Creative and Digital Task Group minutes: 6 December 2022

Meeting details

Date: Tuesday 6 December 2022

Time: 2.30pm to 4pm

Location: Microsoft Teams

See the list of attendees and apologies for this meeting.

Actions arising from this meeting

Actions to be taken forward
Number Description Responsible/Lead
1 Contact KBy to take part or get more information about Talent Accelerator KBy/Members
2 Contact to confirm expectations for Open Doors events hosted in schools/colleges ALL applicable/RFr
3 Digital Excellence/FE Sussex update to be on agenda for first quarter of 2023 FE Sussex/EC/DM
4 Representatives from colleges to present on the digital excellence program FE Sussex/EC
5 Discuss methods of engaging and reaching more employers - JP/SS/SBu

1. Welcome, New Members and Updates

Apologies were noted. MS was unable to join due to late technical difficulties. Given some people were first time attendees, JP asked for introductions and updates.

SS advised Create Growth Programme funding has been secured. This is one of six awards nationally. The funding is to target pre-scale-up Creative Industries. It offers business support to ready Creative businesses for growth, securing them access to a £7m national investment fund and introductions to a national pool of “angel investors”. The consortium is led by Kent County Council with a range of SELEP (South East Local Enterprise Partnership) members.

SS asked SBu for his thoughts on apprenticeships, as negative news had been reported that day on apprentices dropping out due to poor training experiences.

SBu stated that the introduction of the apprenticeships reforms in 2017 and the move to apprenticeship standards had made apprenticeships materially more complex for both learners and employers. Many apprenticeships now take six months to a year longer to complete than their previous framework offers: this impacts dropout rates. This position declined further over COVID. Key apprenticeship sectors such as Health & Social Care and Hospitality significantly impacted a learners ability to complete their apprenticeship learning alongside their working duties (that is too busy for studies in Healthcare roles and not able to complete work related training while on furlough for hospitality).

[RH joined around this time]

KP continued that there are often misconceptions about apprentices’ pay. Many more pay than the £4.81 apprentice minimum, especially the creative sector.

SBu said that Multiply tenders have been completed and delivery is expected to start in December 2022/January 2023. Multiply embeds numeracy into training for those without a level 2 in mathematics, they can be employed or unemployed.

Organisations who have staff who may benefit can contact for more information.


2. Review of Previous Minutes & Actions

KBy and SH have been in touch regarding the Talent Accelerator. KBy is keen to hear from more members of the Task Group to shape and support the initiative.


ACTION 1: Contact KBy at the De La Warr to get involved in the Talent Accelerator – ALL 

Following a check, RFr advised that the preference is for Open Doors on-site. However, if this is carried out with a focus on the workplace, it can happen in schools/colleges.

ACTION 2: Contact to confirm expectations

DM fed back that EC had explained it was too soon to bring a significant update on the digital excellence programme.

ACTION 3: Digital Excellence/FE Sussex update to be on agenda for first quarter of 2023 – DM/FE Sussex

Employers have been in touch with colleges regarding T-levels industrial placements

 JP said that his company has had 25 requests for work experience which he has had to decline as does not have the capacity.

3. Task Group Initiatives for 2023

SBu began his presentation with reference to the other sector Task Groups (Health & Social Care, Engineering & Advanced Manufacturing, Visitor & Cultural Economy, Construction and Civil Engineering, Land, Agricultural & Environmental). Along with this one, they link to the priority and growth sectors identified by SELEP. Initiatives other groups are engaged in include:

  • Investigating and reviewing the best methods of exciting the audience and raising interest when presenting the sector
  • Co-ordinating DWP and training providers to meet recruitment needs and input to DWP sector campaigns
  • Co-ordinating Employers, DWP and training providers to design a bespoke training programme for upskilling the existing workforce and new recruits regarding specialist industry training

Co-ordinating an East Sussex wide large scale staff training event to support Further and Higher Education staff alongside Careers & Employment Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) staff on the latest technology and techniques

SBu counselled that taking projects forward will mean work outside the Task Groups. Construction have three working groups for example exploring recruitment, perceptions and the curriculum; Health & Social Care and Engineering both have smaller groups meeting outside main meetings. These then feedback to and take feedback from the main group to move forward.

Given that the Talent Accelerator exists, we want to complement this programme not duplicate it.

Following on JP’s point on work experience, requirements can vary wildly: a T-level student for one day a week for the duration of a course is very different to one-two weeks for a GCSE pupil. It would be useful to explore how work experience requests can be better co-ordinated and defined. However, the number of actors (including independent training providers) involved mean there is not a quick, nor simple solution that all will use. The larger the group, the more weight there is to apply leverage to lobby for change.

Not everyone has capacity for a large commitment. Some employers may not work directly on creating a SWAP (Sector-based Work Academy Programme, a DWP course) but could agree to interview candidate at the end for example.

 SH felt that as freelancers/small employers, contributing to projects is more appealing and understandable. She said that it can be volatile with the need to take paid work/deadlines, she had last minute withdrawals for an event recently. Some people may also find the concept of ‘membership’ daunting.

SS noted a key skills gap is ‘how to be a creative freelancer’. This is from understanding taxes to pitching for work and auditions.

KBy said that currently there is ‘not enough engagement from creative employers’ to make events worthwhile. The TA includes advice on self-employment. The TA is specifically aimed at young people in education. The group could work alongside supporting older adults who may be changing career or looking to work for themselves.

JP stated that the key is to have more employers. SBu agreed as ‘employers listen to employers.’ SS noted, although she may not be directly involved in the initiatives, ‘there is no point in meeting unless sign up to some initiatives.’

Agreed that members take forward getting more employers on-board to start.

ACTION 5: Discuss methods of engaging and reaching more employers - JP/SS/SBu

SH, AP, KP, KBy are happy to help and promote this as well.


4. Future Skills Survey

MW introduced the survey commissioned by East Sussex County Council. The deadline has been extended, so people still have time to complete it. He gave some headlines common across sectors. He then asked for the group’s views on the following topics:

Net Zero, Brexit and Covid, New Technology and digital skills needs, the cost-of-living crisis. Some highlights below.

  • On Net Zero:
  • Difficulty to calculate carbon footprint of hardware and software
  • Digital storage has a carbon impact which is often overlooked
  • Those working digitally may not travel much, but those filming on location, touring performers and other will need to do so
  • Not enough hardware (mobiles, laptops, tablets) is built to last or be fixed or upgraded by the end user even if they want to
  • Funding change is not always possible, the Towner used additional capital funding to introduce LED lighting.

On Brexit and Covid, and cost of living increases:

  • Many cultural and creative venues are also hospitality destinations
  • The spend on food and drink is often integral to the business model
  • Being able to tour and obtain visas is more complex and
  • Visit Britain forecasts that overseas visitor numbers will not recover to pre-pandemic levels for another four years
  • Reduced disposable incomes and the war in Ukraine will have exacerbated matters
  • However, there is an appetite to go to venues to get away from concerns
  • Supply chain issues – non-reflective glass availability has delayed exhibition openings for example
  • Volunteer numbers have fallen since the pandemic
  • Lots of vacancies, particularly in hospitality which is covered at the Visitor & Cultural Economy Group.

On New Technology and digital skills needs and future gazing:

  • Many creative and cultural jobs are those ‘least likely to be replaced by a robot’
  • There are now sophisticated ‘chat bots’ and machine authors, singers and others
  • Celebrating human creativity is still very important
  • Rather than be replaced, digital creatives will need to ‘work out how to use these tools’ to ‘empower [them] to do the job better’
  • There is a need for more developers and coders
  • Funding focusses on young people; there needs to be more on career changers/re-training, especially beyond level 3.

In response to KBy’s query, AP advised that there has been, and continues to be engagement with employers on what they want from the Digital Centres of Excellence.

SS advised that Sussex Modern is about sustainable tourism. There are balances to be reached on accessibility (locations lacking in public transport), costs (electric vehicle charging points) and other issues of exclusion (digital only pay for parking options on arrival). Travel remains key for culture, it ‘broadens the mind’ and it needs to continue.

Schools/colleges also report the need for face-to-face interactions. Young people miss these, and it helps with social and work skills development.

5. AOB/Date of Next Meeting

CH advised that Chalk Eastbourne will be holding ‘Digifest’ in March. This event will showcase local digital businesses. Date and more information to follow.

 The group name will be revised to ‘Creative, Cultural, Digital and Media’ to better reflect performing arts/cultural creatives.

 JP and SS confirmed they would like to go with a March date for the next meeting. This gives more time to engage employers. This meeting will be online. However, face to face meetings going forward will be considered (June and September) but there needs to be a rationale for these.

Next meeting, 27th March 2023 at 2.30-4pm on MS Teams.

Attendees and apologies


  • JP, Julian Perrott , BarkWeb Limited, Task Group Chair
  • AP, Andrew Pritchard, Bexhill College, Assistant Principal
  • CH, Carrie Hall, Switchplane
  • JC, Jackie Church, National Careers Service (CXK) Regional Manager
  • KBy, Kim Byford, De La Warr Pavilion, Talent Accelerator Project Manager
  • KP, Katie Parris, East Sussex College Group, Account Manager
  • RFr, Ruth Francis, East Sussex Careers Hub, Effective Transitions Manager
  • RH, Ruth Hopkins [part], DWP, Employer Adviser Hastings and Bexhill
  • SH, Sarah Hinks, Culture Shift


  • DM, Donnalyn Morris, Project Officer Skills and Employment Strategy Team ESCC – Minutes
  • SBu, Stephen Burkes, ESCC, Employability and Skills Project Manager


  • CH, Catherine Orbach, Culture Shift, Co-Director

    EC, Ellen Cuerva, East Sussex College Group, ESIF Project Manager

  • HA, Holly Aquilina, Employability and Skills Strategy Manager ESCC
  • HC, Henry Clayson, East Sussex Careers Hub, Project Assistant
  • MS, Margaret Sheehy, MSL Projects
  • SH, Samantha Hornsby,
  • VP, Vanessa Potter, SCTP, Executive Director
  • WC, Will Callaghan, Tech Resort, CEO


  • MW, Matthew Williams, Institute for Employment Studies, Senior Researcher