"What are the barriers to growth?" South West Creative Industries Conference 2017

May 25, 2017

Earlier this month, Roger Proctor was invited to speak at the Creative Industries Conference, held this year in Exeter. https://www.creativeinnovationcentre.co.uk/workshops/south-west-creative-industries-conference-3rd-may-2017-to-bolster-sector/

The event was aimed at business owners and CEO’s of digital and communication companies based in Devon and Somerset, Higher and Further Education and Local Government. This ‘mini-conference’ was an opportunity to discuss the future business needs of the creative industries sector, with feedback from the conference used to inform the government’s strategy for investment, for the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership http://www.heartofswlep.co.uk/ It was also able to offer attendees a chance to understand today’s landscape and how their ideas can affect the future.

Roger’s presentation asked the question “what are the barriers to growth?” in which he looked at how the growth of digital at twice the rate of non-digital, means that demand is outstripping supply. Roger explained that what we are experiencing is a lack of relevant vocational education, which in turn is selling students and industry short. Apprenticeships are just not able to cover it all quick enough.

There is a real need to reignite a coordinated creative industries strategy across the South West. Local Enterprise Partnerships will need to cooperate to develop a coherent regional strategy that makes sense for the industry. One suggestion was to franchise out the Design Council ‘brand’ across the regions so creating LOCAL design councils and LOCAL design centres.

Given the positive and relatively high productivity of the design sector, is it not unreasonable to talk of a 'design-led' approach to raising productivity in the South West?