangements turn out to be, is that all involved are passionate about that future being a success for our economy and for all our people across the whole of the UK.

And that is why today’s annual reception for the Creative Industries has never been more important.

Let me turn to some press coverage. On the 11th October, the Times reported on the release of official economic figures that

“fears that Britain could fall into recession have subsided after the economy grew by more than expected in the three months to August chiefly thanks to a boom in film and TV.

Hoorah! …And then the editorial went on to say that

The unlikely hero saving the day is a concept familiar to the British Screen Industries" but “this time the rag tag team coming to the rescue is the industry itself.

It then asked if this trend would continue.

On that same day, there was headline coverage across all the papers of a letter to Government regarding concerns over BREXIT written by what was described as “Five key sectors of the economy” – namely, Aero, Auto, Chemicals, Food and Drink, and Pharma.  The coverage emphasised that between them these five industries employed 1.1 million people and contributed £98bn a year to the UK economy each year, with the implication that therefore the views of those industries should be taken very seriously indeed.

Hmmm, the UK creative industries employ double that number of people with another million people employed in creative roles in other parts of the economy and our GVA is greater than that of those five key sectors combined. The creative industries … a rag tag? I don’t think so, but we need to work harder with all of you and others to communicate and achieve recognition for the powerhouse the creative industries are and the opportunities they present.

And that is why growing and investing in the talent pipeline for these industries is so central to our work.

That growth must provide diverse, fair, inclusive access and opportunities to all and be integrated into building and growing Creative Clusters all around the UK.

But if you were to ask parents, schoolteachers, students and politicians across the UK whether they were aware of the realities of the creative industries, you would be likely to find low awareness.

That is why, with investment from industries and Government, we have prioritised working hard in this first stage of the Sector Deal on co-ordinating and providing careers advice and guidance to help people understand those opportunities.

We have come together to co-ordinate and build on all the good work that already was taking place in subsectors through one connected Creative Careers Programme which is being curated and connected by a partnership of organisations – in alphabetical order, Creative and Cultural Skills, the Creative Industries Federation and Screen Skills – all here today and all deserving thanks for their mutual hard work.

Progress has been made on many fronts, of which here are some highlights:

September saw the launch of the new Creative Careers Programme website, https://discovercreative.careers/#/, which has already had thousands of hits.

The week of November 13th sees the first ever Discover! Creative Careers Week, where over 500 employers are going to be opening their doors right across the country to school and college students to help them understand and bust myths about working in these industries.

Participants include to name but a few: BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Pinewood Studios, Northern Ballet, Channel 4, the Financial Times, The National Archives, xsite Architecture, Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester, Burberry, Hachette Publishing.

And next year we are aiming for hundreds more.

Speakers from the creative industries are going into schools.  The first national sectoral partnership has been developed and gone live. This involved the Government’s Careers and Enterprise Company working with and through schools all over the country with 500 advisors being trained and supported, 60 of those being recruited are new specialists in these industries.

A movement has started. But it can only become optimal if it goes hand in hand with ensuring that Creative Education is in place to deliver these opportunities to our next generation which is our priority going forward.

Why? Because of the employment opportunities outlined above, but also in terms of health and societal wellbeing. And also and critically because of the 4th industrial revolution and the future of work in the economy as a whole.

As the Times observed in its editorial, these industries are relatively Brexit proof (note, though, our submissions on immigration and visas). And they are also robot proof. Machines might replace train drivers, accountants, surgeons, and even reporters, but they cannot produce the TV series, ‘Patrick Melrose’.

Over 60% of children in primary school today will one day work in roles that currently do not exist.

We may not know what those roles are, but we do know thanks to NESTA and other research bodies that in the future, there will be golden triangle of combining creativity/innovation and resilience/ Digital and other STEM skills.

And entrepreneurship will be key to employment and opportunity as AI and automation grow apace.

Nesta will soon be publishing on behalf of the Creative industries Policy and Evidence Centre, the Creative Digital Skills Revolution.  Through work on 35 million job descriptions, this research absolutely confirms that creativity and digital skills together - CreaTech - are key and that combining then needs to be addressed in terms of education from the playground though to PhD.

That is why the recent publication of the Durham Commission report on Creativity and Education, a partnership between the Arts Council and Durham University, is so very, very important and I commend it to you.

In policy terms, the address to digital education is understood. The address to creative education must also be understood. For all the reasons I have just stated and because

The Commission has discovered that the opportunity to develop creativity and creative thinking is not equal across society, with too many young people at a disadvantage for reasons of geography, or socio-economic or ethnic background. This inequity cannot continue.”

The time to act is now. There are 10 practical recommendations that are workable and achievable if the will and support are there from the industries and other partners and across Government and all parties.

Finally to Post 18 provision – the Augar review recently came out on post 18 provisions.  Investment in its recommendations is still under review.

Many of the recommendations are good but we call into question its assumption and emphasis that the skills needed for developing industrial strategy and our future economy are STEM skills. And we are concerned as to its questioning as to the value of and future levels of investment in creative courses in Further Education and Higher Education. As they say, “More on this, anon.”

We are serious industries working together with serious intent that work with Government in many and various ways and as a whole through the Creative Industries Council. We are highly successful innovators, trail blazers and creators of wealth and opportunity.

We know the importance of Creative Education to both our industries and to the economy as a whole. Listen to us, work with us and together let’s help achieve what we all want to see….

Opportunity, growth and success for our people and for our nation’s future.

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