“We must continue to invest in the next generation of talent,” says Business Secretary Vince Cable.
UK - It was announced on Friday that the UK's first government-backed National College for the Creative and Cultural Industries is to be established at The Backstage Centre, High House Production Park, opening in September 2016.

Managed by Creative & Cultural Skills on behalf of a consortium of employers and industry organisations including Live Nation, Royal Opera House, White Light and the Association of British Theatre Technicians, the new National College will provide specialist training in the technical skills needed by the creative and cultural industries. This is in response to significant industry growth, with the creative economy growing at four times the rate of the national economy, and the value of the UK's creative industries exports standing at over £15 billion per year.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "The talent which brings plays, operas, and films to life on screen and stage is the driving force behind our world-leading creative sector. UK creative industries generate £71 billion in revenue each year and support 1.71m jobs. It's not something we're just good at - we are the best in the world. We must continue to invest in the next generation of talent. That is why today I am proud to announce the National College for the Creative and Cultural Industries, which will train the technicians to support our country's next award winning directors, musicians and actors."

The college is part of a new wave of employer-led National Colleges to help the UK develop world-class practical skills, with other colleges focusing on advanced manufacturing, digital skills, nuclear, high speed rail, onshore oil and gas, and wind energy. Up to £80m of capital funding will be matched by employers over 2015-16 and 2016-17 - a potential total investment of £160m by 2017.

Pauline Tambling, CEO, Creative & Cultural Skills, said: "This is a very exciting time for us all. There is an acknowledged shortage of highly qualified technical workers with hands-on industry experience, and there are rapid changes in the technology that technicians use to do their work. To be able to have a National College where we can train people in these often unseen skills, and to provide apprenticeships and industry experience, is absolutely vital."

With headquarters at The Backstage Centre in Thurrock, the National College will provide opportunities for students to train alongside the professionals who use The Backstage Centre to rehearse, record and film. The National College will specialise in the delivery of Creative Apprenticeships working with Creative & Cultural Skills' National Skills Academy network of training providers to deliver across the UK.

Paul Latham, COO, Live Nation, and chairman, Creative & Cultural Skills, said: "The creative industries need highly skilled people and I know that apprenticeships are a key way forward. Live Nation and I have been committed to this cause for a number of years now, and have championed this National College proposition as a means for the sector to get the people we need for the future."

(Jim Evans)

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