Workforce development receives boost from skills initiatives
Workforce development across the performing arts technical sector has received a boost with news that Creative and Cultural Skills (CCS) the Sector Skills Council for the arts has joined forces with Skillscene, in a move to establish quality control standards in training across the creative industries. The relationship means that Skillscene will become the expert body advising CCS on industry-based technical standards and the reform of qualifications for the sector. The partnership will also aid the development of the proposed National Skills Academy for offstage and technical skills in live music. In support of these objectives, Skillscene has developed a suite of National Occupational Standards for technical theatre, which form the basis for new and more relevant qualifications and vocational training courses. Anamaria Wills, Chair of Skillscene, said, "The partnership with CCS means that technical staff can have their extensive skills formally validated and developed within a context of agreed performance standards identified and implemented by employers and staff."
In related developments, CCSs prototype Creative Apprenticeship scheme has drawn to a close, with 32 extended work experience places being offered by employers such as EMI Group and Sage Gateshead. The six-month scheme was devised to pave the way for the introduction of the full Creative Apprenticeship in 2008. The full programme will allow candidates to choose from pathways including Music Business, Live Events and Promotion, Cultural Venue Operation, Technical Theatre and Creative Business Finance. CCS is working to ensure that this qualification will be relevant to the needs of both individuals and employers, addressing specific skills shortages and enabling employers to recruit from a wider talent pool. Tom Bewick, Chief Executive of CCS, said, "We hope that from next year onwards, up to 1,000 Creative Apprentices will get the chance to start their careers this way and benefit from a purpose-built two-year programme of work-based learning."
CCS has also submitted to the Government its business plan for a National Skills Academy (NSA) for offstage and technical skills in live music and theatre. The £13m NSA project, which includes proposals for a centre of excellence in the Thames Gateway area, aims to create an industry-led training network to address demand for a projected 30,000 new skilled workers over the next ten years. Co-chair Tony Hall said of the CCS business plan, "This has been framed to benefit our industries in their entirety. The shortage of skilled staff threatens to limit our ability to reap the commercial and creative rewards of our success and play a central role in a world-class creative economy."