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Loss of core Arts Council England funding a significant factor in the decision to close organisation established 18 years ago.

A young woman working behind the scenes in a theatre adjusting a light

CCSkills/Campbell Rowley

The sector skills council for the UK's creative and cultural industries is to wind down, blaming a lack of funding for the decision.

Established by the then Labour government in 2005, Creative and Cultural Skills (CCSkills) was one of 25 sector skills councils tasked with reducing skills gaps and shortages, boosting sector skills and promoting career routes such as apprenticeships and higher education.

Initially financed by central government, it went on to become a Sector Support Organisation within Arts Council England's National Portfolio and received £480,000 a year for the 2018-23 period.


But last November it was cut from the portfolio which meant it would not receive core funding for the 2023-26 period.

Speaking to Arts Professional, Donald Hyslop, Chair of Trustees at CCSkills, said the activity of the organisation will cease by the end of the month, with formal closure likely to happen early next year.

"After we didn't get our NPO funding, we still had enough resources to try and see if we could position ourselves alternatively, in a new model and look for new ways of doing things," Hyslop said.

"So we gave ourselves some time to do that and were encouraged by ACE to look at some options, but through the course of [this] year those opportunities have fallen through.

"We haven't been able to secure funds. So the board has taken a view in the light of that to close down."

CCSkills was one of around 130 organisations previously funded through the portfolio that missed out on funding when ACE's decisions for the 2023-26 National Portfolio were announced a year ago.

For the 2018-22 period it received £478,900 a year - 77% up on the £270,000 a year it received as part of the 2015-18 portfolio.

Major funding loss

Hyslop said the loss of ACE funding was a significant factor in the decision to close.

"When you have something so central in the cultural world as the National Portfolio, to lose that funding has a major impact. 

"In some sectors there's a thriving private industry that can maybe come to the need of an organisation. But in the area that we work in around arts and culture the landscape for a significant amount of time has been cuts and and working with limited budgets. 

"So the alternative [funding] landscape is, is not incredibly fertile at the moment."

The planned closure of CCSkills comes just months after the government unveiled its creative industries sector vision - a plan to boost the economic value of the creative industries by £5bn over the next seven years and create one million new jobs.

The government said the vision is designed to to achieve three goals in the areas of growth, workforce, and wider impact - and was backed with £77m of funding on the day of the announcement.


Hyslop said he "recognised the contradiction" in CCSkills closure coming on the back of details of the plan.

"It is a little bit bewildering because we know we've done good work, and other people in [the sector] have done good work.

"We know from our work with our stakeholders, and it's apparent in general society, that the need for skills and apprenticeship and training in the culture and creative industries is absolutely still there. 

"It is there more than ever. So many of our young people want to pursue a future in that. And it's very difficult for them to do it."

The news of the planned closure comes as the number of organisations that have closed or announced plans to close having failed to secure funding in ACE's National Portfolio for 2023-26 has reached double figures.

At least six former NPOs have either closed or have signalled their intention to close after missing out on investment. One announced plans to close, but is now continuing to operate in skeleton form ahead of a proposed move to a new venue in three years' time. 

Meanwhile, a further three organisations that were not part of the National Portfolio but unsuccessfully applied are also shutting down.

Developing 'talent pipelines'

An Arts Council England spokesperson said the organisation wanted to extend its gratitude for the work CCSkills has done to further the skills agenda, and develop pathways for young people into the creative sector. 

"We understand this is a difficult time for many organisations in our sector, and we are continuing our dialogue with CCSkills, as they begin the process of winding up operations," the spokesperson added.

“Arts Council England remains committed to developing talent pipelines in the creative and cultural workforce and are currently monitoring the changing way skills initiatives are being delivered across the country. 

"70% of our National Portfolio organisations have committed to giving more opportunities to people wanting to start a professional career in the creative industries as well as those who are sustaining their careers. 

"We work in partnership with local places to address the specific needs of their own cultural workforce and we take part in national policy conversations through our role in sector bodies such as the Creative Industries Council. 

"We also invest in programmes such as [National Lottery] Place Partnership Funds grants, which has skills development components, as well as Discover! Creative Careers to help bring young people into the sector."