London Higher response to the publication of the At risk: our creative future report

London Higher welcomes the recent House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee’s report At Risk: Our Creative Future, which highlights, through compelling data and evidence, the value of the creative sector to the UK economy. London represented 31% of Creative Industries employment, 34% of businesses and 52% of economic output (GVA) (DCMS 2022DCMS 2021aDCMS 2021b) in 2019 despite being home to 13% of the British population (ONS 2021).

As the report points out, the creative industries alone contributed more to the UK economy in 2019 than the aerospace, automotive and life science industries combined. This gives the lie to the narrative, sadly adopted by successive education ministers and latterly by the Office for Students, that courses preparing students for creative jobs are somehow ‘low value’. They are, if anything, key to unlocking the enormous value that the creative sector creates, whether that value be economic, cultural or societal.

London Higher cautioned against the ‘low value’ terminology in our 2021 ‘Winning Arts and Minds’ report, on the same grounds as are given in this report: undermining the very courses that develop the pipeline for the creative sector is no way to attract the brightest (and most diverse) talent into it.

With respect to the talent pipeline, the At Risk report makes important recommendations regarding the need for improved careers advice and guidance in creative discipline areas and for post-16 training that meets the skills gaps identified by industry. We are pleased to be playing our part in addressing advice and guidance deficits through our involvement in the Uni Connect programme in London as well as delivering screen sector training via our role in the Mayor’s Creative Academy. Both initiatives are targeted towards Londoners who are currently underrepresented in the creative industries, to ensure that the sector’s growth – which this report wants to see sit at the heart of the UK’s economic growth plans – is an opportunity for all.