Creative, Cultural, Digital and Media Task Group

This task group straddles two important sectors: creativity and culture  and digital marketing. Both of these use a range of media including print, audio, video and online. 

These sectors  have experienced skill shortages in recent years.  This has led to a high number of job vacancies which are difficult to fill.  East Sussex' has a higher than average share of employers in this area. 

The Task Group includes employers from the two sectors including:

  • Bark Web Ltd
  • De La Warr Pavilion
  • Tech Resort

There are also representatives from education and training including:

  • East Sussex College Group
  • Culture Shift
  • University of Brighton

The Group is jointly chaired by Julian Perrott of Bark Web Ltd and Sally Staples, Cultural Strategy Manager of East Sussex County Council.  Both highlight the importance of culture and creativity to the East Sussex economy, as well as digital skills. 

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.

Task group update Spring/Summer 2023

Members of the task group worked on the £200,000 bid to create a ‘Talent Accelerator’.  The proposal was endorsed by Culture East Sussex and the De La Warr Pavilion are the lead partner. The pilot had been in development locally and with colleagues in Kent and Essex.  Following delays due to the Covid pandemic, the ‘Talent Accelerator’  got going in earnest in late 2022 with DLWP the lead delivery organisation. 

The  'Talent Accelerator' focuses on creativity in context. A key component is supporting those who may not consider a career in the arts or creative industries, especially those who do not have family/friend connections or can afford to work as an intern or do work experience for free.  Another is the development of work experience and apprenticeships across a number of employers to increase exposure to a range of opportunities. It will work with children and young people from early years through to further education (FE) and also higher education(HE).

The DLWP has secured some funding from the Youth Music Incubator Fund to enable young people to access paid work experience as event promoters.

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.

Priority tasks for 2023-24 are

  • Supporting the creation of an employer designed event focussed on continuing professional development (CPD) 
  • Increasing the recruitment of Higher Education graduates into the local sector
  • Raising awareness in AI (Artificial Intelligence), cybersecurity and fraud prevention employment opportunities 

Creative and Digital Task Group meetings

Please find below the minutes of recent meetings.

Minutes are not available for publication until approved by the group members a the following meeting. Therefore minutes for March will not appear until after the meeting in September (the meeting in June 2023 did not take place).

The next meeting of the group is on 12 September 2023. 

Contact Skills East Sussex  if you are a sector employer, training or education provider and want details. Other than your time, and occasional travel, there are no costs to joining Skills East Sussex meetings.  

If you wish to see minutes of a meeting not listed, please please email Skills East Sussex and we will do our best to help.

Achievements in recent years

Priorities in 2019-2021 were:

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

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

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.

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

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

The first job role videos went 'live' on the Careers East Sussex website in 2022. Thanks to The Werks, Lewes and the De La Warr Pavilion for their support.  Visit the sector Creative, Cultural. Digital and Media pages there to find out more.