Engaging a nation to shape the creative future of Wales

 14 July 2016

The creative industries is the fastest growing sector in Wales. Employment increased by 58 per cent between 2005 and 2013, and there are an estimated 75,000 people working in the creative economy. As a Leadership College for the National Skills Academy, we’re committed to ensuring that the significant growth in the sector over the last 10 years continues.

At an individual college level, this means utilising information gathered to continually inform and develop our curriculum:

  • Taking into account the economic context in which the industry sits
  • Looking at what regional and national labour market intelligence is telling us
  • Actively engaging with employers to learn about needs and highlight trends
  • Examining the anticipated key drivers for change in the next 10 years
  • Considering areas of potential growth

All of this is to ensure that we offer the most relevant opportunities and training programmes to support the skills needs of the industry and ensure a skilled talent pipeline.

Working with employers

Our work with employers is key to this. Across sectors we have developed Employer Boards, directly engaging with key players from each sector to discuss future skills needs, shape future curriculum, offer meaningful opportunities for learners to gain experience and support progression into the industry.

Our Creative Industries Employer Panel includes membership from the BBC, ITV, BAFTA Cymru, Wales Millennium Centre, St David’s Hall and representatives from the Welsh Government’s Creative Industries team. 

Governments internationally are seeing the promotion of creativity as a key way to promote economic growth, and we are fortunate that the Welsh Government see the creative industries as a priority sector – taking an active interest and investing heavily in projects such as the expansion of Pinewood Studios with a brand new facility in our capital region.

The result of this is a dynamic curriculum that we are confident is developing skilled future talent for the region and supporting existing workforces to grow. Our creative offer includes a broad range of full-time courses starting from level 1/2 through to a raft of specialist Foundation Degrees offered in partnership with expert universities. This structure is supporting individuals at all levels to train for a career in the industry.

Supporting creative apprenticeships

We also offer a range of apprenticeship programmes in areas where there is industry demand, such as 'Live Events'. As one of the country's largest apprenticeship providers we have developed innovative models for apprenticeships that support the creative sector and those training for a role within it.

This includes the Shared Apprenticeship Programme on which learners work in a number of organisations, including the Wales Millennium Centre, to gain the range of experience and skills needed to meet their apprenticeship programme – provision that saw us awarded at the 2016 Creative and Cultural Skills Awards

In September 2016 we launch our ground breaking 'Junior Apprenticeships' programme – a full-time programme for 14-16 year olds in a range of vocational areas, including digital and creative multimedia, both subjects that will engage young learners, harness their skills and enthusiasm, drive up success and start them on a meaningful path of training for their career from the age of 14.

The wider benefits of creativity

Creativity is also not just for the creative industry. As a group of staff we are striving to harness creativity and innovation throughout our teaching, ensuring students are stimulated and challenged. There is also a real focus on employability – ensuring learners leave with not just the qualifications, but wider skills and experience to progress straight into higher level study or a career.

In the creative area specifically this sees learners undertaking live work briefs set by industry and work placements with key industry players, running a wide range of exhibitions shows and participating in national skills and entrepreneurial competitions. From September we are partnering with the Welsh National Opera as part of their Design Challenge and the National Theatre of Wales and Wales Millennium Centre to help deliver City of the Unexpected for Roald Dahl’s centenary celebrations.

Our overall student success and progression rates has increased year on year, with creative courses gaining a 90 per cent success rate – 4 per cent above the national comparator. Progression is also high, with 850 learners progressing to higher education last year across the college and others onto exciting jobs within the industry. 

Driving the agenda nationally

At a national level our role means:

  • Taking a lead in driving the agenda and playing a key role in shaping the future direction of the industry here in Wales
  • Working with Creative & Cultural Skills to influence policymakers in both education and creative industries, driving employer engagement and engaging our colleagues in the FE sector to ensure we are all able to face the key skills challenges together.

We originated the annual Creative Wales Conference, bringing together industry experts, employers, key decision makers and those working in creative education and training across the country. An established and valued event, it provided an insight into Welsh Government priorities and initiatives, promoted discussion and links between educators and employers and provided an opportunity to share good practice and shape the future direction of the industry. Off the back of this series, it was with pleasure that we hosted the National Creative Education Forum in April 2016 for the whole Skills Academy network.

We are proud of our role as Leadership College for the National Skills Academy and our partnership with Creative & Cultural Skills. Together we work hard to take a pivotal role that brings people together, listens, responds creatively, and harnesses creative thinking and teaching – all benefiting individuals, employers and communities across our region and our creative economy throughout Wales.

Cardiff and Vale College is our Leadership College of the Month for July 2016. Find out more about the role of our Leadership Colleges


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