Creative, Cultural, Digital and Media Task Group minutes: 27 March 2023

Creative, Cultural, Digital and Media Task Group minutes: 27 March 2023

Meeting details

Creative, Cultural, Digital and Media Task Group Meeting

Held on Monday 27th March at 14:30-16:00

Online via MS Teams.

Attendees and apologies





Julian Perrott

CHAIR, BarkWeb Ltd, Managing Director


Chris Homewood



Catherine Orbach

Culture Shift, Co-Director


Dan Wallman

LSIP, Digital Sector and Creative & Cultural Sectors Stakeholder Engagement Lead


Ellen Cuerva

East Sussex College Group, ESIF Project Manager


Kim Bulgin

ESCC, Culture and Tourism Project Co-ordinator


Kim Byford

De La Warr Pavilion, Talent Accelerator Project Manager


Katie Parris

East Sussex College Group, Account Manager


Margaret Sheehy [part]

MSL Projects


Ruth Hopkins

DWP, Employer Adviser Hastings and Bexhill


Rhys Mills

Bexhill College, Head of Maths and Computing


Stephen Burkes

ESCC, Employability and Skills Project Manager


Sarah Cronk



Tony Dillon



Vanessa Potter

SCTP, Executive Director




Sally Staples

Co-CHAIR, ESCC, Cultural Strategy Manager


Declan Cassidy



Holly Aquilina

ESCC, Employability and Skills Strategy Manager


Henry Clayson

East Sussex Careers Hub, Project Assistant


Teresa Salami-Oru

ESCC, Consultant in Public Health




Donnalyn Morris

ESCC, Employability and Skills Project Officer




Nick Backstrom

Consultant to East Sussex College Group

Actions arising from this meeting

Actions from this meeting, 27th March 2023




1.    Contact with suggestions for the toolkit/FAQs


End August 2023

2.    Contact RM at Bexhill College about supporting student work placements


On-going. By end May 2023.

3.    Contact Bexhill Chamber of Commerce about engaging with (BTEC digital) work placements


24 April 2023

4.    Contact KBy and DWa to discuss recruitment practices and processes and how to support widening the talent pool


On-going. By end of May 2023.

5.    Add Digifest to the next meeting agenda


31 March 2023

6.    Email/Poll members to ask about meeting locations


24 April 2023

1. Welcome (new members)

Apologies were noted including co-chair, SS.  Some new members introduced themselves. CH advised that TraC historically delivered flexi-apprenticeships in Construction but have expanded to include creative and digital. RM’s work includes links with employers in the digital field.

2. Review of Previous Minutes & Actions

JP asked SBu to review the actions of the previous meeting.

KBy and Talent Accelerator is on today’s agenda. There will be an update on the FE Sussex bid from ESCG later.  Engaging with the Careers Hub and activities such as Open Doors are on-going/open actions.

Minutes agreed.

3. Transform – celebration, impact and legacy

VPo gave an overview of the Transform programme which SCTP deliver in partnership with East Sussex County Council. This part European Social Fund (ESF) project is due to end in November 2023. It offers free and impartial skill information to support local SMEs to access skills training and funding for their workforce, improving productivity and supporting growth through skills investment and development. The programme navigates access to £300k of levy funding. These funds are money from larger employers that smaller employers can access which often goes unspent.

So far Transform has:

  • Engaged with 110 SMEs
  • Carried out 110 organisational needs analyses
  • 72 apprenticeships have started
  • Had over 700 attendees at four Apprenticeship Roadshow events

Of the apprenticeships started, 36% were new recruits, 30% upskilling existing staff with 14% unknown.  A quarter (24%) were at level 2, 56% were level 3, and there were two supported apprenticeships. Upskilling and access to higher level qualifications support social mobility.

VPo advised that 14% of the apprenticeships training was in the creative and digital sector.  She asked for views on Transform’s legacy and what a toolkit should look like.

KBy spoke of using Transform to recruit an apprentice and support ‘being invaluable’. DWa said that Transform aligns with LSIP (Local Skills Improvement Plan) objectives and would like to amplify across Sussex. He said he would like to see more sector breakdown information.

JP raised that employing apprentices ‘starts to get complicated really quickly’. He would like to see web-based basic guides developed to support employers. These need to cover what is required from the outset: training providers ‘have a deep pool of talent they can introduce to the business’. Do employer find an apprentice or have a provider do it? He also emphasised that ‘starting is easier than finishing’ and it is important to complete the qualification before someone ‘morphs into an employee’.

SBu and a number of others agreed on the complexity. There was agreement that this is should form part of the project feedback. A toolkit of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) is helpful. Lobbying on governmental complexity can be fed back through the LSIP.

VPo’s presentation which included apprentice and employer testimonials as well as Transform facts and figures received positive feedback.

ACTION: Contact with suggestions for the toolkit/FAQs - ALL

4. BTEC digital students and employers

RM gave a presentation on the courses on offer at Bexhill VIth Form College. He then went into more detail on the full-time level 3 courses. These are:

  • BTEC Extended Diploma in ICT
  • T Level Digital Support Services

The BTEC is already running, and the T Level starts in September 2023. The BTEC has wider options such as website and video game design, mobile app design, cybersecurity and more. The T Level has a narrower focus covering service desk support such as troubleshooting, networking and servers and cloud computing. It is geared more to going into work than into further study. EC commented that the T Level is not a popular offer, and its mismatch to industry needs is ‘disappointing’.

BTEC students need to do 5 days’ work placement each of their 2 years of study. This can be delivered as one full week each year, but it can also be one day per week over 5-6 weeks (a half term). As well as real work scenarios, these placements are important in the development of ‘soft’ skills which employers often say are lacking. Current teenagers will have missed out due to Covid measures.

The college will ensure placements meet safeguarding requirements and DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) measures. Due to the nature of creative digital businesses, they are flexible about remote/hybrid placements.

DWa wanted to learn more about how remote placements work. He advised that LSIP work has shown 19% of those in ICT are female and are 8% ethnic minorities. RM did not have the figures to hand, but advised 95% of full-time level 3 students are white males. The gender balance is better in A level Computer Science. Redressing this imbalance needs to happen before choices are made – the college is working with local schools on this.

JP said this was the first he had heard of placements not having to be in week-long blocks. This aspect should be highlighted to employers. TD suggested contacting the Bexhill Chamber of Commerce to promote placements needs to employers.

ACTION 2: Contact RM at Bexhill College if able to support student work placements – employers

ACTION 3: Contact Bexhill Chamber of Commerce about engaging with (BTEC digital) work placements – RM

5. Talent Accelerator update

KBy reminded everyone that the purpose of the Talent Accelerator is to raise visibility of jobs in creative, cultural, digital and media. There is also a wish to increase entry level positions to support those without experience/family history in the sector to consider it.

The capacity for work experience, as has been discussed, is difficult with many SMEs. A format that is being tried is that used in bigger urban areas of creating a work experience week. An example is a week in Newhaven to create a film.

There are initiatives with The White Rock in Hastings; Robertsbridge to access more rural areas, and links to the Towner offering around the Turner prize. One key point is to have paid work experience so people can afford to take it up. Another area of development is bespoke apprenticeships. Knowing the range of creative employers across the county is quite a challenge. The DLWP is becoming a skills focussed organisation.

6. LSIP – feedback on Creative & Cultural Deep Dive

DWa reported that a significant finding is that jobs in the sector are not advertised much. East Sussex salaries ae lower than neighbouring areas. Although a sample, it appears East Sussex has far fewer jobs.  Many more roles are accessed through word of mouth. This perpetuates a lack of diversity in the sector.

There is a gap between supply and demand in terms of the skills and experience vacancies request and what CVs report to have.  This is not true in all areas, many people cite Adobe in their applications.

Notable that more organisers are needed in the sector – more people wanting to be producers than directors. There are plenty of opportunities for ‘non-creative’ jobs in the creative sector.

ACTION 4: Contact KBy and DWa to discuss recruitment practices and processes and how to support widening the talent pool – employers

7. AOB (Any Other Business)

NBa gave a short update on the digital Centres of Excellence (CODES). ESCG has two Centres of Excellence:

  1. Digital construction technology and energy management, based at Eastbourne and in partnership with GBMet and Chichester College Group.
  2. Web Design and Technology, primarily based at Hastings. There will be a menu of courses to select from across colleges involved in the web design aspect.

The courses have been produced to integrate into T Levels and bridge the gap between level 2 and level 3 for adults.

Plumpton College is leading on Data analytics for land-based industries and Digital applications for monitoring and assessing animal health.


Bexhill College has developed sector specific courses for Health and Social Care, Visitor Economy, Creative and Cultural and Business and Finance. Partner colleges on these are Varndean, Collyer’s, GBMet, Worthing and BHAVIC (Brighton, Hove and Sussex 6th Form College).


SC raised that DigiFest Eastbourne is coming in September. Both KBy and DWa are involved in this initiative which is led by Chalk Eastbourne.


ACTION 5: Add Digifest to next meeting agenda – Secretariat/DM


Next meeting is scheduled for 8th June at 10:00-12:00. As some other groups have returned to some in-person meetings, this has been scheduled as hybrid at County Hall, Lewes.


Feedback at the meeting on whether to meet face to face was indeterminate.


ACTION 6: Email/Poll members to ask about meeting locations - DM