We are testing a new beta website for gov.scot go to new site

Growth, Talent, Ambition - the Government’s Strategy for the Creative Industries




The Government is committed to supporting learning and developing skills. We want to ensure that all people in Scotland develop the skills for learning, life and work they need. We are working with public sector partners to improve the creative industries skills base. The skills action plan being developed jointly by Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council will be central to achieving this.


The Government has made considerable investment in skills development in the sector, and we are committed to doing more.

We published our Skills Strategy in 2007 and have recently published a refreshed Skills for Scotland14 strategy that aligns the skills of individuals with the needs of business and industry and, in particular, the Government Economic Strategy key sectors, including the creative industries.

We work closely with Skills Development Scotland ( SDS) and the Scottish Funding Council ( SFC) as the major public supporters of learning and skills development in Scotland. In the letters of guidance issued to both bodies, the Government invites them to develop their own plans within the context of the national outcomes and, specifically, to consider how these support Scotland's key economic sectors, including the creative industries.

The government also works closely with the sector skills councils ( SSCs) representing this sector: Creative & Cultural Skills (the SSC for the Creative and Cultural Industries); Skillset (creative media, and fashion and textiles industries); Construction Skills (architecture); and e-skills ( IT).

Working Together

The Government's ambition is to deliver a skill system fully aligned to the future growth objective of the creative industries sector, addressing the demographic profiles within the current workforce and anticipating the future skills challenges which new technologies and business growth opportunities will present.

The Scottish Creative Industries Partnership ( SCIP) raised the issue of skills development across the creative industries in January 2010. SDS and SFC agreed to work with Skillset and Creative & Cultural Skills to take forward the development of a Creative and Cultural Sector Skills Action Plan.

Identifying the skills needs of the sector

Working with the SSCs has ensured that we have been able to build on firm strategic foundations; making use of the latest sectoral labour market information and intelligence, as well as accessing a high level of qualitative input directly from leading industry practitioners. This firm foundation is considered essential to ensure the plan's credibility with industry.

This collaborative approach has ensured that actions are based on a sound demand statement, and that the overall effort is strategically focussed and aligned to the ongoing work of the SSCs.

The overall vision is to support greater productivity and growth across Scotland's Creative Industries through skills development.

This will be achieved by:

  • improving the support for learning and skills development for Scotland's creative industries and practitioners;
  • clarifying routes to funding skills and learning interventions that satisfy the often unique requirements of the sector and;
  • supporting collaboration across all partners and stakeholders.

In the context of this industry-backed plan, the joint Skills Committee of Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council will provide advisory support to guide strategic development and new forms of collaboration across vocational, further and higher education.

Film G and new commissions

Background - BBC Alba has provided Scotland with a new TV Channel and commissioner, based in the Highlands and Islands. As well as opportunities for existing TV production companies, this offers new writers and producers the chance to develop a track record with commissions from the Gaelic language channel.

What we have done - The Gaelic short film competition, Film G, was established by BBC Alba managers MG Alba, with the intention of discovering and developing new talent in writing, directing, content and craft and design to feed into the channel.

Through HI Screen, the organisation funded by HIE to support the region's broadcast sector, HIE has been involved in the development and delivery of training to new and existing film makers as part of the competition. This is carried out in partnership with MG Alba, Skye business Canan, who administer the training elements of the competition, and Creative Scotland's new Gaelic Arts officer.

In 2010 the scope of the training was expanded to include story development days and 1:1 seminars on directing and design.

What the impact has been - Film G is creating invaluable links with programme makers and broadcast professionals, and has resulted in competition winners gaining commissions and bursaries for the MA degree in TV Fiction Writing with Shed Media.

Ongoing practical support continues to be offered by HIE and HI Screen for

  • producing programmes and short films;
  • supporting programme makers to successfully participate in short film programmes such as Digital Shorts and Bridging the Gap;
  • premiering films at a range of major international film festivals;
  • creating partnerships offering access to commissioners such as the Sheffield Documentary Festival; and
  • real world training including the new internship programme. supported by Creative Scotland, Channel 4, production company, Matchlight, and HIE.

Progress to date

Working with Skills Development Scotland

SDS recruited a creative industries key sector manager in early 2010 to work for a year to lead its focus on this important part of the Scottish economy. The sector manager has led the development of the sector skills action plan presented to SCIP.

Responses from SDS to the needs of the sector already include:

  • Funding for 50 Creative Apprenticeships in 2009/10 and funding for a further 50 in 2010/11;
  • Investing £250,000 in Skillset's Drama Training Programme which is delivered in a unique partnership with the media and entertainment union BECTU and BBC Scotland. Focussed on developing high-level skills in drama series production for UK-wide network commissions, this project will help deliver the Scottish Broadcasting Commission's target to treble the volume of television production by 2012. This two-year, work-based training programme began in April 2010 with an overall budget of £540,000, match funding of £210,000 from BBC Scotland and the balance from the STUC's learning fund;
  • SDS launched the Flexible Training Opportunities fund in summer 2010. This initiative allows for investment of up to £500 per employee (to a maximum of 10 employees) in companies employing fewer than 50 people - ensuring the majority of Scotland's creative enterprises in Scotland qualify. In particular response to the significant freelance population of the creative industries, SDS also agreed that bona-fide freelancers and sole-traders are eligible for this support.
  • Supporting Moray Firth Media Trust to deliver work-place based training for aspiring radio producers and broadcasters from its base in Inverness. This well respected industry course has delivered a host of new voices across Scotland's Independent local radio network over the last 10 years. Funding of £20,000 from SDS for 2010 is helping to match a significant ESF grant secured to help the trust run its courses until 2012.

Working with the Scottish Funding Council

The Scottish Funding Council ( SFC) is the national and strategic body that is responsible for funding teaching and learning provision, research and other activities in Scotland's 43 colleges and 20 universities and higher education institutions.

General action being undertaken by the SFC to support the creative industries skills action plan includes:

  • Brokering deeper relationships with employers and sector skills council to ensure that demand for skills is articulated clearly;
  • Supporting the development of enterprise education and entrepreneurship;
  • Aligning its knowledge exchange activities and investment with those of key partners, recognising the demand from business;
  • Promoting a culture whereby students pursue entrepreneurial opportunities, start companies and exploit intellectual assets; and
  • Developing funding arrangements that strengthen and develop specialisms.

Specific support includes:

  • The Skillset Network of Screen and Media Academies - after discussion with Skillset, the SFC provided £5.8 million to support this network of excellence in Creative Media Education. Comprising the University of Abertay, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh College of Art and a partnership of colleges known as Creative Loop (Aberdeen, Adam Smith, Cardonald, Dundee, Perth and Reid Kerr), the Skillset academies are industry endorsed and actively engaged in addressing the immediate and emerging skills needs in Scotland's creative economy. The University of West of Scotland was approved by Skillset as a Skillset Media Academy to join this network in summer 2010. The investment focussed on:
  • 40 post-graduate places for a new masters programme in Computer Games Development at the University of Abertay Skillset Media Academy;
  • 40 post-graduate places at Screen Academy Scotland, the Skillset Screen and Media Academy at Edinburgh Napier University in partnership with Edinburgh College of Art;
  • infrastructure upgrades across all institutions to provide purpose-designed, professional studio environment across the network, including specialist centres of excellence across the Creative Loop Skillset Media Academy;
  • funding to develop a range of off-the-shelf short courses to delver targeted Continuing Professional Development; and
  • support for Skillset to manage the development of the network and facilitate enhanced education/business partnerships with leading employers and practitioners.
  • £2.5 million over 5 years to Queens Margaret University and Edinburgh Napier University to deliver an innovative two year course in professional acting training, and around £1.5 million per annum to RSAMD to support its professional training for actors;
  • Around £100,000 per annum to support additional postgraduate places in the creative industries;
  • Support for the Scottish Academy of Fashion led by Edinburgh College of Art;
  • Around £2.5 million per annum to RSAMD to support specialist music provision; and
  • A total of £1.7 million per annum to support Small Specialist Institutions (Edinburgh College of Art, Glasgow School of Art, RSAMD).

Management and Leadership Skills

The Government is placing a renewed focus over the coming months on supporting and developing leadership and management skills in Scottish businesses. We are already supporting the development of leadership skills in this sector through a bespoke leadership programme being delivered by Creative & Cultural Skills.


Government wants to develop creativity in future generations. Through the development of Curriculum for Excellence and the publication of Building the Curriculum 3 and 4 we recognise that all young people are entitled to develop the skills for learning, life and work needed to deal flexibly with the challenges of the 21 st century. We are embedding Determined to Succeed - our enterprise in education strategy - within Curriculum for Excellence. This will ensure that our young people are enterprising and prepared and ready for the world of work, including self employment.

Culture, Creativity and the Curriculum

Ministers hosted an Education and Culture seminar in December 2009, developing connections between culture, creativity and the curriculum. A programme of action is being developed to drive the agenda forward.

The Education and the Arts, Culture and Creativity Action Plan, being led by Creative Scotland and Learning Teaching Scotland, focuses on building collaborative approaches to improve young people's experiences within the curriculum. The aim is to impact positively on their achievements and career paths. As well as new areas of focus the plan acknowledges the many models of good practice already happening in schools the length and breadth of the country and seeks to make more effective use of existing rich resources, creative expertise and experience in the wider cultural arena. 15


With Learning Teaching Scotland and the Scottish Arts Council, we have developed GLOW, the World's first national online platform for education. It offers opportunities for schools to work directly with artists, enriching creative learning experiences, sharing resources and communication opportunities.

Children's Art at the National Virtual Arena of Scotland ( CANVAS)

GLOW has enabled the development of a virtual art space, Children's Art at the National Virtual Arena of Scotland ( CANVAS), for pupils to exhibit their art and discuss it online. CANVAS works with the National Performing Companies to produce a menu of resources and activities which they provide for schools.


Co-Create provides funding to arts organisations to bring arts education resources on line across Scotland. It enables artists, performers, writers and Scotland's schools to work and learn together in new ways, adopting and sharing innovative approaches to learning and teaching through the arts.

Youth Music Initiative

The Youth Music Initiative is a national scheme managed by Creative Scotland with a budget of £10m. All 32 local authorities are partners. The programme is delivered through a range of partnerships and projects designed to engage young people in music and music tuition. The current funding from the Government is due to end in March 2011. A detailed evaluation has shown that the scheme has exceeded a number of key targets for engagement. The programme is currently being reviewed by the government and we would hope to have an indication of future direction shortly.

World of Work online

With Learning Teaching Scotland, we have developed the World of Work Online, a virtual work experience resources created to support the development in young people of skills for learning, life and work. The resources are available to students, practitioners and parents.

Computer Games Based Technology

Scotland is leading the way in using computer games based technology in learning, in particular through the Learning and Teaching Scotland Consolarium - the national centre for games and learning that explores and supports game-based learning in the classroom. A survey of games based learning in Scotland noted that " Greatly increased motivation, engagement and enthusiasm are strongly identified as benefits, as well as social interaction, problem-solving, communication, co-operation, collaboration, planning, responsibility and increased confidence and self-esteem. Improvements in writing and numeracy skills are regularly mentioned. Opportunities arise for multisensory learning and provision can be made for a range of learning styles." 16

Entrepreneurial Learning Focus Group

We want to develop entrepreneurial attitudes and skills in our young people. We have formed an Entrepreneurial Learning Focus Group which is looking at how to enhance entrepreneurial learning within the curriculum and to provide the right information to young people to help them make informed decisions.

Expressive Arts

With the National Theatre of Scotland, we have supported a major collaborative education project, "Transform", which enables schools and communities to transform their approaches to developing skills for learning, life and work. It empowers young people to create memorable and innovative theatre involving them in aspects of theatre making and event management


Through our Fresh Talent Initiative and our wider work to increase Scotland's population, we will also seek to support the creative industries' skills needs by encouraging the brightest and best creative talent to live and work in Scotland. The Relocation Advisory Service will provide first hand advice to employers and potential migrants, including on immigration matters. We will also aim to build on work already underway to provide greater support to those migrants already here to make better use of their qualifications and talent. The Fresh Talent Initiative has also provided ongoing funding to the Dare to be Digital computer gaming competition to highlight Scotland as a centre for computer games education and to showcase Scotland as a leading player in the global computer games industry.