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Creative Skills Consortium drives better business in Cornish arts scene

An Objective One project to develop the skills of people working within the creative industries in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has proved to be of such great value to local arts businesses that it has been extended for a further year.

Objective One is investing a further £286,000 towards the £762,052 Creative Skills Consortium project, which aims to help more than 600 companies and individuals in the region's flourishing arts scene over the next year. The project increases the level of skills and adaptability of those already working within, and looking to join, the vibrant Creative Industries sector.

Phase One of the project, in which Objective One invested £330,000, finished in December 2002 and assisted 540 people from a wide range of arts based professions, including performers, arts administrators, musicians and applied artists, as well as writers and photographers. The second phase of the project will build on this, providing advice, training and mentoring to those working in the crafts, film and media sectors.

Since January, phase two of the project has already provided advice and guidance to 147 individuals.

Being demand driven and responsive to the business development needs of the region's creative industries, the Creative Skills Consortium provides a first point of contact for existing and potential practitioners in the sector. From an initial interview to establish an individual's training needs, a path of professional development can be set up thanks to the project's skills development fund. Mentoring, work shadowing, research visits, collaborative projects or attendance at training events both inside and outside Cornwall are many of the ways in which the project's skills fund has been used to support professional development.

In response to demands from the creative sector that were identified in phase one, the Consortium is now able to provide group bursaries which enable arts professionals to create their own collaborative learning projects.

Also new for phase two of the project, is a separately managed media skills fund, match-funded by South West Screen, which will provide applicants from the media sector with access to skills training.

Objective One has also enabled the Creative Skills team to take on a full-time business support officer to provide specialised advice to self employed individuals and small companies. A series of business seminars aimed at small businesses within the Creative Industries, with particular emphasis on the skills needed by start-ups, is an important feature of the range of services that the project has to offer.

A business mentoring service for arts organisations, delivered by the consultants Perfect Moment, will also continue to be offered following its success during phase one. This mentoring represents another aspect of the programme that is tailored to individual needs.

One arts organisation that has already benefited from phase one of the project and hopes to receive further assistance from the scheme is the Miracle Theatre Company. Explaining the value of the support received, Annie Ukleja, General Manager at Miracle said: "Last year the mentoring scheme proved to be of immense value to Miracle. Members of our management committee worked with Perfect Moment on the development of a three-year business plan, which was an essential requirement of the Arts Council England revenue funding and an extremely useful exercise for the Company. This year we have already put in an application for a company-wide project to develop music skills.

"As well as the development of the 3-year business plan, individual members of the company have also benefited from the training needs analysis service. I have undertaken external courses in booking tours and arts sponsorship as well as Creative Skills courses in fundraising, presentation skills and press relations, all of which will prove to be valuable tools in securing a future for the Company.”

Objective One Programme Director Carleen Kelemen said the project was an example of how Objective One investment is being used to cultivate the Creative Industries sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and to build better businesses.

She said: "We are committed to investing in projects like this as we recognise the importance of giving Cornish businesses the tools and support to flourish in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly today and into the future.

"The Creative Skills Consortium has already performed an important role in increasing the level of skills and adaptability of the creative industry's workforce, and we hope that the project will continue to make a real difference to the businesses which make up Cornwall's unique and vibrant arts scene.”

The Objective One European Social Fund, (ESF) has invested £286,673 with £192,000 coming from the public sector and £283,379 of private sector contribution, adding up to a total project cost of £762,052.

The project has 20 arts organisations as partners, including Arts Council England South West, Truro College, Dartington College of Arts, Falmouth College of Arts and Tate St Ives. It is also a partner in Matrix and Creative People, the regional and national projects established to encourage a more structured approach to training and continuing professional development for those working in the Creative Industries.


Editor's notes:

European Social Fund (ESF)

The ESF is helping develop employment by promoting employability, the business spirit and equal opportunities and investing in human resources.

For further information contact:
Jane Sutherland
Creative Skills Consortium
01872 273344


Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 241379
Fax: 01872 241388

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