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Online consultation with the interactive media industry

Skillset have launched the largest online consultation with the interactive media industry ever staged. Over the next two months people working in the sector are being asked to contribute to an interactive media skills strategy which aims to tackle skills shortages and gaps threatening the competitiveness of the sector.

The draft version of the strategy, written in conjunction with the industry led Interactive Media Skills Group convened by Skillset and the Department of Trade and Industry, can be viewed at http://www.skillset.org/interactive The feedback and comments collated during the online consultation will be incorporated into a revised strategy to be presented to government agencies for their input in September 2004.

"Interactive media is one of the fastest growing sectors of the UK economy and this online consultation is an opportunity to help strengthen the sustainability of that growth", said Skillset's Interactive Media Consultant, Jonathon Hirsh, of Hirshworks. "The sector depends on high end skills but is made up of small businesses trying to keep up with the speed at which technology advances, creating a reliance on multi-taskers with a combination of skills learnt as they go. The changing technology also outpaces the education and training system's ability to up date curriculums which causes problems in the supply of suitable new entrants. Now we have a chance to pin down problems like these facing the sector and come up with solutions that will make a real difference."

Kate O'Connor, Executive Director of Policy and Development at Skillset, said: "The draft version of this strategy was brought together by industry practitioners but now we want the wider industry to have their say. We want as many employers, employees and freelancers as possible to tell us what their needs are, what barriers there are to acquiring skills and the ideas they have on overcoming them. This information will shape the strategy we produce and help us get support from government agencies to implement changes. It will ensure the industry's voice is heard."

The draft version of the interactive media skills strategy sets out an overall picture of the skills development within the sector highlighting:

  • the need for ICT to be expanded beyond just 'office' software and be taught in context throughout the curriculum
    the need to promote combined creative and technical thinking
  • the need for the school curriculum to provide a better grounding in general business, work and life skills, so that HE, FE and workplace learning can be used more effectively to teach specialist industry skills
  • the need to better allocate training/business support funding, in particular to support sustainability rather than, for example, software-specific courses
  • the need for industry to get more involved in education
  • the need to attract better management skills into industry and take a more formal approach to developing them within the workforce

The final version of the interactive media skills strategy will form part of a wider Sector Skills Agreement (SSA) for the audio visual industries. Skillset is one of four Sector Skills Councils chosen by Government to pilot SSAs, UK wide agreements between employers and education and training providers, and will broker agreements with the interactive media, film and television sectors.

Skillset is the Sector Skills Council for the Audio Visual Industries. Audio visual industries in this context means, Broadcast, Film, Video, Interactive Media and Photo Imaging. Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) are independent, UK wide organisations developed by groups of influential employers in industry or business sectors of economic or strategic significance. SSCs are employer-led and actively involve trade unions, professional bodies and other stakeholders in the sector.

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