Submission from Arts Council England
1.1 Arts Council England works to get more
art to more people in more places. We develop and promote the
arts across England, acting as an independent body at arm's length
1.2 Universities are vital in sustaining
economic drivers and particularly in the creative and cultural
industries. They are central to creating the arts workforce, supporting
innovation and high quality arts opportunities. In the last 10
years we have invested nearly £90 million in supporting initiatives,
infrastructure and projects within the sector. In 2007 we published
a strategy to profile our relationship with the higher education
1.3 We are concerned that the proposed changes
to equivalent or lower qualifications have been created as a model
to replace government funding with funding from employers. This
model may work for private sector employers, but would have a
detrimental impact in the cultural and creative sector, which
is comprised of small to medium enterpises, social enterprises,
public and not-for-profit organisations who are not capable of
bridging this funding gap. This approach could therefore lead
to a skills defecit in a sector that is a key contributor the
2. EVIDENCE FROM
2.1 The creative industries contribute significantly
to our economy, at least 7.3% of GVA and 1.1million jobs, with
a further 800,000 in creative occupations in other sectors. Over
the last ten years thay have grown twice as fast as the rest of
the economy (Creative Industries Economic Estimates, DCMS, 2007).
The UK has the largest creative sector in the EU and in London
the creative industries add £21 billion annually to London's
output. The growth of this sector will be hampered if there is
a decline in the number of places available to pursue a career
in the arts.
2.2 In the case of the cultural and creative
industries the proposal of co-funding from our sector is unrealistic
and there is limited capacity or income within the sector to absorb
these costs. The creative and cultural sector is constituted by
a large number of freelancers and SMEs (small to medium enterprizes).
According to recent statistics from Creative and Cultural Skills
95% of all creative and cultural industries in England employ
less than 10 people. A recent DCMS report revealed that high proportions
of creative industry firms have no training plan (64%) or no training
budget (70%) (An Assessment of Productivity Indicators for the
Creative Industries, DCMS, August 2007). In the career paths of
those employed in cultural occupations there is a greater incidence
of, and a continuing movement towards self-employment. Within
our industries only the larger companies have the funding or capacity
to arrange staff training.
2.3 We understand the Department for Innovation,
Universities and Skills' decision to reallocate public funding
for higher education to support for students that are entering
higher education for the first time, or progressing to higher
qualifications. However, we also believe that the proposed exemptions
do not take into consideration the impact of this decision on
widening participation in the cultural and creative industries.
Achieving greater levels of diversity in the workforce is recognised
as an important factor for growth in the creative industriese.
Although black and ethnic minorities make up only 8% of the UK
workforce they are 35% of the workforce in London where more than
half the audio visual industry (Skillset, 2006) and 31% of design
businesses are located (Design Council, 2006), however the number
of black and ethnic minorities in the workforce are lamentably
low at only 9% in new design businesses (CCSkills/Design Council,
2006) and only 7% in the audio-visual industries (Skillset, 2006).
To change the make up of the creative workforce we need to ensure
that opportunities are available to students at all stages.
2.4 We do agree with the Higher Education
Funding Council for England's proposal to continue providing public
funding for students studying for a foundation degree as an equivalent
or lower qualification. However, we need to ensure that there
are progression routes available for people at later stages in
their careers. An increase in the proportion of older people in
the population will create an increased demand for adult continuing
education, particularly if more people stay in employment beyond
current retirement age. UCAS figures from 2002 entry show that
54% of all applicants aged 30 and over wanted to undertake an
undergraduate qualification in the art, humanities and social
sciences. All these activities contribute to the nation's social
and economic well-being. Continuing professional development (CPD)
and life long learning should be accommodated in these proposals.
We also have evidence that in regions such as London there is
demand for Higher Level skills and further emphasis on Foundation
Degrees without clear conversion to Level 4 qualification.
2.5 Although we agree with the Higher Education
Funding Council for England's proposal to aim to provide `safety
net' funding to maintain each institution's grant at a comparable
2007-08 level in cash terms, we believe that the implementation
of the broader ELQ proposals could be delayed until the Student
Fee Regulations and the Student Support Regulations have been
reviewed and redrafted and there is more robust data.
2.6 We understand that some of our Higher
Education partners and in particular the Conservatoires will be
affected if the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills'
funding decision for ELQs goes ahead. We believe that arguments
previously presented by the Conservatoires (UK) and other Higher
Education partners via the Higher Education Council for England's
consultation process should also be given careful consideration.
Conservatoires have played a significant role in nurturing talent
and innovation that has led the UK and in particular London to
become the Creative Capital of the world.