Philippa Childs joins expert panel at Labour Creatives Conference to discuss Labour’s Sector Plan

15 March 2024

This week, Head of Bectu Philippa Childs spoke on a panel of industry experts, chaired by Chair of the Governing Council at Goldsmiths, Dinah Caine, at the Labour Creatives Conference to discuss skills, careers and opportunities in the creative industries. Panellists included Shadow Secretary of State for Education Bridget Phillipson MP, Director of National Saturday Club Paul Allnutt and Chief People, Inclusion and Culture Specialist at All Things People and Talent, Arit Eminue MBE.

The conference opened with Labour leader Keir Starmer outlining Labour’s plan for the creative industries, and announcing a number of commitments, including a plan to reform the apprenticeship levy to a Growth and Skills levy and improved rights for freelancers. He also talked about the current Government’s failure to make arrangements with the EU to resolve the issues which are a barrier to touring in Europe for artists and crew.

Bectu welcomes Labour’s sector plan and its commitment to reform the apprenticeship levy. A responsible government must foster skills and long-term, sustainable jobs in the sector, and a much more agile and modular approach will give workers the skills they need across all creative sectors.

The panel involving Philippa discussed the importance for the Sector of more flexible apprenticeships and skills support through careers and the need for collaboration between government and industry to ensure that creative skills are encouraged in education from a young age and that opportunity exists across the UK.

Philippa spoke about the importance of skills retention, highlighting the tens of thousands of freelancers that work in often in precarious conditions. She welcomed Labour’s commitment to reforming apprenticeships and reviewing the curriculum to advance creative education but said that there needed to be a bigger conversation about support for the freelance workforce in situations like the current crisis facing film and TV workers.

The second panel focused on finance and investment in the creative industries, chaired by Caroline Norbury from Creative UK and involving Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves MP, who discussed the economic value and soft power of the sector, and Labour’s economic plan to incentivise workers and businesses in the creative industries. There were some really interesting and thought-provoking contributions from panellists, including CEO of Goldsmiths, Annie Warburton, CEO of UKIE, Sam Collins and Chair of BBC Commercial Board, Sir Damon Buffini.

The final panel, chaired by Dame Gail Rebuck, Chair of Penguin Random House, discussed the international reach of the UK creative industries, and how to grow and fully exploit the countries cultural soft power. Panellists included Shadow Secretary of State for Culture Thangam Debbonaire MP, CEO of BAFTA, Jane Millichip, Artist and Designer, Es Devlin and General Secretary of the Musicians Union, Naomi Pohl.

Closing the conference, the Shadow Culture Secretary celebrated collaboration between industry experts and politicians and pledged to ‘make the creative industries central to a decade of national renewal, and a key driver of economic growth’.