National College: a call out to partners
I'm delighted that we're today announcing our call for the first twenty students to join the National College this September. This is the culmination of an enormous amount of work from employers to get the initiative off the ground, designing an appropriate educational response to the skills needs the industry is facing, and making a successful case to Government.
It is extraordinary and of strategic importance that the creative industries have been recognised alongside digital, nuclear, high speed rail and onshore oil and gas as priority industries to the economy which need a specialist national approach to skills development. It was mentioned as a footnote in the Autumn Statement but ignored by all those who did their analysis of the impact on culture that the Chancellor's speech made.
Yet this marks a significant shift in skills development for the sector. Through the National College, employers now have the opportunity to both design new qualifications and curriculum, and see them delivered as well. It will become a national provider of Apprenticeships for the creative sector - one which will work in partnership in local providers but also seek to fill gaps for employers who don't have easy access to apprenticeship training in their area. It will support the sector’s transition to new Apprenticeship Standards in response to the latest Government reforms, and enable employers to make the most of their levy payments if they are making them.
But most importantly, it will give life changing skills and job opportunities to young people across the country. Starting in Thurrock in September, at High House Production Park, and moving out to other areas in future years where employer demand can be demonstrated, the National College will deliver courses which have been designed directly by employers to train up future recruits in areas of targeted need.
A new Diploma in Technical and Production
The new Level 4 Professional Diploma in Technical and Production will be the first course on offer to students in September. It has been put together to bring new technicians in to the industry by representatives from White Light, Stage Technologies, Stage Electrics, Ambassadors Theatre Group, Royal Opera House, Fairfield Halls, National Theatre, and is supported by the Association of British Theatre Technicians and BECTU, the UK’s media and entertainment union.
We are excited to announce that the first term will involve a collaboration with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures and Re:Bourne, as the company will be resident at High House Production Park in the Autumn making a major large-scale new work for UK and international touring. Students will study for one intensive year and the course is accredited by University of the Arts London Awarding Body.
A call out to employers
This is an ambitious venture and we cannot do it by ourselves. Today we are putting an active call out to partners to come forward and help us take this work to a next stage. We would like to work with training provider and college partners from our Skills Academy network around the country to make it all happen. We invite employers to join us on this journey. And we invite young people to train with us from September.