Creative_week_2015-funding_panel_banner© MBI | Creative Week 2015
Posted by Andy Bate Press and PR Manager, Creative Skillset

Industries focus on future of skills at Creative Week

Creative Week at BAFTA earlier this month placed Creative Skillset at the heart of the debate around the future of film, TV and creative media, as the great and the good gathered for a series of seminars and panel events discussing issues and trends across our industries.

Spanning the media, creative and global TV sectors, Creative Week opened with the BBC Director of Television Danny Cohen discussing the current BBC licence fee negotiations and the Corporation’s future. The now established event's stellar cast of speakers continued with Creative Skillset Patron and Chairman of Endemol, Sir Peter Bazalgette talking ‘Industrial Strength Creativity’ and how the new Government can best support our industries.

Meanwhile another former BBC TV Director, Jana Bennett, now President of FYI and LMN, looked at the global TV market whilst BBC3 Controller Damian Kavanagh, Vice Media Head of Video Al Brown and Rob Newlan of Facebook debated video and TV's future online.

Throughout the week, speakers stressed the urgent need to invest in and nurture talent as the way to engender growth and maintain the world-class position of our industries – in sessions covering the cultivation of creativity, digital storytelling, retention of talent, partnership investment and the US TV market (an area of increasing interest to the UK TV industry)..

Investing in success

In a panel debate focussed on Creative Funding, our own CEO, Dinah Caine CBE was joined by Lorraine Heggessey of Channel 4’s Growth Fund, Jim Farmery Director of Business Investment at Creative England and Deborah Sathe, Head of Talent Development at Film London.

The discussion looked at how the Creative Industries can access co-investment, what Creative Skillset’s new creative portal Hiive has to offer, how Trainee Finder can connect companies to talent and what our Creative Media Workforce Survey revealed about access for new entrants.

“We will keep focusing on priority skills and in-demand roles that our industries have identified,” said Dinah, “whether new roles, helping to move an employee up in the company or sending people on management leadership courses.”

Dinah also stressed the need to broaden the diversity of routes into the industries, including through apprenticeships – currently an untapped resource – and how Hiive, which has amassed 23,000 users since its launch in March, is already helping to bring creative talent, industry and educators together.

Speaking of Hiive, Dinah told the audience: “That’s where you should be making your opportunities available – and where individuals can stream their own work from YouTube. If everybody starts to put all the information in one place, it’s going to be much easier to connect with one another.”

Top-tier talent

The panel identified what Dinah called a 'mismatch' between industry perception of available opportunities and the volume of people on media courses, which she said continued to be unfairly thought of as second-tier: “We’ve done a lot of work now in bringing industry and Higher Education together through the Tick, our industry accreditation of 200+ creative courses.”

Dinah quoted our latest workforce survey, stating that "51% of people working in creative media now have a media related degree. That has accelerated by 20-30% in the last period, which is beginning to show those partnerships are working more effectively. What we need to do now is to work harder at how we’re delivering the talent coming through those courses and making it more obvious to employers. Our Trainee Finder service provides the bridge between people coming off Tick courses and potential employers.”

Barriers to training

The debate also touched on further points made in our Creative Media Workforce Survey about barriers to training, the need to support freelancers – who make up such a large proportion especially of the Film workforce – and our absolute commitment to paid internships.

“The findings add to the oeuvre of unedifying reading about class diversity in the Creative Industries,” Caine said. “It found that 48% of the workforce has done actual unpaid work (a full-on job) at some point in their career. Increasingly, it’s only those who can afford to work in these industries who are doing it, which has to impact on the stories that are told, and our ability to reach out to the brightest and best.”

“This needs a systemic approach and a recognition that it’s unacceptable to not pay people to do jobs. We developed a code of conduct with the HMRC but there’s a question of whether it’s being implemented in a joined-up way. It’s understandable – there are lots of SMEs, micro-enterprises and start-ups – but we’ve got to collectively look at addressing this situation or it will impact on our creative excellence and our productivity.”

This baton was taken up by Darren Childs, CEO of UKTV, who spoke about the importance of fostering a healthy, supportive, nurturing working culture to protect from a brain drain from TV to other creative sectors of the media like tech start-ups. Childs made a welcome commitment that UKTV would refuse to work with indies where runners were not paid the minimum wage.

All in all a stimulating and defining week for Creative Skillset that contributes to the collective knowledge and debate across a variety of industry events, from Cannes to Edinburgh, that populate our summer.

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