by Dr ST Dancey, CEO of Creative & Cultural Skills
The evidence shows that the UK’s cultural sector is overwhelmingly white and middle class. This is the myth of meritocracy: people do not get to work in the cultural sector based on ability. If we continue to reinforce this picture and to exclude a large section or our community, as well as its values and potential, it will cost us and put the future of our industry at risk.
Skills matter. The landscape may have changed, but we need to be bold in our approach to education and skills, and we need to adopt flexible recruitment practices.
With many new developments in technical qualifications and different placement opportunities, the field of education and skills can often seem confusing. Understanding which way is best (for both business and learners) to engage new talent in the sector is complex. This is why we have teamed up with UK Theatre and Society of London Theatre to produce some brief guides for theatres on: Understanding Entry Routes: who the Key Players are in learning and skills; describing Common Terminologies; and explaining Levels of Learning and Progression Pathways.
Leadership matters. We need to empower a diversity of voices, thinkers, and doers into positions where they can effect change. We need to open the door to what individuals see and want to change and challenge existing organisational values that mitigate against advancement for those not from white, middle class backgrounds.
As Creative & Cultural Skills, we will further grow our support around apprenticeships – we introduced these to the cultural sector, so these are part of our backbone – and we’ll work to help more employers understand how these can benefit businesses and mobilise the diverse pool of talent.
In addition to working with partners such as UK Theatre and SOLT, Creative & Cultural Skills is also here to work with you to address the skills gaps and shortages we have. We want to work in partnership at local, regional, national, and international levels, to drive social transformation and put the cultural sector at the very heart of this.
We welcome ideas, collaboration and shared endeavour across the UK and beyond.