The new College is one of seven employer-led, Government-backed initiatives aiming to plug skills gaps in sectors considered critical to economic growth.

Photo of young people operating lighting

A National College for the Creative and Cultural Industries is to be established to provide specialist training in the technical skills needed by the creative and cultural sectors. The Government-backed College will be managed by Creative & Cultural Skills on behalf of a consortium of employers and industry organisations including Live Nation, the Royal Opera House, White Light and the Association of British Theatre Technicians. Due to open in September 2016, it will be based at High House Production Park in Thurrock, at the heart of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership area. The 14-acre site, where sets and scenery are made for the Royal Opera House, is also home to Creative & Cultural Skills’ Backstage Centre and Acme Studios’ High House Artists’ Studios.

The College will provide opportunities for students to train alongside the professionals who use The Backstage Centre to rehearse, record and film. It will specialise in the delivery of Creative Apprenticeships and work with a network of training providers to deliver programmes across the UK. Alex Beard, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House and Chair of High House Production Park, said: “To have such a concentration of professional craftspeople and training facilities for both students and professionals in backstage and technical skills in one place is unprecedented and will help enormously in equipping people with the right skills for jobs in the creative industries. It adds to what the Park can offer to Thurrock’s young people but will also be a national resource for young people from across the country.” Councillor John Kent, Leader of Thurrock Council welcomed the enhanced role for The Backstage Centre, saying it would “put Thurrock on the map as the place to come to train for a technical job in the creative and cultural industries”.

The new College is one of a number of skills-focused National Colleges being established across the country in various sectors, including advanced manufacturing, digital skills, nuclear, high speed rail, onshore oil and gas, and wind energy. They are being established by employer-led partnerships with Government support, to provide specialist higher level vocational training in sectors considered critical to economic growth, where there are recognised skills gaps.

Liz Hill