18_05_2015_skillset_cymru_derbyniad_sgiliau_0103_cr_banner© Creative Skillset Cymru

Digital skills generate more than £9m boost for Welsh economy

A project led by Creative Skillset Cymru to boost the creative industries in West Wales, North West Wales and the South Wales Valleys has helped to generate over £9m for the economy.

Creative Skillset Cymru’s Skills for the Digital Economy programme has invested over £2.35m in high-level training schemes since its launch in 2011. With support from the European Social Fund via the Welsh Government, S4C and the trade association Teledwyr Annibynnol Cymru, training delivered by the programme has made a significant contribution to the companies concerned and is projected to contribute towards an economic impact of £9.3m by 2020.

The project aims to address direct industry skills needs by facilitating training schemes and mentoring to improve competitiveness within the creative industries in Wales. From producing and directing, business and finance to app creation, the Skills for the Digital Economy programme has trained more than 975 employees and freelancers over the past four years.

Julie James, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, and BBC Cymru Wales Director and Chair of Creative Skillset Cymru Rhodri Talfan Davies attended a reception in Carmarthen last month with industry leads, training providers and project beneficiaries to highlight the importance of investing in skills to secure economic growth in some of the most impoverished parts of Wales.

Investing in skills within the creative industries is crucial for continued economic growth in Wales.” Julie James AM, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology

“Over the past four years, Creative Skillset Cymru has worked closely with Welsh businesses to deliver a number of high-level training schemes to help the sector flourish", said Julie James AM. “As the Skills for the Digital Economy programme draws to a close, the real success story is the 975 people across Wales who have benefited from the programme and who have contributed almost half a million of their own money into this training, which goes to show how much they valued it.

The Deputy Minister added: ”This programme has provided a real opportunity to gain valuable insight into what has worked effectively and could be used across Wales.  As we continue to support apprenticeships and the creative skills sector, I look forward to working with Creative Skillset Cymru in sharing that insight.” 

Gwawr Thomas, Director of Creative Skillset Cymru, added that it was vital to continue supporting the development of the creative industries and driving the skills agenda in Wales: “Building on the success of the Skills for the Digital Economy programme, our aim is to continue to work with the Welsh Government and the sector in Wales to secure further support to help invest in the future of the creative industries here.”

Based in Pembrokeshire, independent television company Barefoot Rascals has achieved significant international success as a result of the Skills for the Digital Economy programme.

I can honestly now say that Barefoot Rascals’ productions, which were originally made just for an audience here in Wales, have now been seen on every continent." Gordon Main, Co-founder of Barefoot Rascals

“We attended a course run by Creative Skillset Cymru and it completely transformed how we see ourselves,” explained Gordon Main, Co-founder of Barefoot Rascals. “As a direct result, we attended markets and managed to place our entire back catalogue with three international distributors – based in Australia, London, LA and Germany – and the advances that we were given amounted to nearly £50,000. That is for work we have already done.

Video of Gordon Main from Barefoot Rascals discussing the Skills for the Digital Economy programme

Elsewhere Cwmni Da, a Caernarfon-based independent television company, has achieved international success as a result of the programme.

“The Skills for the Digital Economy has opened doors which has led to a special relationship with distribution company Nordic World,” said Neville Hughes, Creative Director of Cwmni Da. “They are the main distributors of Cwmni Da now and have been able to sell programmes such as Fferm Ffactor to China on our behalf.”

“The type of experiences we got on the course have probably fed into the way we think as a company," Neville continued.

Video of Neville Hughes from Cwmni Da discussing the Skills for the Digital Economy programme

Mali Parry Jones, Senior Producer at Cwmni Da who attended a five-day Pre Editor Course through Skills for the Digital Economy was in no doubt: “I won a commission worth over £120,000 for Cwmni Da to produce the series ‘Bad Achub Pothdinllaen’, which was brilliant and a result of what I learned on the course.”

Video of Mali Parry Jones discussing the Skills for the Digital Economy programme

For more information, please contact Rhidian Dafydd, Project Manager – Skills for the Digital Economy on 029 2045 9156 or email rhidiand@creativeskillset.org.