More young people from diverse backgrounds will be given the opportunity to work in creative industries, thanks to a new scheme developed by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).
Creative Workforce for the Future will support small to medium-sized companies to develop a more inclusive workforce in the region’s cultural and creative industries by offering more opportunities to young people from diverse backgrounds.
It will draw on the wealth of talent available from currently under-represented groups; in particular people from black, Asian and minority ethnic or disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. In Bristol, 11% of the city’s working age population are from ethnic minorities – a position not reflected within the film and TV sector.
West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles said: “Our world-renowned creative and cultural sector is a crucial part of the West of England’s economy. Creative industries have been one of the fastest growing sectors across the UK for the past decade, and this is reflected in the West of England, with 27% growth in digital and creative employment between 2015 and 2017.
“I want to ensure that everyone, regardless of background or personal circumstances, has an opportunity to have a career in the creative industries. Bristol is one of the BBC’s three key sites, along with London and Manchester and the BBC Natural History Unit is a core part of the region’s production activity. It will also shortly be home to a Channel 4 Creative Hub. These businesses need skilled employees now, and this demand is expected to increase.”
The scheme will connect creative businesses with young people, bridging the gap from education to work. Young people will receive 12 months of paid internship to develop their experience, CV, portfolio and contacts. The tailored support will continue for an additional 12 months to help them develop further experience through employment, contract and / or freelance work.
Similar to the West of England Combined Authority’s successful Women Into Digital Jobs, Education and Training scheme (WIDJET), the Creative Workforce for the Future programme will work with the world-class cluster of creative small and medium-sized businesses – which is concentrated in Bristol and Bath – and reach out to talent across the region.
Creative Workforce for the Future will be delivered by WECA’s partners in the Network for Creative Enterprise, led by the University of the West of England and Watershed, with hubs at The Guild Bath, Knowle West Media Centre, Spike Island and Watershed Pervasive Media Studio.
They will work with business networks in the region including Bristol Media, the Royal Television Society, Creative Bath, TechSpark, Bristol Games Hub, the West of England Design Forum and Engine Shed.
Lynn Barlow, Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Creative and Cultural Industries Engagement at UWE Bristol, said: “As a university we have a key role to play in bridging the attainment gap of all young people in the region. It is vitally important the make up of the regional film and TV sector reflects the diversity seen in Bristol’s communities and we’re proud to be leading the Creative Workforce for the Future initiative with WECA. This crucial work to widen access to employment in the creative industries runs alongside our sector-leading work to widen participation in higher education.
“We aim to produce graduates who are ready and able to work and we recognise how valuable internships and placements can be. The internships available through this programme offer a fantastic opportunity for young people to launch their careers in the creative industries, and we’ll be encouraging eligible students at UWE Bristol to apply for them.”
Creative Workforce for the Future is identified in the West of England Employment and Skills Plan, developed by WECA in partnership with businesses and skills providers, in line with the region’s Local Industrial Strategy.