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Radical education shift needed to avoid talent crisis – CIF report

Creative Industries Federation chief executive John Kampfner. Photo: Austin C Williams Creative Industries Federation chief executive John Kampfner. Photo: Austin C Williams
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The creative industries are facing a “talent crisis” because the education system is failing to equip young people with skills needed in the sector, a new report claims.

Conducted by the Creative Industries Federation, the report also calls for a radical shift in government education policy, warning that its ambitions for British young people cannot be achieved under the current strategy.

It also appeals to the government to drop its plans for 90% of pupils to study the English Baccalaureate, which the CIF said is pushing a message that creative subjects are not a priority.

Called Social Mobility and the Skills Gap – Creative Education Agenda 2016, the CIF report highlights the success of the creative industries to the economy.

But it adds: ”We also have a talent crisis. We are failing to provide enough young people with the right mix of skills for many of the exciting jobs in the creative economy as well as in other sectors, including engineering… Brexit will make the skills shortage even worse – at least in the short term.”

“Education policy, which should be part of the solution, is a major part of the problem. While industry calls for creativity, technical knowledge and design skills, our teaching is driven by the thinking of an academic elite,” it adds.

The report, written by the CIF’s policy and research manager Eliza Easton, says ministers should work with it, and other sector bodies, to fix the skills gap currently present, which could lead to the UK losing its place as a world leader in culture if not remedied.

It sets out four recommendations in order to improve the situation, calling on government to drop its ambition for 90% of pupils to study the EBacc, and proposing that schools teach at least one creative subject in lesson time if they are to be judged “outstanding”.

The report also suggests that the Department for Education conducts a “proper audit of the skills and education needed by the creative industries” and works with the sector to launch a national campaign aimed at demonstrating the range of jobs available in the creative industries.

Announcing the report, CIF chief executive John Kampfner said: “We are failing to produce enough young people with the technical and creative skills that is needed to fill some of the most exciting careers in the fastest growing sector of the economy. That is economic madness.

“Current education policies will not deliver the social mobility the Government wants. To create genuine opportunities for all, we need to make sure we give every young person, and not just those at the best schools, the chance to study subjects that prepare them for those jobs.”

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