The new fund will offer greater access to training and skills development, address barriers to entry and progression, and re-balance representation and diversity in the Creative Industries.
Up to 900 bursaries will be granted under an ambitious new programme to support and grow creative skills, funded by the Employer Ownership of Skills Pilot (EOP2) which combines industry investment with co-invested funds from government. The programme is one strand of a renewed commitment to diversity programmes across the Creative Industries, including diversity-focused internship and training programmes delivered by partner organisations to widen access for new entrants and provide development for the existing workforce. A leadership scheme for LGBT creative professionals will be developed later in the year in partnership with InterMedia, the LGBT network group for people working in the media.
One example of the way direct support for people with disabilities makes a difference comes from Bryony Tofton, currently undertaking a Creative Skillset Trainee Finder placement as a costume designer on ‘Poldark’, produced by Mammoth Screen Ltd. Profoundly deaf, Bryony is gaining real paid work experience, training and skills to pursue the career that she is determined to succeed in. Bryony says:“When I was growing up I really loved films, and being deaf I was attracted to the costumes which helped me understand the mood of the film. The most important skill I have learnt so far is sewing, both by hand and by machine. I have also learnt about different fabric types and how they perform both on the stage and screen and attention to detail for continuity purposes. I would definitely recommend Trainee Finder as it is a real opportunity to learn the necessary skills with experienced people, as well as building a network for future career opportunities.”
The clear impact of supporting access and progression for diverse individuals can be demonstrated by specific training programmes such as Sound Women’s mentoring scheme and workshops, 104 Films’ ‘Digital Revolutionaries 2013’ and Channel 4’s ‘The Next Move’. Such examples have led Creative Skillset to set up this new and dedicated diversity fund, aiming to reach more people and empower them to make direct choices about their career and skills development.
Tackling statistics that show representation of 5.4% employment for people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, and less than 1% employment of people with disabilities, as well as continuing imbalances in gender representation across different creative sectors, the Diversity Fund (England) will directly support people from under-represented groups to take the next step in their careers by funding up to 80% of the cost of training and professional development.
Individual grants will be available to people with one year of professional experience who belong to at least one of the specified under-represented groups: women, disabled and Black Asian and non-white Minority Ethnic (BAME). Funding is available for training – primarily short courses and bespoke training solutions – for people working in games, fashion and textiles, advertising and marketing communications, publishing, VFX, radio,animation, interactive media, facilities, photo imaging, TV and film.
MT Rainey, Founder Horsesmouth.co.uk and Vice Chair Creative Skillset said:
“Difference is the very essence of creativity; different voices, different experiences, different perspectives coming together in unique new ways. Creativity thrives on diversity. Also, we live in a proudly diverse society and the creative industries can only benefit from better reflecting that diversity in our workforce. The Diversity Fund (England) will give practical support to individuals for quality training and professional development, and will help us ensure that both access and progress in our industry is open to all.”
Gary Townsend, Executive Director Operations, Creative Skillset, said:
“Diversity is, and always has been, at the heart of our own business practice, and all of Creative Skillset programmes. We are absolutely committed to breaking down barriers to enable talented people, wherever they are from and whatever their background or circumstances, to progress in their chosen field. Through this new targeted investment for individuals, we can now open doors to more people than ever before to help grow and support creative skills, talent and businesses.”
Jo Welch, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, Creative Skillset said:
“Creative Skillset recognises that up-skilling individuals who are under-represented is just one element of the challenge that faces the creative industries in diversifying their workforces. As efforts are made to make workplace and recruitment practices more inclusive, we hope this fund will enable individuals to take up new opportunities that may arise for them, and to sustain their skills at a high enough level to take the next steps in their careers. More diversity at senior levels and in creative roles is an ambition we hope to help to achieve.”
The fund announcement is an open call, with the first tranche of applications open online until February 2015. Applicants are encouraged to contact Creative Skillset for advice and assistance in making an application, with large print and braille application materials also available.
For press information contact Annabel Grundy: 020 7713 9800 / Annabelg@creativeskillset.org
Diversity Fund (England) – eligibility notes & specific information
Up to £1,200 is available per individual applicant, increasing to £1,600 for people with disabilities. Creative Skillset will cover up to 80% of the total cost of training and associated travel and childcare costs. In order to be eligible for support, applicants must be able to prove that they live in England, have a minimum of one year’s work experience in their field and come from one or more of the identified groups that the scheme is targeting.
Creative Skillset empowers the Creative Industries to develop skills and talent; it does this by influencing and shaping policy, ensuring quality and by securing the vital investment for individuals to become the best in their field and for businesses to grow. As the industry skills body for the Creative Industries, we work across film, television, radio, animation, visual effects, games, fashion, textiles, advertising, marketing communications and publishing.