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Home > News > January 2006 > 12-Jan-2006

Creative & Cultural Skills chief sets out 2006 priorities

Chief executive, Tom Bewick, has outlined Creative & Cultural Skills' major priorities for 2006. Creative & Cultural Skills is the Sector Skills Council for advertising, crafts, cultural heritage, design, music, performing, literary and visual arts.

In his New Year message to industry figures, staff and stakeholders, Tom Bewick said: "This is only our second full year as an industry-led skills council. We have behind us the victories of winning the five-year license and over the past 12 months we've built a whole new organisation from scratch. This has involved hiring some great people to begin to help deliver on the ambitious vision set out in our strategic plan: 'Skills for Creativity'.

"Thanks to the high-level leadership of our Board and the dedication of our staff the scene is now set for a fantastic year ahead. In 2006, I want us to be part of a lot more victories and achieve even greater success. We've listened carefully to what employers and stakeholders have been telling us. There are an unprecedented number of fruitful partnerships agreed and in place. Trade associations and other public bodies are actively signed up to joint work. Over 120 senior employers and artists, across the UK's creative and cultural economy that we represent, will soon be assisting (in addition to the main Board) on skills panels and national groups helping propel our plans even further forward. The purpose of these arrangements of course is to help ensure top quality leadership. They will also make sure that our ambitions are rooted in the skills industry really demands right across the UK.

"Our assessment of what the sector needs is that employers/creative people are not interested in the slightest in the sagas of 'skills world', the whims of qualifications and regulatory bodies, or indeed, the panoply of organisations and initiatives that adorn the scene. The questions they want answers to are incredibly straightforward: how can employers get hold of the widest possible pool of talent? What practical assistance can the skills council offer in terms of helping industry to navigate the complexity of the education and training system? How can we help secure access to training and professional support for the workforce that's flexible and doesn't result in burdensome bureaucracy? How does the sector retain and attract great managers and leaders in future?

"It's our job to help employers, artists and individuals cut through the obfuscation that is so apparent across entire education and training sector. To do this we are putting ambitious plans in place that seek to do just that. Our Board of influential employers are rightly impatient for change and they want to see the sector skills council focussed on achieving tangible results.

"The three flagship projects that will deliver for the taxpayer and for the sectors in which we seek to serve are:

"Creative Apprenticeships - here the challenge is to develop a flexible, industry recognised apprenticeship framework that will secure a high quality alternative supply of skills to all our sub-sectors. As chair of the skills council and apprenticeship task force, Tony Hall CBE and several board members are investing a significant amount of personal commitment in bringing this step-change in approach to fruition. The Work Foundation is continuing to provide important professional support to our work and will report to the task force on their latest findings shortly.

"Management and Leadership support - with the Arts Council England and others we have secured unprecedented access to £12 million of spend over the next 2 years in pursuit of better management training for current and emerging leaders. Our focus will be on supporting middle managers and ensuring a more diverse workforce than at present. We intend to put a business case together for this investment to directly support our initiatives such as creative learning accounts for managers; kite-marking university management courses (perhaps as part of the national skills academy initiative); providing online support, careers advice and materials to current and future leaders through the Knowledge Lab service, and undertaking joint ventures between our sub-sectors including with organisations such as the Clore Duffield Foundation.

"Creative Knowledge Lab - establishing ourselves as the leading authority on skills and workforce development issues is our main goal. Following a competitive tender exercise TBR Economics have been appointed to work across all our sub-sector panels and with DCMS to provide the robust quantitative baseline data that employers will need to make informed decisions about skills investment in future. We also have plans to involve the employers and industry representatives in the most comprehensive qualitative research exercise of artistic and employers' skills needs ever undertaken. In addition, working with UfI/Learndirect we plan to have the basic online and telephone advice service up and running by March.

"Taken together these three initiatives have the potential to really revolutionise the opportunities available to both employers and individuals across our industries. They will help our sectors secure a more diverse workforce in future and crucially, the relationship with further and higher education will be changed forever, with the latter being far more responsive to both industry (employer) and consumer (learner) demands than is the case at present.

"Of course there are many other strategic initiatives and programmes we are working on. But I believe these 3 areas are the things that will really define Creative and Cultural Skills over the next year as an organisation concerned with making a difference."

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