Skills East Sussex sector task groups


Creative, Media and Digital Task Group

This task group straddles two important sectors: creativity and culture and digital media. In the last five years, both have experienced skill shortages. This has led to a high number of job vacancies which have proved difficult to fill. The Task Group includes employers from the two sectors including:

  • Bark Web Ltd
  • De La Warr Pavilion
  • Switchplane Ltd
  • The Towner Gallery
  • Glyndebourne
  • Factory Internet
  • The RSE Group.

There are also representatives from education and training including:

  • East Sussex College Group
  • Artswork
  • Vocate Training
  • Culture Shift
  • University of Brighton

The Group is jointly chaired by Sally Staples, Cultural Strategy Manager of East Sussex County Council, and Julian Perrott of Bark Web Ltd.

Sally Staples Headshot
Sally Staples

Co-Chair Sally Staples, Cultural Strategy Manager East Sussex County Council

Sally Staples MA joined East Sussex County Council in 2012 as Cultural Strategy Manager. She was previously Head of the Kent County Council Arts Development Unit where she also managed the Kent Film Office.

Sally specialises in creating the strategic environment which allows the cultural sector to flourish. Sally’s involvement in the cultural sector has ranged from practitioner, facilitator, commissioner and writer to venue manager and performer. Her recent projects include:

  • South East Creatives (business support programme)
  • England’s Creative Coast (cultural tourism) and workspace development.

Recent activity and achievements

Members of the task group worked on a £200,000 bid to create a ‘Talent Accelerator’. The pilot had been in development locally and with colleagues in Kent and Essex. The ‘Talent Accelerator’ creates an elevator of 'age and of stage' that focuses on creativity in context, for example ‘how to be creative as a farmer/engineer’. It will work with children from early years through to further education (FE) and also higher education(HE).

The proposal was endorsed by Culture East Sussex and the De La Warr Pavilion are the lead partner. 

The Culture Shift project using Ingenious Fund supported Bexhill College students with assistance from Factory Internet. Culture Shift appointed a digital marketing apprentice.

East Sussex Library Service and the County Council's Employment and Skills Team successfully carried out an European Social Fund (ESF) tablet loaning scheme. It helped 40 ESF participants from Brighton, Eastbourne, Hastings and Wealden during the pandemic lockdowns. TechResort highlighted need for more donations of hardware to repurpose and loan out.

Two members of the task group are working with the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) Digital Skills Partnership. The partnership comprises stakeholders from across the South East. It aims to increase awareness and access to digital skills training across the region.

Members of the task group supported the Open Doors venture ‘Into Games’, which was new in 2019-20. Ninety students from 9 schools took part in an engaging workshop focusing on the production of a game at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill. The workshop was based on groups of young people running their own ‘studio’. Students took on different roles – designer, marketing, programming, studio assistants – and came up with an idea for a game.

INTOGames launched the new Games for Schools project. It provides £1.5 million worth of free Game Maker 2 software and resources for secondary schools to set up games clubs.

Task group update Spring 2022

Areas of focus to 2021 were

  • Putting the “A” into STEAM Fest
  • Designing and building the Talent Accelerator
  • Exploring Modular Apprenticeships/ATA model

Although there were some concerns about multi-employer apprenticeships (leaking confidential corporate details for example), it was noted that modular or multi-employer apprenticeships have been advocated by this task group since its inception.

Suggested that the ESF Transform project and apprenticeship levy transfer could be used to support a rotational pilot apprenticeship. This could be trialled through the task group. Suggested that the County Council act as lead or host employer for 'flexi' apprenticeships for 16 to 18-year-old age group which can then offer multiple placements and retain a centralised standard and rate of pay.

For  2020 to 2021, the Task Group agreed to promote the following roles:

  • Programmers and software developers
  • Marketing professionals and copywriters
  • Cyber security officer

This work is on-going. 

The County Council's Cultural Strategy Manager, Sally Staples, highlighted the support for this sector vital to the East Sussex economy.

Priority tasks for 2022-23 are

  • The launch of the Talent Accelerator Programme
  • Increasing the recruitment of Higher Education graduates into the local sector
  • Supporting the creation of an employer designed event focussed on continuing professional development (CPD)

Creative and Digital Task Group meetings

Please find below the minutes of the latest meetings.

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