The UK Government has announced £20 million in funding to 'boost creative industries across England', including new funding for the Digital Schoolhouse and UK Games Fund.

Announced by Minister for the Creative Industries Margot James late last week, the UK Government's new £20 million funding package is dominated by a Creative Careers Programme to be led by industry with the aim of bringing industry figures into schools and colleges to boost awareness of the employment opportunities in the creative sectors. Aiming to reach 160,000 students by 2020 and provide improved career advice for around two million young people, the programme eats up £14 million of the £20 million funding package total.

Other big winners from the deal include a £4 million programme to scale up creative enterprises in the West of England, Greater Manchester, and the West Midlands, along with an additional £2 million to the existing Get It Right campaign which educates consumers on copyright infringement to extend it through to 2021.

'Millions of people around the world enjoy our world-class creative and cultural output every day and we want to stay as a frontrunner in these vibrant sectors,' claims James of the new funding. 'Our creative industries are a vital part of the economy, contributing over £100 billion to the economy so it is important we maintain the pipeline of talent. This package will take the sector from strength to strength by arming the next generation of creatives with the necessary skills and giving businesses in the sector the support they need to succeed.'

The UK's games industry, by contrast, gets a considerably lower chunk of the total dedicated to its specific needs: £200,000 is being provided to the Digital Schoolhouse programme run by Ukie, formerly the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment, with a view to expanding it to cover a total of 50 schools by September 2019 and reach an additional 7,000 pupils over the coming academic year; and £190,000 for the UK Games Fund to build on the Pitch Development Programme with assistance for start-up companies to receive £25,000 grants.

The move has been welcomed by trade bodies, with the Independent Game Developers' Association (TIGA)'s chief executive Dr. Richard Wilson stating: 'We are happy to see the Government's efforts to increase diversity within the sector's workforce. As a result, we will be able to access a pool of fresh creative talent in an industry that now contributes more than £100 billion to the UK economy. The continued success of the video games industry depends on having access to creative, skilled workers. By upskilling those from a wide range of backgrounds, we can ensure that workers are coming into the video games sector with different perspectives. However, the Government could still do more to support growth within industry and attract talent from overseas. We want to see the introduction of a Games Investment Fund to improve developers' access to finance and a liberal migration regime that allows the industry to maintain access to the best and brightest talent from abroad post-Brexit.'


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