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United Kingdom/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.9 Employment policies for the cultural sector

Work is being carried out by the Creative Industries Higher and Further Education Forum to map and connect the various developments within academia relevant to skills and knowledge transfer agendas. The Entrepreneurship and Skills Task Group of the Forum has recommended changes to the higher education infrastructure and the development of a National Enterprise Programme to prepare graduates to work in the creative industries, citing the fact that 43% of employees in this sector are educated to degree level and higher, compared to 16% of the workforce as a whole.

Formed in May 2004, Creative & Cultural Skills is the Sector Skills Council for Advertising, Crafts, Cultural Heritage, Design, Music, Performing, Literary and Visual Arts. It is an industry-led organisation that seeks to influence the supply of education and skills across the UK. Creative & Cultural Skills aims to provide a voice for employers of both large and small businesses to ensure that employers and individuals have access to high quality education and skills, as well as increasing the vocational relevance of qualifications on offer and providing students with informed choice on courses and career pathways. The audiovisual sector is already served by Skillset, which develops initiatives and programmes to strengthen provision, skills and expertise in this field. Regional Development Agencies have also played a role in terms of regional links between industry and the creative sector, though they are to be abolished by the new UK Government.

The Clore Leadership Programme, funded by the Clore Duffield Foundation, is an initiative that aims to help to train and develop a new generation of leaders for the cultural sector in the UK. Each year it assists a number of Clore Fellows to undertake an individual programme of learning, work, research, training and secondment, designed to develop their leadership skills and experience. Non Departmental Public Bodies and other organisations fund some fellowships, including Arts Council England. (See

The Cultural Leadership Programme (CLP) is a government funded investment to sustain innovation and creative renewal through good leadership practice in the cultural and creative industries. By supporting an ambitious range of activities and opportunities, the CLP aims to nurture and develop world class, dynamic and diverse cultural leaders for the 21st century. The CLP is being delivered through a strategic partnership between Arts Council England, the Museums, Libraries & Archives Council and Creative and Cultural Skills. The CLP was launched with a budget of GBP 12 million in June 2006. Further funding of GBP 10 million was promised for the CLP for three years from 2008-2011 (though there is some uncertainty about future funding). The CLP has two overarching aims:

Creating a culture of strong leadership - the programme aims to embed a culture of support and development for leaders in the sector, building on existing practice, addressing current gaps in provision, learning lessons from other sectors and countries, and ensuring that this initial investment delivers a sound basis for long-term change in business leadership skills development.

Diversity in Leadership - The programme seeks to make significant progress in enhancing the diversity of current and future leaders, with a particular focus on leaders from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Since it was established, CLP has:

  • reached one in eight leaders in the sector;
  • established more than 900 coaching and mentoring relationships;
  • run 45000 training days; and
  • arranged 50 leadership placements for emerging and mid-career culture professionals.

Further details about the programme can be found at:

Concern that Black, Afro-Caribbean and Asian curators lack visibility in the visual arts field in Europe led Arts Council England (ACE) to set up a pilot International Curators Forum (ICF) to promote opportunities for emerging curators with these cultural / ethnic backgrounds to visit several major international art events (such as the Venice Biennale and Documenta XII) in 2007. ACE was the principal funder of the initiative, but funding was secured from a range of partners, including the Cultural Leadership Programme and Department of Culture, Media and Sport. The intention was that the curators would benefit from the networking opportunities provided and gain experience for their career development.

The New Deal for Musicians (NDfM), was established in August 1999, to help unemployed musicians or young adults seeking a career in the music industry. It aimed to help all types of artists (including instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, songwriters and performing DJs) to move into careers in the music industry, either as artists under contract, or as self-employed. The NDfM programme came to an end in October 2009 and has been replaced by a non-culturally specific programme, the Future Jobs Fund. This is a new initiative of the Department for Work and Pensions to create 120 000 jobs for young unemployed people aged 18-24. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport aims 5 000 of these jobs to be in the culture sector and another 5 000 in sport. However, there is speculation about the continuation of this fund, given the economies being sought by the UK Government elected in 2010.

Employers were able to pay lower rates of national insurance (NI) contributions for freelancers until 1998, when a change to government regulations on "entertainers" forced employers to pay higher NI to enable actors to claim job seekers allowance whilst "resting". It was revealed in 2005 that this, unintentionally, has had a detrimental impact on a significant number of British orchestras - as musicians are also classed as freelancers - who were left facing a GBP 33 million tax bill. After significant media coverage and meetings with different stakeholders, the matter was resolved satisfactorily with Revenue & Customs in 2007.

Historic Scotland continues its "Interns and Fellows" programmes, providing places for newly qualified conservation practitioners, and industry participants with the aim of expanding the fund of conservation skills and abilities in Scotland.

Within the TV industry, the Cultural Diversity Network is a coalition of broadcasters who have come together to work on ethnic minority employment issues in the sector (see chapter 4.2.4)

Chapter published: 15-04-2011

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