UK's creative potential going untapped – report

A national creative apprenticeship scheme should launch to help stimulate youngsters’ creative potential -- which is currently going untapped, a new industry report warns.

Alongside creating a Digital Public Space online, boosting digital R&D and pouring new cultural funds into the regions, the UK apprenticeship would bring together the range of existing skills initiatives, says the Warwick University report.

These four recommendations (among others) should be adopted by the government (and industry) to help achieve what is a “vital national priority” – giving the UK a “coherent approach” to its cultural and creative industries.

The report, the Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Values, adds: “Not enough is being done to stimulate or realise the creative potential of individuals, or to maximise their cultural and economic value to society.

“Improvement requires a greater degree of investment, participation, education and digital access. The workforce in the sector is growing over four times faster than the UK’s workforce as a whole”.

To evidence its claim of ‘not enough being done,’ the report’s authors pointed out that the numbers of teachers have declined in core creative subjects such as The Arts, Drama and Design & Technology.

The number of GCSE entries in these subject reflects the drop. Design and technology entries for example sunk by 50% between 2003 and 2013 and, over the same period, entries for drama fell (23%), as did entries for craft-related subjects (25%).

Although Media and Film have enjoyed growth, a significant number of school pupils were found to not be taking any creative or cultural subject at GCSE.

This may explain why Ofsted regards arrangements for careers guidance in schools as “not currently working well enough,” the commission said.

But the problem persists at higher education level, notably in specialist areas. In fact, ceramics and glass courses over the last five years have abated by 58%, in addition to a 46% reduction in craft-related courses.

And individuals with few qualifications, who come from poor families, emerged in the report as the least likely to work and be successful in the cultural and creative industries.

Vikki Heywood, chair of the Warwick Commission reflected: “The key message from this report is that the government and the cultural and creative industries need to take a united and coherent approach that guarantees equal access for everyone to a rich cultural education and the opportunity to live a creative life.

“There are barriers and inequalities in Britain today that prevent this from being a universal human right. This is bad for business and bad for society.”


1st March 2015

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