Welcome to the Creative Industries Federation

,  24 November 2014

I’m pleased to welcome tonight’s launch of the Creative Industries Federation, led by John Kampfner as Director.

The coming together of some of the sector’s most influential and engaged leaders to provide a strengthened voice is hugely positive.

This new body has been set up with support from Arts Council England and some 200 plus founding members to unify and champion the UK’s creative sector. This is welcome and is the most recent example of the sector taking on a more high profile, professional and ‘connected’ role in public life. 

At Creative & Cultural Skills we’ve worked with many of the founding members of this new organisation over a number of years. We recognise the challenge for those outside our world to deal with a myriad of small creative businesses across the commercial, not-for-profit and public sector – what the Creative Industries Federation’s chair, Sir John Sorrell, has characterised as the ‘If I want to talk to the UK creative industries who do I ring?’ issue.

We hope this new organisation will be on every decision-maker’s speed dial. The coming together of some of the sector’s most influential and engaged leaders to provide a strengthened voice is hugely positive.

Sustainable growth in the creative industries

We are currently facing extreme economic challenges. Public sector cuts, particularly those that impact on young people engaging with the arts and design in schools, or accessing high quality education and training in Further and Higher education, matter across the whole creative industries sector. Creative businesses can no longer afford to keep their heads down and not engage with the wider world of general UK economic and enterprise policy.

For example, since 2008 Creative & Cultural Skills has campaigned to grow apprenticeships in the creative sector. This has been an incredibly tough job and initially creative businesses assumed that vocational training, apprenticeships and non-graduate career routes had nothing to do with them. Worse - some businesses in our sector openly championed unpaid labour as a legitimate entry route for graduates.

To date we have seen over 3,500 young people undertaking opportunities which otherwise would not have existed – growth in other words and new funding from the education sector to support the creative businesses. This includes over 953 apprenticeships and 1,164 paid internship opportunities since March 2013 as part of the Creative Employment Programme funded through Arts Council Lottery.

This is one example our sector working with mainstream government policy beyond the arts  – in this instance with the Department of Business, Innovation and skills. I hope that the Creative Industries Federation will be initiating more of this type of initiative going forward. 

The creative industries have boomed over the last few years.

The Creative Employment Programme is helping to kick-start a shift away from entrenched recruitment practices like unpaid internships, and towards a responsible and sustainable model for bringing new talent, which in turn will enable the creative industries to grow and thrive in the long term.

The creative industries have boomed over the last few years, but they are still not fully recognised as part of the nation’s growth agenda. I’m confident that the Creative Industries Federation will prove to be an influential force which will help safeguard the status of the sector as a world leader in the long term.  


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