There are three sector skills councils which are of immediate interest to the Digital Content Sector:
eSkills – covering the skills for Business and Information Technology
Creative and Cultural Skills – which have a remit for Design, Music and Creativity
Skillset – specifically for the Creative Media Industry
So, what are the Sector Skills Councils?
The Sector Skills Councils are government funded organisations which are employer-driven – they are meant to have representatives from industry on their panels – and meant to articulate the voices of the employers of around 90% of the UK’s workforce. They are limited in that they are UK-wide organisations and by necessity take the 20 000 ft view and tend to be lobbied most heavily by large companies.
Skillset have asked the Industry in the UK to complete a census. We have just been notified of the Census and there is only a week until the Census closes. As a result I would like to insist that the province, through the Digital Circle, ensure that our voice is heard.
The web site for the survey isn’t great – being powered by one or other of the “online survey providers” (They use PerfectForms) – the scroll bars don’t work, the click targets are poor, the text boxes are badly sized and this is probably because the web, accessibility and usability are not the focus of the person creating the survey.
This belies a larger problem – the survey is being broadcasted to the Creative Media industry but 90% of the roles listed are titles involved in the production of film or television. This shows the inherent bias in Skillset. Now – this isn’t a criticism by any means – Skillset, and the Skillset Media Academies, focus on film and television because they always have. They recognise that there is a change underway (for example, people are now spending more time in front of an internet-connected computer than they ever did in front of the television) and the census makes some effort to recognise this.
So, as the Census is written on a hard to use, generic form, with very little detail on what it should be used for, and we’re already under-represented on the forms, why would the Creative Technology sector be interested in filling it in?
- The Census enables you to stand up and be counted. You therefore have a direct impact on how Skillset uses its funds to make sure we have a world class, highly trained workforce.
- The Census helps Skillset find out the breakdown of full-time employees and freelancers, can map that to time (and previous surveys) and see how the challenging economic conditions have changed things.
- The Census is open to web developers, software engineers, designers, animators, games publishers and other disciplines. If you don’t fill in the Census, you don’t exist in their eyes because they have no way of finding you. This means the Film/TV bias will continue.
Stand up and be counted!