Creative Skillset launches Diversity Fund

Creative Skillset launches diversity fundCreative Skillset opened applications Monday (28 July) to the 900 bursaries it is able to distribute in England through its Diversity Fund. The scheme will provide skills and training funding for people with disabilities, people from BAME and women.

The scheme will also ensure that skills are obtained nationwide (so not just in London) and aims to promote equal opportunities - such as getting more women in senior levels.

Training costs are limited to £1200 rising to £1600 for people with a disability.

Both freelancers and employees can apply for training through the scheme until February 2015 and need to have a minimum of one year's experience in the industry. To demonstrate their commitment applicants must pay 20% of the training costs themselves.

Currently statistics show a shocking representation of 5.4% employment for people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds and as low as 4% employment of people with disabilities, as well as a continued imbalance in gender representation across different creative sectors.

A leadership scheme for LGBT creative professionals will be developed by Creative Skillset later in the year, in partnership with InterMedia, the LGBT network group for people working in the media.

Jo Welch, diversity and inclusion manager at Creative Skillset and a member of Creative Skillset's Diversity Champions Group, said: "This scheme will help to stimulate diversity especially around management, leadership, business and entrepreneurial skills. So far employers have been really positive to the cause, especially the bigger ones, but we still have a long way to go."

"As efforts are made to make workplace and recruitment practices more inclusive, we hope this fund will enable individuals to take up new opportunities that may arise for them, and to sustain their skills at a high enough level to take the next steps in their careers. More diversity at senior levels and in creative roles is an ambition we hope to help to achieve."

The fund is part of a bigger drive by the collective creative industries and the government to develop more talent to ensure the UK maintains its position as "world leader for the creative industries" and has a more diverse workforce.

Professionals looking to apply to Creative Skillset's Diversity Fund can do so on the organisation's website.