News / Creative Industries

New scheme aims to boost diversity in Bristol’s creative industries

By ellie pipe, Tuesday Jan 21, 2020

A new collaboration is aiming to champion diversity and help young people get a foot in the door in Bristol’s creative industries.

The ambition to tackle existing barriers and give opportunities to people currently underrepresented in the sector is one shared by many institutions, and the initiative developed by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) is seeking to harness this collective will to instigate positive change.

Creative Workforce for the Future will be delivered by partners across the city and aims to support small and medium-sized companies to develop and nurture talent and build a more inclusive workforce.

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Reflecting on the growth of employment in digital and creative industries, Tim Bowles, the regional mayor and head of WECA, said: “Our world-renowned creative and cultural sector is a crucial part of the West of England’s economy. I want to ensure that everyone, regardless of background, has an opportunity to have a career in the creative industries.”

The Creative Workforce for the Future programme aims to bridge the gap from education to work by offering tailored support, placements and industry advice.

The initiative will be delivered by WECA’s partners in the Network for Creative Enterprise, an initiative to help freelance artists, creative practitioners, startups, and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) make a sustainable living from their creative ideas. This is led by UWE Bristol and Watershed.

Partners include The Guild Bath, Knowle West Media Centre, Spike Island, Bristol Museums, Creative Youth Network, Bristol Media, the Royal Television Society, Creative Bath, TechSpark, Bristol Games Hub, the West of England Design Forum,  Engine Shed and the Channel 4 Creative Hub.

Lynn Barlow, assistant vice-chancellor for creative and cultural industries engagement at UWE, said: “It is vitally important the make up of the regional film and TV sector reflects the diversity seen in Bristol’s communities and we’re proud to be leading the Creative Workforce for the Future initiative with WECA.

“This crucial work to widen access to employment in the creative industries runs alongside our sector-leading work to widen participation in higher education.”

Lynn Barlow speaking at Bristol247’s Better Bristol event at Arnolfini in 2019. Photo by Ellie Pipe

Victoria Tillotson, talent development lead at Watershed, added: “It can be incredibly difficult for young people to get a foot in the door of the creative industries. Creative Workforce for the Future tackles this issue head on, bridging the gap between underrepresented young people and creative companies who are excited to embrace new voices within their teams.”

Creative Workforce for the Future is supported by investment from WECA and the European Social Fund.

Business leaders interested in being part of the project can find out more via:

Main photo by Lowie Trevena

Read more: Stories From Our City is helping creatives get their voices heard

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