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Employer-led Creative and Culture Skills launched

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Creative and Cultural Skills – the new Sector Skills Council for the arts, heritage, advertising and design industries – has been officially launched and licensed by the government, filling the void left since Metier lost its status as the National Training Organisation for the performing arts in 2002.

Employers will be given greater input into the training of their staff under the new organisation, which is led by Tony Hall, chief executive of the Royal Opera House, as its chairman. It will serve as an intermediary between the creative industries and the government, allowing employers in the arts sector to influence and advise on policies affecting training and education in their fields.

The council’s board includes leading figures from the performing arts such as Catie Callender, managing director of UK theatres for Clear Channel Entertainment, and Christine Payne, associate general secretary theatre and variety for Equity.

Speaking to The Stage, Callender explained: “What is significant is that the organisation in employer-led. There have been various bodies in the past that perhaps haven’t worked as well as they could have but the significant thing with CC Skills is that it is the people who will be recruiting who are leading the process and that makes it real.”

“It is also bringing together a really diverse group of individuals – we are certainly one of the most diverse Sector Skills Councils. However, there is a common thread for us all with the issues we face, which is that some of the courses from which people graduate to come into our industry are not always relevant.”

In 2002, the government decided to replace NTOs with the new Sector Skills Councils. Metier, the NTO for performing arts, which at the time was heavily criticised from within the industry, was not granted a licence to convert into an SSC. Instead, it has since developed into an agency promoting equality in the creative industries and relaunched itself as EQ earlier this year.

Payne commented: “In time, I think that it will have a phenomenal impact on the performing arts industry. It understands what it needs to do, it is driven and it is involving employers at a very high level. It is hugely different from Metier – the employers didn’t feel that Metier could become a SCC – it is starting from scratch with a new remit, a new footprint and new vision.”

CC Skills is currently establishing a Skills Advisory Panel for performing arts and an agreement regarding employer expectations is currently being drafted between the Theatrical Management Association, the Society of London Theatre and the Independent Theatre Council.

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