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The Government has announced support for "5,000 Creative Apprentices by 2013". Apprenticeships are a key initiative in the Government's Creative Economy Strategy, released last week. Creative & Cultural Skills is leading the development of the Creative Apprenticeship and will be hosting an industry lunch this Friday at the National Theatre as part of 'Apprenticeship Week' (25 - 29 February).

Apprenticeships are new to these industries, but provide the perfect solution to recruitment issues. "The Creative Industries are practical industries. They are very much about practical skills, learnt on-the-job and not in the classroom," states Sharon Durant of Sage Gateshead. 56% of businesses in the sector agree, saying that applicants are lack the right skills or experience. This is despite the fact that there are 160,000 more people studying on creative and cultural courses than there are actually working in the sector. (Creative Blueprint, 2008)

The Creative Apprenticeship is a new entry route into the creative & cultural industries. Instead of unpaid work experience, apprentices get practical on-the-job training that has been developed with leading employers like Universal Music Group, EMI, the National Trust and English Heritage.

According to Will Hutton of the Work Foundation, "in order for the creative and cultural sector to continue to grow and thrive, employers need to move beyond the 'work experience model' and take responsibility for identifying and developing the skills they need."

Launching in September 2008, the second phase of pilot apprenticeships is currently up and running in the following areas:

• Live Events and Promotion
• Music Business (Recording Industry)
• Technical Theatre (Rigging, Lighting & Sound)
• Costume and Wardrobe
• Cultural and Heritage Venue Operations (Front of House or equivalent)
• Community Arts and Education

Creative & Cultural Skills is inviting employers who would like to take on an apprentice - or find out more about Creative Apprenticeships - to attend an industry lunch at the National Theatre, London, on Friday 29 February, 12.30 - 15.30. Employers interested in attending should contact engagement@ccskills.org.uk

Tom Bewick Creative & Cultural Skills chief executive says:

"These apprenticeships will be crucial for meeting skills needs, unleashing real talent into our industries, and crucially diversifying our workforce. We strongly support the Government's renewed commitment to apprenticeships. All this effort is working towards making our industries and the UK the creative hub of the world."

Leading employers involved in the Creative Apprenticeship agree:

"Theatre needs to reflect the full diversity of our audience if it is to survive and apprenticeships can be a very effective way of broadening the workforce. Employers also have the opportunity to influence their training significantly, ensuring it is focused, up-to-date and fit for purpose." Hilary Strong, Executive Director, Greenwich Theatre

"It's simple. To look after the heritage of this country we need people with the right specialist skills. Apprenticeships are key to developing and maintaining these needs. We need new apprenticeships, and we need them now." Paul Boniface, Director of HR and Legal Services, National Trust

"Taking the young talent of this nation and turning it into what we know will be the economic engine of the future is the most important obligation we've got." Roy Clare CBE, Chief Executive Museums, Libraries & Archives Council (MLA)

Case Study: Zahra Williams

27 year old Zahra Williams has always wanted to work in the music industry. She did a 3 year degree in music industry management, taking out a full loan. Despite this, she found getting a job tough. She did some volunteering at mystreetlife fm, a community radio station for Waltham Forest. They happened to be in the same building as Eastside Records who signed up to the Creative Apprenticeship prototype. Zahra got the job and was put into the music publishing department. She learnt key skills relevant to the job as well as how to invoice correctly and market herself in a competitive industry. Eastside were so impressed they extended her placement in October 2007 to run until February 2008. Speaking of her experience on the Creative Apprenticeship programme, Zahra said:

'I have learnt so much more from my apprenticeship at Eastside records than from my university degree in music business management.'

Further case studies, images and quotes from employers are available upon request.

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Please contact faye.heran@ccskills.org.uk for more information

Notes to editors:

1. Creative & Cultural Skills is the sector skills council for the creative and cultural industries. Its remit covers the areas of: Advertising, Crafts, Cultural Heritage, Design, Music, and Performing, Literary and Visual Arts. Our website address is www.ccskills.org.uk.

2. Licensed by government in July 2005, Creative & Cultural Skills is one of a network of 25 sector skills councils, known collectively as the Skills for Business Network, to oversee the strategic development of the workforce in our industries and deliver realistic solutions to skills needs.

3. Creative & Cultural Skills’ remit is UK-wide. Wales is represented by Judith Isherwood, Chief Executive of the Wales Millennium Centre.

4. Our priorities and programme of work are outlined in our Strategic Plan 2005-2010. This document can be downloaded from our website: http://www.ccskills.org.uk/publications/index.asp




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