£9 million investment at the High House Production Park announced today

EMPLOYERS today took the opportunity of Creative & Cultural Skills’ National Conference to call for the first twenty students to join the industry-led and

Government-backed National College for the Creative and Cultural Industries, which is being established at High House Production Park in Thurrock from September 2016, working with partners nationwide.

The new college will open in September 2016, with students who are selected undertaking a new employer-designed Professional Diploma in Technical and Production. The first term will be collaboration with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures & Re:Bourne as the company will be resident at High House Production Park in the Autumn making a major large-scale new work for UK and international touring.

Investment in a new £9 million building project at High House Production Park is also announced today, including new residential accommodation which will open up National College opportunities to students from all parts of the UK and internationally. This is due to open in 2018.

Founded by Creative & Cultural Skills on behalf of a consortium of employers and industry organisations including Live Nation, Royal Opera House, BBC, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Manchester Royal Exchange, National Theatre, Ambassadors Theatre Group, White Light, BECTU and the Association of British Theatre Technicians, the new National College will provide specialist training in the technical skills needed by the creative and cultural industries.

Minster for Skills, Nick Boles said: “the National College for the Creative and Cultural Industries is hugely important to our creative sector. It will give thousands of young people who aspire to a career in backstage and offstage the high level technical skills that employers demand in Britain’s world-beating creative industries.”

The college is part of a new network of employer-led National Colleges to help the UK develop world-class practical skills. Government announced its commitment to invest in this network as crucial to the nation’s productivity agenda in the Autumn Statement 2015.

The National College will provide new higher level Professional Diplomas at Level 4 for those aged 18 plus who want to pursue a fast-track route in to a technical job in the creative sector. These new Diplomas are one-year vocational programmes with direct line of sight to work, providing a genuinely affordable and accessible progression route as an alternative to going to university.

The National College will also specialise in the delivery of Apprenticeships for the creative and cultural industries, becoming a new national provider that can help small creative businesses across the UK employ and train the next generation of talent. This is particularly important in light of the Government’s current Apprenticeship reforms.

Catherine Large, who is leading the National College development for Creative & Cultural Skills, said: ‘this is a very important moment for employers in the sector, and one we have been working towards for some time. There is an acknowledged need for well-trained technical workers with hands-on industry experience. We need a specialist college where we can train people to standards set by the industry. Creative & Cultural Skills has partnerships with major employers and 45 Further Education Colleges across the country with whom we intend to work on this new initiative, starting with South Essex College who are most local to us. The key is to design new curriculum and apprenticeship standards that meet employer needs and work together to support new entrants in to jobs in the industry’.

Other parts of the UK will benefit from the National College through new delivery ‘hubs’ which will be developed with partners. Peter Garden, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic said ‘Liverpool is an ideal location for a future National College hub with strong networks of creative businesses and arts organisations already working together who would be a good position to support young people in to apprenticeships and careers in the industry.’

The Technical and Production Professional Diploma, accredited by University of the Arts London Awarding Body, will launch at High House Production Park in Thurrock in September 2016, with other pathways and locations to follow in September 2017. Bryan Raven, Chair, Skillscene and Managing Director, White Light, said: ‘we urgently need more relevant employer-led training that is fit-for-purpose for our industry’s needs. We have long backed the need to train up the next generation of talent, and are fully committed to high quality apprenticeships. I am delighted that we are now able to progress with the National College which I believe will help us achieve higher level technical skills for the industry’.

The new National College building at High House Production Park will include residential accommodation, student support facilities and new creative business units. Investment comes from a partnership between the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and Creative & Cultural Skills, Arts Council England, High House Production Park, the Garfield Weston Foundation, White Light and Creative Technologies. Arts Council England’s Chief Executive Darren Henley said, ‘the creation of a National College for the Creative and Cultural Industries is a significant development and we are delighted to be able to support the capital plans for this project’.

Alex Beard, Chief Executive, Royal Opera House and Chair of High House Production Park said of the announcement: ‘the creation of the National College is a hugely important development in the breadth of opportunities now being offered from High House Production Park.

Having such a concentration of professional craftspeople and training facilities for both students and professionals in backstage and technical skills in one place is unprecedented and will help enormously in equipping people with the right skills for jobs in the creative industries. It adds to what the Park can offer to Thurrock’s young people but will also be national resource for young people from across the country.’

Cllr John Kent, Leader of Thurrock Council, said: ‘this is excellent news for the college, High House Production Park and the borough more generally. The council invests a lot of time, effort and money in the various High House Production Park endeavours and will continue to do so. But it is always particularly

pleasing when our friends’ efforts are properly recognised further afield, and the fact the National College for the Creative and Cultural Industries is to be established here does exactly that.”

The National College will work with delivery partners across the UK who are members of the Skills Academy network. These partnerships will provide progression routes in to the National College for 16-18 year olds. The first of these partnerships is with South Essex College. Angela O’Donoghue, Principal, South Essex College, said ‘South Essex College welcomes the creation of the National College for the Creative and Cultural Industries as a strategic partnership organisation to ensure employers are getting the skills they need.’

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