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Creative Industries: Careers

Volume 631: debated on Thursday 16 November 2017

We are collaborating closely with industry to develop a sector deal for the creative industries. This includes considering how Government and industry can partner to strengthen the pipeline talent to the sector. Following the independent review of the sector by Sir Peter Bazalgette, we are working with the Creative Industries Council and the Creative Industries Federation and discussing measures including ways of improving information about careers in the creative industries and tackling barriers to working in the sector.

I have visited a number of excellent apprenticeship schemes across the broadcast media, and apprentices often tell me that they have had to seek out information about apprenticeships themselves rather than receiving it from schools or careers advisers. What can we do to better promote the value of apprenticeships among our young people?

I completely agree that apprenticeships are a fantastic thing, and it is a great achievement of this Government that so many more young people are taking them up. They are a fantastic way of getting the skills and training they need for their careers. There are specific issues with regard to apprenticeships in the creative industries, particularly as a result of there being so many freelancers in those industries, but I know that the Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, my right hon. Friend the Member for Guildford (Anne Milton), attended a roundtable of the creative industries earlier this week to discuss how exactly we can make this work so that all young people can benefit from apprenticeships.

Nurturing diversity is key to our vibrant creative industries, and access to those industries. Will the Minister join me in urging the new chief executive of Channel 4, Alex Mahon, to adopt a different approach from that of her predecessor by putting diversity and access to the industry at the top of her wish list as she considers relocation to the likes of Birmingham and Solihull?

I think we have a question on Channel 4’s location later. Channel 4 has done incredibly great work when it comes to diversity. Its on-screen talent includes people with disabilities, people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds and people of different sexualities. It has been very good at promoting diversity, and I want to pay tribute to it for the work that it has done. Across the industry as a whole, more diversity would mean more creativity, and that is a message that the whole industry must listen to—and that diversity may possibly be located outside London.

In order to progress their careers, creative artists need lots of work opportunities. For musicians, that means venues, many of which are now being closed. Will the Secretary of State give serious consideration to embedding the agent of change principle into legislation, as I hope to propose in a ten-minute rule Bill in the near future?

We are aware of those concerns and we are working with the Department for Communities and Local Government to look at the proposition that has been put forward.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the best way to promote careers in the creative industries is on the back of a strong economy and having sensible economic policies to drive our country forward?

Of course, the people with the greatest interest in careers in the creative industries are the workforce. In those industries, those people are often rights holders as well as workers, so why are the Government continuing to deny membership of the Creative Industries Council to the trade unions? Will the Secretary of State make a pledge now to rectify that glaring omission immediately?

Membership of the Creative Industries Council is determined by the membership of the council. It is not a Government decision. The hon. Gentleman will be aware, if he has been speaking to the council, that because of the sector deal, any decisions about future membership have been deferred until the deal has been finalised.