Our industries have a real problem with a lack of diversity, particularly in management positions, which is why our pioneering work with the Cultural Leadership Programme has been so important. It's really difficult for many talented individuals to get their first break, which is why we've developed the first ever industry backed, government funded Creative Apprenticeships scheme.
We've got a big job to do with qualifications reform. At any one time, there are over 180,000 courses and over half a million students at colleges and universities. The creative businesses and artists we work with are keen to see an education and skills system that is more relevant to industry needs. That was confirmed by our 2007 Access All Areas tour around the nations and regions. We also surveyed over 2,000 employers for the Creative Blueprint research – our Sector Skills Agreement for the creative and cultural industries. This published research highlights not only where the skills gaps are, but what needs to be done.
We believe that Creative Choices° – a pioneering new online service – will assist the sector to access the skills and support they need. It will address many of these challenges by putting the consumer first and providing clear information on what skills employers want, and how to get them.
Finally, we are working hard to develop the first ever National Skills Academy for the creative and cultural sector focusing initially on backstage technical, promotion and management skills. This state-of-the-art facility in Thurrock with a UK-wide network of employers and training providers has the potential to make Britain the creative hub of the world! There is already major interest in China for involvement in the project, as well as similar proposals being developed in Scotland and Wales.
We really couldn't do what we do without all the many fantastic and so often unsung people who contribute to our work. We're not only a campaigning organisation, led by employers and staffed by experts. Our success depends largely on the quality of the partnerships we form. The creative future is in the hands of our industries. This is where we come in.