This month, we hosted our national conference bringing together leaders in the creative industries, further education educators and employers under a common goal; to equip the next generation of creative pioneers with the skills and experience to ensure the industry worth £71.4 billion as a proportion of GDP, and the fastest growing in the UK, remains world class.
We were thrilled that the Creative Industries Minister, Ed Vaizey MP, was able to join us at the event and pledge his support to boosting youth employment opportunities in the sector.
The Minister highlighted the importance of the world-beating creative industries that contribute £8 million an hour to the UK economy. This is so often over-looked, as are our cultural events, with thousands flocking to the UK on an annual basis to gaze at the collections at museums and galleries or to camp out at our many festivals over the summer.
No other sector can claim to have captured the world's attention quite like our creative industries - and if there's one thing that binds and connects this culture it's that Britain's youth play a pivotal role.
Despite this, it remains harder than ever for young people to break into a sector that has garnered a reputation as being reliant on Arts Council subsidies, with unpaid labour an all too common first step on the ladder into employment.
Just earlier this week, David Morrissey was reported saying that if things continue the way they are, there aren't going to be any working-class actors in the future because the public-school educated are dominating the sector through their own contacts and access to family finance.
This is clearly starting to resonate throughout the sector. At our conference, we found 62 per cent of our delegates believed sustainable employment for the next generation to be the most important focus for the creative sector. In our eyes, this is absolutely key and without a recruitment system worthy of the 21st century, the UK's days at the top of the creative table are certainly numbered.
At Creative & Cultural Skills, we launched our national campaign Building a Creative Nation last November, which aims to create 50,000 fairly paid and equally accessible jobs in the creative sector in 1,000 days.
A diverse workforce for the industry enables the widest range of people to be involved in the creative and cultural sectors. After all, young people are the lifeblood of the creative industries, where new ideas and innovation are at a premium.
Government ministers and leaders of the nation's great cultural institutions hold up the economic contribution of our arts and creative sectors, but now is the time to turn this rhetoric into reality by ensuring that the sector's recruitment practices are also world class.
To pledge your support and invest in future talent, please visit: http://ccskills.org.uk/supporters/support-us