Pwyllgor Diwylliant, Cyfathrebu, y Gymraeg, Chwaraeon, a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol

Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee


Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Alun Davies
Carolyn Thomas
Delyth Jewell Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair
Hefin David
Heledd Fychan
Tom Giffard

Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol

Others in Attendance

Clara Cullen Ymddiriedolaeth Lleoliadau Cerddoriaeth
Music Venues Trust
Dafydd Rhys Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru
Arts Council of Wales
Gillian Mitchell Celfyddydau Cenedlaethol Ieuenctid Cymru
National Youth Arts Wales
Justin Lewis Prifysgol Caerdydd
Cardiff University
Tom Ware Prifysgol De Cymru
University of South Wales

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Andrea Storer Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk
Lleu Williams Clerc
Robin Wilkinson Ymchwilydd
Sara Moran Ymchwilydd

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Cyfarfu’r pwyllgor yn y Senedd a thrwy gynhadledd fideo.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:33.

The committee met in the Senedd and by video-conference.

The meeting began at 09:33.

1. Cyflwyniadau, ymddiheuriadau a dirprwyon
1. Introductions, apologies and substitutions

Bore da. Hoffwn groesawu'r Aelodau i gyfarfod y Pwyllgor Diwylliant, Cyfathrebu, y Gymraeg, Chwaraeon a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol. Oes gan unrhyw Aelodau fuddiannau i'w datgan? Dwi ddim yn gweld bod yna.

Good morning. May I welcome Members to this meeting of the Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee? Do Members have any declarations of interest? I don't believe there are any declarations. 

2. Yr heriau sy’n wynebu gweithlu’r diwydiant creadigol: Sesiwn dystiolaeth gydag academyddion
2. Challenges facing the creative industry workforce: Evidence session with academics

Felly, fe wnawn ni symud yn syth at eitem 2. Rydym ni'n edrych ar yr heriau sydd yn wynebu gweithlu'r diwydiant creadigol. Mae gynnon ni sesiwn dystiolaeth gydag academyddion. Yn gyntaf, mi wnaf ofyn i'r tystion i gyflwyno'u hunain ar gyfer y record. Mi wnaf i fynd at yr Athro Justin Lewis yn gyntaf. 

So, we will move immediately to item 2, where we will be looking at the challenges facing the creative industry workforce. We have an evidence session with academics. I will, first of all, ask our witnesses to introduce themselves for the record, and we'll start with Professor Justin Lewis. 

Hi, everybody. I'm Justin Lewis. I'm a professor at Cardiff University in the School of Journalism, Media and Culture, but I'm also director of Clwstwr and director of Media Cymru. 

Diolch am hwnna. Fe wnawn ni fynd at Tom Ware nesaf. 

Thank you. And now Tom Ware. 

Hello, morning. I'm Tom Ware. I'm the associate dean at the faculty of creative industries at the University of South Wales in Cardiff, but I also work as one of the partners on Media Cymru with Justin. 

Diolch. Mae'n hyfryd i gael y ddau ohonoch chi gyda ni y bore yma. Fe wnawn ni symud yn syth at gwestiynau, ac fe wnawn ni fynd yn gyntaf at Alun Davies. 

Thank you. It's wonderful to have you both with us this morning. We'll move immediately to questions, and we'll move to Alun Davies. 

I'm grateful to you for joining us this morning. One of the things that I saw during the pandemic was a number of different issues emerging within the creative industries, if you like, workforce, mainly, as far as I could see, around freelancers and the position of freelancers. We know that one of the things that's happened in the industry over the last couple of decades is that it has become increasingly based on freelance work rather than formal employment. That sort of casualisation, if you like, has done a number of different things over the years, both good and bad, I think, in lots of different ways. But what seemed to me to be really difficult was the position that freelancers found themselves in during the pandemic, and the Government seemed to be at something of a loss. It didn't really understand how to deal with freelancers. Would that be fair? Would it be a fair analysis? Have freelancers recovered, if you like, as a sector, as a group of individuals, over the last year or 18 months?


Shall I kick off, Tom? Tom will have a lot, I think, to say on this. I think that diagnosis is absolutely correct. I mean, actually, it starts very much at the point of data collection, in fact, because if you look at the UK and compare the UK with other countries in Europe, we are unusual in that freelancers don't register in a lot of our data about employment. So, whenever we're doing an analysis of employment in the creative industries, we completely lose freelancers because they're not there in the data sets. That's not true in other European countries. It is true in the UK. And that means that they are overlooked often.

I think you're absolutely right—they are a particularly vulnerable part of the sector, for all kinds of obvious reasons. You're also right that they're a very big part of the creative sector—the creative sector absolutely relies on a very large freelance workforce. But, yes, they are vulnerable in all kinds of ways, and I think that they're also—. They do an amazing job. They're flexible or adaptable in all kinds of ways. But it's really important that they have access to opportunities that allow them to become small companies and to become medium-sized companies, and that there is a pipeline for them, rather than them having to worry every day about where the next commission is coming from. I think that's a structural issue that I think we need to think about.

In terms of Government support, the UK Government certainly did miss out on supporting freelancers in the creative sector during COVID. That's undoubtedly true. The Welsh Government, to its huge credit, did try and offer support here, and did a really good job. It didn't cover everything and there were holes in that, but nonetheless it was good to see that effort being made, because it was a big gap in the UK Government provision.

Can I come back on that, very quickly? You say they were holes in it, and the Welsh Government weren't able to cover everything. Can you explain to us where those holes were, and what your analysis is of why the Government weren't able to cover everything? What I'm trying to get at is does the Government understand what's going on in the sector.

I think, in parts of Government, yes. I think the emergence of Creative Wales is really useful here, because I think, at Creative Wales, there is an understanding of freelancers and the working conditions that they have. This of course happened in the very early days of Creative Wales. But, inevitably with a lot of these schemes, there are bureaucratic hurdles, particularly for early career freelancers, who were in a particularly difficult position, I think, in terms of their eligibility for the scheme. But, you know, this was early days, if you like, for Creative Wales. They had only recently been launched. I think they did a pretty good job in the circumstances, given what was going on, and I think prevented what could have been significant numbers of freelancers leaving the sector. But, Tom, you may have some more to add on this.

Yes, just to say that, obviously, the sector has historically relied on a significant number of freelancers. Currently, I think it's somewhere like 76 per cent in the last estimation. I think surveys would probably lead to a stronger estimation. Seventy-six per cent of the workforce in the sector are either freelancers or working in very, very small SMEs. And I think that the interesting thing, as Justin said, is that they're incredibly difficult to track as workers within the sector, because a lot of freelancers move between different job descriptions. They move between being freelancers and working as sole traders or working for small companies.

Anecdotally, the Welsh Government support was very welcome during COVID, and I think what we've seen since COVID has been an acceleration of what was happening anyway, which is that freelancers with in-demand skills, such as editors, which is a really good example, or production managers, have seen significant increases in their rates and also in the demand upon them. So, if you're an in-demand freelancer within the sector—it was always the case but it's been absolutely exacerbated by the pandemic and by the recovery of the sector since then—you've seen your daily rate, your income, really grow hugely over the last few years, and also the amount of work that you're being offered. So, there have been some advantages to being a freelancer in the sector, but obviously the uncertainty regarding that in that particular role is apparent and, obviously, you're very much at the whims of the market in that respect. So, there have been some benefits to being a freelancer in the sector, but I think, as Justin pointed out, particularly for early years freelancers—so, the first five years, really, in a career—the pandemic hit them extremely hard and has led to a lot of people either not re-engaging with the sector or perhaps reconsidering their options. 


But that's always true, isn't it? I've worked as a freelancer and sometimes work comes, sometimes it doesn't. Such is life, and that's part of the choice that an individual makes. What I'm interested in—. We've discussed the impact of the pandemic, but I was wondering if you could give us as a committee a wider overview of where you believe the workforce is at the moment, looking back over the last, say, decade, and looking forward to the next decade, if that's possible. I use those timelines because I don't want to just focus on individual issues but a broader overview of the sector and some of the challenges facing it. 

Tom, do you want to go?

Yes, just to say that, obviously, what we've seen in Wales in the last decade has been a huge boom in high-end drama production. So, it's really the screen industries. The growth of the screen industries in Wales has been significant, and that's been led almost entirely by high-end drama production, the inward investment of what we call SVOD, subscription video on demand, so, streaming service providers, people like Netflix, Amazon, but also the BBC and Channel 4's commitment to the nations and regions has seen a big growth in the sector. It was obviously hit by the pandemic, but it recovered very quickly after about three months where everything stopped in 2020. And that boom is continuing. If you look at some of the studies, a BFI study recently is suggesting that there is going to be an extra 20,000 workers needed within the sector in the next five years. Even a low forecast there is saying 15,000, so—

So—. Excuse me. Excuse me. Fifteen thousand or 20,000 is a good number, isn't it, but what would they be doing? Where are these numbers?

So, that's across the board in terms of high-end drama production. So, it's a combination of different skills, such as the skills connected to studio production. So, it might be set construction, it might be vocational skills like that, but also television production, directors, editors, cameramen, crews, costume—all the associated jobs connected to drama production in a studio. 

So, we've seen that as well as a commitment in terms of what is called unscripted production. So, factual production has grown within Wales as a direct result of Channel 4 and BBC's increased commitment to production in the nations. We've seen that happen.

In terms of the broader creative industries, and it's not an area that I know so much about, but the music industry has been impacted heavily by the pandemic, particularly the live music industry. Obviously, the music industry was reliant on recordings to make money, and then it shifted the way it made money towards the live industry, and obviously the live industry was hit very badly by COVID. So, I think that's going to take much longer to recover. But, certainly in terms of the screen industry, I think it's very healthy, generally speaking. I think that the number of production companies operating within Wales has grown significantly. Many of those are smaller companies; many of those are reliant on traditional broadcasters—the BBC, Channel 4, S4C—for the majority of their work. And then you have the incoming production companies that come in to make drama production. So, that's really the general picture, I think.


I'd just agree very much with what Tom said. I think it's a mixed picture across the creative industries, as Tom indicated. I think, in film and tv, we've seen expansion, and great expansion in Wales. Wales is a huge success story in that sector, and really going from strength to strength and is becoming now, I think, seen as a kind of global powerhouse in the UK. It's now the third biggest employer of film and tv—the Cardiff capital region—in the UK, after London and Manchester. It's overtaken a number of other cities. And all of its growth indicators are really, really strong. So, a very positive picture on that front.

The music industry is very different—all the underlying trends in the music industry are bad. The shift towards streaming services has taken a huge amount of money out of the music industry. COVID was obviously a massive blow as well. So, I think the music industry is struggling and will continue to struggle until we find other economic models to support the music industry.

So, there are differences, I think, across the creative industries, depending on the way, I guess, that digital disruption has impacted different sectors, because it is different across the piece. So, I think there are a lot of positives here, but I would say that it's fragile. And one of the things that Tom and I are keen to work on, through Clwstwr and through Media Cymru, is to try and decrease the fragility in the creative sector. It is a sector that relies on freelancers, and those that aren't freelancers tend to be small companies: 96 per cent of companies in the creative industries in Wales are small companies. So, they're very vulnerable; they don't necessarily have the capacity to innovate, to do research and development to enable them to grow. What we've been about in Clwstwr and what we're about in Media Cymru is trying to provide that support to do that.

And I guess another positive is that we're in a fortunate position in Wales in that we've been given—the largest UK Research and Innovation award ever given to the creative industries has been given to us in Wales. So, that's a nice boost. That enables us to do some work, but that's something we need to build on.

I'm grateful to you both for that. [Interruption.] Sorry, can I just pursue one of these threads, please? It's always good to hear—and, frankly, we don't hear it very often from witnesses—of that level of success and growth, it would seem, in the economy. I think that's a very positive thing. I'd like to ask you both for the reasons for that, because one of the things that I found very striking in your analysis was that you spoke about the different streaming services and the rest of it. What you didn't major on were the more traditional structures, if you like, and pillars of the industry. You didn't really mention the BBC or ITV or S4C, and I'm interested as to what has led to this success. Has it been the actions of Government? Has it been the deliberate actions of broadcasters or streamers, or has it been chance?

I think on—

Justin, forgive me for interrupting you, but if I could appeal to you for as brief an answer as possible, because I'm afraid—I know that this is very important—we're going to have to move on in a moment. Forgive me interrupting.

Okay. Just very quickly from me, you're absolutely right: those broadcasters are pivotal. I think Tom indicated that in his previous answer. They are pivotal. I think that the move, the policy move, those broadcasters made towards more commissioning outside London and the south-east has been also pivotal. So, I think there are a number of structural conditions that have been really important here. The role of Channel 4 is also really pivotal and that's worth mentioning, just because of the prospect, potential prospect, of privatisation, which I can only see as having negative impacts on Channel 4's investment in the region. I can't see any positive impacts at all coming from that. So, the PSBs provide a crucial base for this. We've probably majored a bit more on the SVODs because they explain some of the obvious expansion, but that base is absolutely crucial.

Yes, the SVOD growth is absolutely at the moment within the broadly Cardiff capital region, so, if you step outside the Cardiff capital region and look at the rest of Wales, it's still heavily reliant on the PSBs, particularly, obviously, on S4C, for Welsh-medium content, but also on the BBC. So, if you look at clusters in north Wales and in west Wales, they're almost totally reliant on those broadcasters. The growth of inward investment from the streaming services is really restricted to the capital city region.


Thank you for that.

Mi wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Heledd Fychan.

We'll move on now to Heledd Fychan.

Diolch yn fawr iawn, a bore da i chi i gyd. 

Thank you very much, and good morning to all of you.

I just wanted to follow on further from some of the points you've been raising already. You've mentioned some of the ways you're involved in terms of supporting the sector, but what further role do you think private and public organisations have in tackling poor pay, precarious work and problematic working conditions?

It's a great question, and it's one that I know Tom and I often discuss. It is an issue, there's no doubt about that, and I think, when we look at skills as an issue—and Tom will have a lot to say on this, because he's kind of leading efforts in this area—there's no doubt that part of the skills problem is to do with people leaving the sector because working conditions are stressful, long hours, all sorts of practices that are not, if you like, conducive to a kind of workforce that's stable and supported and trained and developed. So, yes, those are real issues, and I think we need to work together to tackle them, because I don't think it's down to any particular one employer, because it's a structural issue. If commissions work in a certain kind of way, then independent companies are forced to respond in a certain kind of way. So, I think it's a structural issue that needs to be addressed. It's complicated; it's not a simple one, but I do think it does need addressing. But, Tom, I know that you'll have a lot of thoughts on this.

There are a number of different issues here, obviously, as Justin highlighted, particularly in television. The business model is based, essentially, on short-term commissioning—so, a broadcaster or distributor will commission a series for delivery or a programme for delivery—and the timescale one that is always concertinaed. It's always very short. It's very rare that you get long-term commissions or repeat commissions given easily. So, most companies are working to very tight deadlines, those commissions happen very quickly, and they want turn around those series or productions very quickly, which means, of course, that they're always looking for staff at very short notice. So, again, employment practices obviously reflect that service industry culture, if you like, where it's very short-term, you're always looking for people to deliver something at short notice and therefore you often don't look beyond the immediate people who you've worked with before, or the people that you know, so there's a lot of word-of-mouth hiring and firing as a result of that.

More generally speaking, I think what happens with freelance culture is that it tends to calcify people's skills. Once somebody becomes—. If you become very good at a particular role, and that role is much in demand, obviously, the opportunities, or the necessity, for you to upskill or change your skill set is reduced. But also the time, the capacity, that you have to engage with skills and training programmes is lessened, and we find that there are actually a lot of skills and training programmes within the sector offered by different organisations, but the take-up isn't always that great, particularly among freelancers, who don't have the time or the capacity to take some of those.

So, I think what's needed is a much more connected, much more structured approach to skills and training that allows people to engage with it; I think a much more joined-up approach, if you like, in terms of skills and training providers; and also for broadcasters, commissioners, to take maybe more of a responsibility to the sector in terms of longer-term commissions, particularly in repeat returnable series, of which we now—. Thanks to the changes in commissioning, we make a lot of returnable series for the BBC and for S4C in Wales—and Channel 4—so, the opportunity is there to create much more kind of longer production structures that allow people to upskill people within their own companies, but also to train people for the long term.

So, again, it's a very nimble sector of the economy, and that's obviously one of its strengths. I'm sure we'll always be heavily reliant on freelance work, because the incentive is there to do that, but, at the same time, especially as we move towards a world where technology means that, with things like the games sector and screen sector, there's a confluence of skills there, especially in studio production where new skills are needed, or, indeed, people who need to adapt their working practices to suit new templates, the opportunities are there to create much more of a ladder of skills and training that doesn't currently exist once you get into the industry. Obviously, we train people up at entry level, but those transferable skills and that upskilling within the industry is not really incentivised at the moment.


Just to follow up on that, can I ask who do you think should be leading on co-ordinating that work? Obviously, you've mentioned that there are a lot of different players and there needs to be collaboration if we are to change things. So, who do you think should take a leading role in ensuring that happens?

I think it needs to be a joint effort. Can I just give an example of that? One of the things that we're doing at Media Cymru is working with the BBC, and we just launched this literally last week. What we're doing is a joint commissioning process with them where what we're going to be able to fund is the R&D innovation stage prior to the content commissioning. So, we will fund independent companies to do R&D to try and think about how they might develop their IP around a specific bit of content. If you can create a new format, that is much more valuable than simply creating content that's a one-off, shown once, and that's something we need to do more here. But we'll be funding that alongside the BBC, who will then commission the work that comes out of it. So, it's a piece of commissioning that has innovation, training, skills development built into it that gives independent companies more time to develop. So, that's a kind of mixed approach.

Yes, if I may. I think that's a great example, but in terms of who should lead—. Because that's obviously Media Cymru in partnership, and I'm sure there are countless other examples. But is there a key role? Is it Creative Wales? Is there someone—or is it the broadcasters—who should be leading on ensuring that there's a strategic approach, rather than individual fantastic things happening or collaborations?

Probably it's Government in collaboration with the broadcasters. I think that would be the place where you'd start.

Great. Thank you. If I may just ask about one strand in terms of the evidence you've submitted via Media Cymru. We've already covered things like the challenging working conditions, but there was a specific reference to workplace bullying, as well. I'm just wondering how can we tackle this. Do you think it's as a result of the working conditions and some of the things that you've emphasised in terms of the commissioning cycles and so on? How huge a problem is this in terms of people perhaps leaving the industry or in terms of how they feel at work?

Workplace bullying obviously exist within the industry. Anecdotally, you hear about that. I think what's more pressing for people are what you consider to be unreasonable working practices. People work very, very long hours, especially when they're working on set, on location. There's a rigidity to the working structures there that pressurises people. For instance, a good example would be if you've got small children and you're working in a studio where you're working 16-hour days. The studio might have a nursery on site, but if you don't actually get to see your children at all, it's immaterial where the nursery is. I think that the industry recognises that there are practices within it that need to be addressed, and those practices inhibit people, as well, I think, from a broader range of social backgrounds entering and remaining within the industry. So, it needs to do that, but I don't know, or I have no evidence to suggest, that bullying per se is widespread. It's more about practices that have been accepted, possibly, particularly in terms of these very pressurised drama productions where people work extremely long hours over considerable amounts of time. I think that is a real inhibitor to people remaining within the industry.


Diolch am hwnna. Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen nawr at Hefin David.

Thank you for that. We'll move on now to Hefin David.

My questions are on equality, diversity and inclusion. It's a very broad area and very difficult to do more than scratch the surface in a couple of questions. But, my opening question would be: there are people who would benefit from being involved in the creative industries, who would be talented in the creative industries, but they are the ones who would find it hardest to access, so what is being done to help people in those circumstances?

I think an awful lot more needs to be done to help people in those circumstances, and I think it's something that we as a university are very, very keen to promote and keen to act on, firstly with localised training and skills provision.

Transport is a big issue within the screen industry, as it is in other industries. Most dramas film on location, those locations are not accessible by public transport, most people are required to arrive at those locations very early in the morning. So, if you haven't got your own car and the ability to drive, that already is a huge inhibitor, especially at entry level. I see it with my students and graduates all the time. They're offered fantastic opportunities to work on these productions, and if they haven't got a car or access to transport it's just—. And that's within Cardiff. Once you go up to north Wales, you can imagine that's exacerbated hugely by the fact that everything's much more drawn out. So, that's one issue. I think there have already been some initiatives to deal with that. There was a transport fund announced by ScreenSkills through BFI last year that was piloted on one production. So, there is that.

But, more longer term, I think there needs to be much more of a real analysis of employment practices, of hiring practices as well. Because again, the short-termism of the industry works against employing people from broader, diverse backgrounds. When I say 'diverse backgrounds', really I mean lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Obviously, that's reflected in the ethnic diversity of people, but it's people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who find that inhibiting. So, I think we need much more transparent ways of employing people and a much more constructive approach to that.

We're looking at things like mentoring schemes, which we're really keen to promote at the moment. We're looking at ways that companies can take on work placements from our courses, or graduates directly from our courses. We're looking at how we can connect up with FE colleges in order to open up opportunities for students and entry-level talent to get into the industry. I think that's how we have to build up, from the ground upwards. 

I've worked in the screen industry for about 30 years and, over the course of my career, I've seen a lot of the ladders to opportunity that I had myself be taken away as companies have become much more focused, much more short term, and much more based on freelance talent. So, I think—

Can you just give some examples of those ladders? What are the ladders you mean?

I mean things like paid work placements—a key opportunity. If a work placement isn't paid, then obviously somebody from a low socioeconomic background can't take time off from their other job to do that. That's at entry level. Again, short-term contracts militate against people being able to move. We're lucky now in Wales that you can actually find employment within Wales. There was a time when, certainly in the screen industry, you would have to leave Wales to build your career. That doesn't happen anymore, but what does happen is people are asked to move at very short notice, to travel long distances to set, or to take up a new job, and there's no support for that. So, I think short-termism in terms of entry-level contracts is a real issue. And a commitment by the employers to upskill. Again, if somebody at a junior level is a freelancer, there is no commitment from the employer beyond the immediate. So, I think they're all things that people do experience now that I perhaps didn't experience. I think people at that level are being asked to work extremely long hours, to provide their own transport, and to have no job security in any way. I think all of those three things do prevent people from entering the industry, or remaining within it. 

Just before I move on to Justin, I just wonder—. Obviously, you're in a university position looking at this; what about if there are young people in school, aged 14 and 15, who are interested in this? Is it hard to access those kinds of people to encourage them to think about the creative industries? Are schools doing enough?


No, and we have really stepped up our outreach to try and—. We work with Screen Alliance Wales as one our partners, and Screen Alliance Wales have got a fantastic outreach programme to schools. I think, at the moment, we're in a strange situation where, for me, the number of opportunities particularly within the screen industries has grown hugely in the last few years, as we've said, with those BFI figures, but, actually, the number of students applying for our creative courses has dropped, and that's not just for us, that's across the board within Wales. That's really partly a result of the emphasis on STEM subjects that happened in schools, which is a long-term thing, but it's more specifically about educating teachers and careers advisers within schools to recognise this opportunity. So, we're engaged in a very broad programme to raise awareness within schools. Obviously, our focus is largely in south Wales, but, again, working with Screen Alliance Wales, we're working to do the same thing in north Wales, and to work with FE partners as well, because it's in everybody's interests to make sure that people are aware of the opportunities that exist within the screen industries.

That's really helpful. Justin, did you want to come in on anything there?

I absolutely agree with what Tom's just said. All I'd add is that it is something where, I think, with the right structural conditions, you can shift the dial a little bit. We're working very hard in Media Cymru to try and do that, we're working with Boom and Rondo around looking at ways to make the sector more inclusive, we're working with a company that are called Unquiet Media on looking at new issues around neurodiversity, we're working with Cardiff Productions on access across a range of different ethnic groups to the industry. So, these are, I think, things we can address.

Just one very quick story about our experience in Clwstwr. When we first started Clwstwr, which was all about innovation in the media sector, and we held our first ideas labs to encourage freelancers and others to come along and develop new ideas with us, 95 per cent of the people that showed up were male. And we realised that we've clearly got a problem in the way that we're doing things, so we shifted a lot of things. We shifted not only the way we communicated what we did, but also various structural conditions. It became clear that if you were going to get good freelancers to take part in these development opportunities, you had to pay them; you had to make sure that things like childcare were covered. And once we did all those things, the dial shifted completely. It went from 5 per cent female-led companies being involved to 50 per cent, to, by our last funding round, 66 per cent. So, structural things can be used to change these things. But, yes, I think the kinds of initiatives that Tom is talking about are absolutely necessary.

But also just to confirm, the working practices thing does need to shift in terms of employment and how people are employed within the industry. It needs to move towards the kind of employment practices that we would expect in Welsh Government, or in universities, where you would expect certain standards to allow equal opportunities for all.

And just so that we can understand how things may improve, how reliable is the data that we've got at the moment? Is it thorough and reliable and does it reflect what is going on, or do you think we need to improve our understanding of what's happening?

I think that there's always a big time lag with data. The big data sets, like the Fame database, essentially are looking at a two-year time lag in terms of when the data is collected, collated and presented, to knowing what's going on, which is a bit of a problem. It means we need to do one-off pieces of work. Tom is leading on this around skills. It does mean that that data collection is really important for us to know where we are, what's going on, what the problems are. And I'd say, at the moment, we have a lack of data in this area, rather than a surplus of it. 

Just to add to that—sorry, just to put in a plug—we've just launched, as part of Media Cymru, the screen workforce survey, which is a survey looking very specifically, for the first time, at the workforce, which includes games, but it's also very much driven by the workforce itself, rather than the employers. And our aim is to reach out very specifically to target the sizeable freelance element of the workforce and ask some quite challenging questions in terms of any hindrances they've had to upskilling within the industry, any reasons why they may have left the industry at any time. So, it's actually to dig beyond the basic census level of the some of the surveys that we—

When will you find it?


You’ll find it when we’ve actually completed the survey. The survey’s just gone live last week, it completes at Christmas, and then we should publish by March.

Wyt ti’n hapus i ni symud ymlaen, Hefin? Ocê, diolch am hwnna. Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Tom arall nawr, Tom Giffard.

Are you happy for us to move on, Hefin? Okay, thanks for that. We’ll move on to another Tom now, Tom Giffard.

Diolch yn fawr. Can I talk about skills and training? I wanted to ask about the Welsh Government’s creative skills action plan, and what your honest assessment of it is, and whether it identifies and mitigates gaps in skills and training.

I think the creative skills action plan is a good starting place for us, and in terms of laying out Creative Wales’s stall as areas that it would support. Obviously, it wouldn’t surprise you to learn that we’re bidding for some of the skills and training funding that has been identified by that.

I think the key thing for me is that skills and training—. The misconception among some people is that there’s a lack of skills and training. There’s an awful lot of skills and training, actually, when you start digging around the sector. The problem is that it’s very reactive, and it’s reactive to short-term needs. What I think is still lacking, although hopefully that’s the next step beyond this plan, is a really joined-up approach to how those different skills and training providers, including ourselves as universities and also FE colleges, can really form part of a much bigger network of provision that can deliver skills and training to the right people, which means delivering it locally, and I think there is a big role to be played in terms of encouraging local communities and graduate school leavers, entry level talent, and people with transferable skills in local communities to engage with that skills and training, because it becomes meaningful.

So, I think delivering it locally, delivering it in a much more structured way and building on that plan to react to the changes in the industry, which, in terms of screen, are obviously driven by that confluence of technology—what people refer to as virtual production, although nobody really knows exactly what they mean by that term. But certainly studio-based production and high-end drama production, which is where the future demand is for workers.

Tom, I think the other Tom wants to just come back on some things.

Just really quickly, when you said about the way skills are being delivered by the sector, quite reactive to short-term needs, can you give me an indication or a feel for some of the longer term structural skills gaps that that’s causing? What skills are they that are specifically missing as a result of that approach?

Well, I’ll give you an example that is longer term, which is to say that there’s a consensus that everybody understands that the games industry is going to contribute hugely to the development of screen going forward. The technology on which the games industry’s based is now synonymous with the technology that’s used to create high-end visual effects within something like His Dark Materials. That technology was developed based on games technology. So, everybody talks a lot about that, but at the moment, actually, nobody is really setting out a programme to help people to develop skills, or build their skills in that area, that can lead to a sustainable workforce in that area. So, people might invest in the technology, but there is no skills and training that goes along with that. A lot of the skills and training provision that exists currently, I would say, is very short-term courses aimed at a market of graduates or younger talent who feel that they want to upskill to become a director or something like that, or a screenwriter or something like that. So, I think less thought has gone into the longer term development of people, say, for instance, in the games industry or the performance industry, to incentivise that talent to engage with the screen industry as a way of broadening the talent base, but also developing their own skills.

And is that something that can be done from a governmental perspective, to say, ‘These are the long-term skills that we will need’, or is it—and the examples you’ve cited are emerging technology—that it is quite hard for a Government to keep up with? Would that be fair?

We can’t rely on the Government to do all of this. I think the industry needs to engage, and I think the engagement of industry with skills and training is a moot point, because in other industries I think perhaps less emphasis would be placed on Government intervention to plug the skills gap, and maybe the industry needs to step up. I think we, certainly, as universities and our FE partners also need to recognise those gaps and develop programmes that are suitable. In future, as well, I think transferable skills will be a big part of that. We see how the industry loses people, and often—. Some recent studies have suggested that, actually, the shortage of talent is to do with that, rather than a lack of suitable entry-level talent. I just think that a longer, more joined-up approach is what's needed to deliver that skills and training locally. I think that's really crucial. It has to be delivered somewhere where the benefits of that can be felt, because then that can engage people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, as we said previously. 


I'd just add a couple of other things. One of the things across Welsh Government, and Government generally, is that it's much easier to have skills support programmes that are oriented more towards larger companies, in terms of apprenticeships and other kinds of schemes. They're just easier to do with larger companies. That doesn't work for the creative sector, which is mostly very small companies. So, making sure that we have a skill support strategy that works for companies of 10 or fewer people in them, which is most of the companies in the creative industries in Wales and across the UK, is absolutely key here as part of this. 

The only other thing I'd mention—and it comes back to a previous question—is, historically, the PSBs have played a key role in training and development, and well-funded public service broadcasters do play an important role, or can play an important role here to bring people along, which is to broaden and strengthen the skills base across the piece. 

And just one final question—I think, Tom, you've touched on this a little bit—but what do you envisage the role should be for private sector companies in terms of improving training and skills? What's the role for academia? I think we've talked a little about Government and the industry more generally, but how can the private sector and academia feed into that?

On this, if I could appeal for as brief answers as possible because I'm aware of the time with this, please. 

I think work placements, but also mentoring. The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 puts a big emphasis on the importance of mentoring. I think mentoring within companies is a way that can really contribute to the development of new talent. I see it again and again, our graduates going to companies, and it's not the initial employment—not the first six months—but it's what happens next: how can they be developed next, who can take them under their wing and develop their skills so they can be net contributors to the economy very quickly? So, I would say that mentoring is really, really important, and the connection between what we do as educationalists, as training providers and the companies needs to be strengthened much more. We need to really engage with them, and be supported by Government to do that.

All I'd add, just very briefly, is it's easy to say, more difficult to do, but where we see higher education institutions, industry and Government working together on this, and collaborating in a serious way, then we're much more likely to get things done. 

Happy? Okay, great. That was very brief, thank you. 

Fe wnawn ni symud yn olaf at Carolyn Thomas. 

We will move finally to Carolyn Thomas. 

Thank you. Can I just go back to strengthening the skills and the sector outside of Cardiff as well, which has been mentioned quite a lot here? As a north Wales regional Member, I would mention that. I know that there are further and higher education establishments in north Wales offering courses; we've got some great theatres in north Wales, and there's a BBC studio in Wrexham and Bangor as well. There does need to be more strategic working between them. I had a conversation with somebody just a couple of weeks ago about that, where they're hoping to do that, but when Heledd asked the question about who should lead on it earlier, whether it should be Welsh Government, I've heard a bit about Creative Wales today, which I didn't really know much about before. So, is there a Creative Wales base in north Wales? Would they be able to help this happen? I don't know, so I was just wondering if you could answer that question.

So, we're just in the process of developing some screen academies that connect up to—. There's the new Aria Film Studios—I don't know if you're aware of it—which is owned by Rondo Media, based in Llangefni on Anglesey. It's also part funded by Creative Wales and S4C. The ambition for that studio is to create Welsh-medium content, but also to be a studio where incoming productions can use some of that. Our intention is to develop, with the support of Bangor University, an academy base within that studio that links to other academies in the studios in south Wales, but also very specifically addresses some of the talent shortages connected to Welsh-medium production, of which there are many and they're very specific. I think those talent shortages can be very comprehensively addressed, partly by having that facility, again, within that Welsh-speaking community and within north Wales, but also one that's dedicated and connected up to a broader talent development structure.


Okay. Sorry, I do remember, actually, hearing about that recently—we get lots of e-mails about things. There are also other independent producers as well, again, that I think are struggling—I was talking to someone a few months ago. So, I just think this strategic approach and better collaboration is something we need to go for—it's just how to make it happen.

I just need to ask about support, if that's okay. So, I've got a couple of questions on that. Do the workforce, do you believe, need further public support, or support from public sector bodies, in relation to the increased cost of living, more broadly? So, before, you mentioned childcare is really important, and transport, but just generally, public sector support. And also, the arts council raises the idea of a basic income as well. I see a lot of the employment is short term, isn't it, freelancing, so this idea of a basic income pilot. I have my own ideas on that, but what are your ideas on that, and is it the best use of public funding? Thank you.

Oh, that's a big question. There's no doubt that there are lots of potential solutions; that is potentially one of the solutions to, I think, the precarity of labour in the creative industries. And here, I think we're talking about big differences in the sectors, actually, across the creative industries. So, some creative sectors are much better paid than others, and in some parts of the creative industries, pay is routinely very low, so it's a real issue there, particularly when you're moving from one job to the other. We saw that absolutely during COVID, where, suddenly, for a large number of creative industry freelancers, work just dropped off a cliff. So, that forced many of them to move away from the creative sectors. So, it depends a bit on the sector, but that certainly would be a solution—there may be others as well. But for a sector that does rely on freelancers shifting from one commission to the next, some way of allowing that to happen in a way that increases the possibility of sustaining a career like that could only be a good thing. At the moment, one of the things that we see is freelancers often moving away from freelance work. So, they're freelancers for quite a while, and then they'll just say, 'Look, this is too difficult, I'll get a job for this company here, I'll have a pension, I'll have various other things that, in the longer term, I'm just going to need.' So, making a workforce that is largely freelance less precarious is clearly something that there are various policy mechanisms to deal with, but that would be one of them.

I think the truth is, certainly in screen, most freelancers, when they're actually in employment, are earning relatively good wages, and I think that it would be difficult to make a case for supporting them over other areas of the economy. But I think, as we've alluded to earlier in this conversation, there is specific help around transport, and also at lower entry level in terms of skills and access to supporting skills and training if you're a freelancer or if you're a small business. That makes a huge amount of difference, in terms of the capacity to access that kind of skills and training. So, I think probably it's in and around rather than actually supplementing their income—it's in and around an income, probably, where the investment would have more impact.

Okay. Thank you. I think, finally, we've got another question from Tom Giffard.

Sorry, just on Carolyn's opening question, I think, I think you talked generally about the strength of the sector in south Wales, in the context of Carolyn's question about north Wales. But I think the point about south Wales is that, sometimes, we can get caught in the trap of, 'For south Wales, see Cardiff.' So, I'm quite interested to know what the health of the sector outside of Cardiff, in south Wales, looks like? What does that look like in Swansea, what does that look like in west Wales, what does that look like in Newport? Or is this just a strength that is solely reliant on the capital city?

There's no doubt the capital city is important. If you look at all the data, that's where the most intense clustering of the creative industries is—it's in Cardiff. But, nonetheless, across south Wales and the region around Cardiff, there's a lot of strength. There's a lot of strength in Swansea, in Newport, in Bridgend, in many other parts of the Cardiff capital region, and stretching through to Swansea. So, we do see that strength, I think, across south Wales. The distances are short between them; you can see how, as a regional cluster, it works quite effectively. So, I think it's broader than that. One of the things that we do when we look at data sets is we look at Cardiff, we look at the Cardiff capital region and then we look at all of Wales, and you tend to see the greatest concentration in Cardiff, but a degree of concentration across the Cardiff capital region and then less so across Wales, although there are other clusters in Wales as well. The largest one is obviously Cardiff.

I guess the other point I'd just make is that I think it's important not to pitch those against each other. Clearly, if we're going to grow things in Cardiff and the Cardiff capital region, we need to make sure that growth does feed out across the piece. But, nonetheless, there's no doubt that having clusters of expertise and skills is advantageous too. So, you don't want to disadvantage one against the other; I think you want to see both grow, but in ways that complement one another.


I think in terms of—. If you look at the screen industry more broadly, more globally, the real clusters are—there's an M4 corridor cluster, which obviously stretches across to Bristol, and you can think of that as almost like a supercluster in south-east Wales. And then you have the A55 corridor in the north, where work often travels across from Salford Quays, which is the second largest production centre in the UK behind London and ahead of south Wales. So, they're really the two areas. So, in global terms, I think, that's how the screen industry sees itself, and talent travels up and down within those areas.

Okay. Great.

Wel, diolch yn fawr iawn. Mae'n amser ni bron ar ben nawr, felly gaf i ddiolch ichi am eich tystiolaeth bore yma? Efallai fydd ychydig o bethau byddwn ni eisiau dilyn lan gyda chi mewn ysgrifen, os ydy hynny'n iawn. A hefyd bydd transgript o'r hyn rŷch chi wedi'i ddweud yn cael ei anfon atoch chi ichi wirio ei fod e'n gofnod teg o'r hyn sydd wedi cael ei ddweud. Ond diolch yn fawr ichi am eich tystiolaeth bore yma. Diolch yn fawr.

Well, Thank you very much. Our time is almost up, so may I thank you very much for your evidence this morning? There may be a few things that we'd like to follow up with you in writing, if that's okay. And also a transcript of what you said will be sent to you just so you can check that it's an accurate record of what's been said. But thank you for your evidence this morning. Thank you.

Thank you very much.

Aelodau, byddwn ni nawr yn torri tan 10:40. Gwawn ni aros i weld ein bod ni'n breifat. Diolch eto.

Members, we will now take a break until 10:40. We'll just wait to see that we are in private session. Thank you once again.

Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 10:27 a 10:40.

The meeting adjourned between 10:27 and 10:40.

3. Yr heriau sy’n wynebu gweithlu’r diwydiant creadigol: Sesiwn dystiolaeth gyda sefydliadau celfyddydau a diwylliant
3. Challenges facing the creative industry workforce: Evidence session with arts and culture organisations

Croeso'n ôl i'r Aelodau. Dŷn ni nawr yn symud at eitem 3, a dŷn ni'n dal yn edrych ar yr heriau sy'n wynebu gweithlu'r diwydiant creadigol. Dŷn ni nawr yn cael sesiwn dystiolaeth gyda sefydliadau celfyddydau a diwylliant. Fe wnaf i ofyn i'n tystion gyflwyno eu hunain ar gyfer y record. Fe wnaf i fynd at Dafydd yn gyntaf, plis.

Welcome back to Members. We now move to item 3 on our agenda, and we continue to look at the challenges facing the creative industry workforce. We will now have an evidence session with arts and cultural organisations. I'll ask our witnesses to introduce themselves for the record. And I'll go to Dafydd first.

Bore da. Dafydd Rhys ydw i, prif weithredwr cyngor y celfyddydau.

Good morning. I'm Dafydd Rhys, chief executive of the arts council.

Diolch, Dafydd. Fe wnawn ni fynd at Gillian.

Thank you, Dafydd. Now we'll move to Gillian.

Bore da. I'm Gillian Mitchell. I'm the chief executive of National Youth Arts Wales.

Thank you, Gillian.

Ac fe wnawn ni fynd at Clara.

And now Clara.

Hi, I'm Clara Cullen. I'm the venue support manager at Music Venue Trust.

Diolch yn fawr i chi i gyd am fod gyda ni y bore yma. Fe wnawn ni fynd yn syth i mewn i gwestiynau os yw hynny'n ocê, ac fe wnawn ni fynd yn gyntaf at Alun Davies.

Thank you all very much for joining us this morning. We'll move immediately to questions, and Alun Davies will ask the first questions.

Thank you very much.

Diolch ichi. Dwi eisiau trio ystyried ble ydym ni ar hyn o bryd. Dŷn ni wedi bod drwy'r pandemig, ac yn y sesiwn blaenorol cawson ni sgwrs amboutu impact y pandemig ar y gweithlu. Sut fuasech chi eisiau disgrifio'r impact mae'r pandemig wedi'i gael arnoch chi o'ch persbectif chi?

Thank you. I want to look at where we are at present. Now, we have been through the pandemic, of course, and in our previous session we had a conversation on the impact of the pandemic on the workforce. How would you describe the impact that the pandemic had on you from your perspectives?

Pwy sydd eisiau mynd yn gyntaf ar hynny? 

Who'd like to go first on that? 

Dwi'n hapus i gychwyn, os ydy hynny'n beth da. Yn sicr, mae'r pandemig wedi cael effaith go ddifrifol ar y sector, nid yn unig ar ganolfannau, ond ar y gweithlu. Rŷn ni yn cyflogi—mae'n sector ni'n ei ariannu yn cyflogi llai nawr nag yr oedd e cyn y pandemig. Mae costau wedi cynyddu yn ddifrifol, fel sy'n cael ei adlewyrchu yn yr adroddiad, tra bod incwm wedi gostwng. Mae yna lai o bobl yn mynychu, ac felly mae'r sector mewn sefyllfa go ddifrifol. Rŷn ni hefyd wedi colli rhyddgyfranwyr i'r sector. Mae yna bobl wedi dewis gadael. Mae yna broblemau gennym ni o ran llenwi swyddi, felly mae yna broblemau yn ein hwynebu ni o ran gweithlu yn ogystal. Felly, mae'n sefyllfa reit ddifrifol.

I'm happy to kick off. Certainly, the pandemic had quite a grave impact on the sector, not only on arts centres, but also on the workforce. Our sector employs and funds less now than it did pre-pandemic. Costs have increased enormously, as is reflected in the report, whilst income is reduced. There are fewer people attending events and therefore the sector is in quite a serious situation. We've also lost some freelancers in the sector. People have chosen to leave. We have problems in filling vacancies, so we do have some workforce problems too. So, it is quite a grave situation.

Ond beth am y gweithlu?

But what about the workforce itself?

O ran y gweithlu, mae yna broblemau difrifol yn wynebu'r sector rhyddgyfrannol, yn sicr. Mae yna sgiliau—. Mae yna skills gap gennym ni o ran rŷn ni'n ei chael hi'n anodd llenwi swyddi. Mae hyn ar draws y sector greadigol yn ogystal â'r sector gelfyddydol, yn yr ystyr technegol, marchnata, sgiliau digidol. Hefyd, mae'r gweithlu'n cael ei effeithio mewn gwahanol rannau o Gymru. Mae yna ryw 40 y cant o'r gweithlu rhyddgyfrannol mewn ardaloedd gwledig, ac mae yna broblemau o ran argaeledd broadband sy'n effeithio arnyn nhw yn ogystal.  

Well, in terms of the workforce, there are serious problems facing the freelance sector, certainly. There are skills—. There is a skills gap in that we are finding difficulty in filling vacancies. This is across the creative sector as well as the arts sector, in terms of technical skills, digital skills, marketing. Also, the workforce is affected differently in different parts of Wales. Some 40 per cent of the freelance sector is in rural areas, and there's a problem in terms of the availability of broadband that can have an impact on them as well.  

Ie, ond, Rhys, dwi'n gofyn am impact y pandemig, a dŷch chi wedi trafod lot o bethau gwahanol yn fanna, a dwi'n derbyn hynny. Ond beth am impact y pandemig? Achos dwi'n ffeindio fe'n anodd credu bod y bylchau sgiliau yma dŷch chi'n sôn amdanyn nhw yn dod dim ond o'r pandemig.

But, Rhys, I'm asking about the impact of the pandemic, and you've discussed a number of different things there, and I accept that. But what about the impact of the pandemic itself? Because I find it difficult to believe that these skills gaps that you mention are a result only or solely of the pandemic.

Wel, beth mae'r pandemig wedi’i wneud, mae wedi effeithio ar hygyrchedd y diwydiant yn yr ystyr mae pobl wedi dewis newid, neu wedi gorfod dewis newid, sut maen nhw'n ennill eu harian. Dyna pam rŷn ni'n colli pobl o'r gweithlu, yn sicr, oherwydd bod y swyddi yn ein diwydiant ni yn llai dibynadwy ac mae prosiectau wedi cael eu canslo. Fe dderbynioch chi adroddiad yn Ionawr, dwi'n meddwl, gan y sector rhyddgyfrannol oedd yn sôn bod 80 y cant o brosiectau wedi cael eu canslo yn ystod 2021, ac felly mae yna elfennau o'r gweithlu—. Dwi'n meddwl bod 14 y cant wedi dewis eu bod nhw'n methu â fforddio aros yn y sector. Felly mae'r pandemig wedi cael effaith, bydden i'n awgrymu'n garedig, ar argaeledd pobl a phobl yn dewis gweithio yn y sector.

Well, what the pandemic has done is it's affected the accessibility of the industry in the sense that people have chosen, or had to choose, to change how they make a living. That's why we are losing people from the workforce, because the jobs in our industry are more insecure and projects have been cancelled. You will have received a report in January from the freelance sector, I believe, which mentioned that 80 per cent of projects had been cancelled during 2021, and therefore there are elements of the workforce—. I think 14 per cent have decided that they couldn't afford to remain within the sector. So, the pandemic has had an impact, I would suggest, on the availability of people and people choosing to work in the sector.

Oedd unrhyw un arall eisiau dod i mewn ar hyn? Gillian.

Did anyone else want to come in on that point? Gillian.

First of all, thank you very much for the opportunity to give evidence this morning. I think, just speaking from a National Youth Arts Wales perspective, we're a small organisation, but we do employ about 200 to 250 freelancers each year. I think the particular issues around freelance staff are really important, and continue to be a problem and have been well documented, and me not choosing to talk about freelancers is not reflective of my concern about that; we've a very particular issue, given that we're so reliant on it. If I can talk specifically about what I would call the core workforce, I think the two biggest issues arising from the pandemic specifically are staff burnout. That is leading to major issues with recruitment and retention. As Dafydd said, there's been a migration away from the sector, so we're losing skills. There's another issue about people coming in to the sector and what we might do about that, and hopefully we'll get the opportunity to talk about that later on. But it is certainly the case that staff burnout remains an issue. And while the retention and recruitment issues remain, it means that staff are having to continue to do more.

There are specific recruitment issues in areas like IT, development, fundraising—which is a really critical post for many, particularly at the moment—marketing and communications, which, again, are really key if we're trying to encourage audiences and participants back, and in the technical sector as well. In the latter, I think the key impact of the pandemic has been a migration away from arts and culture, and, in this case, I'm talking specifically about music, performing arts and visual arts. National Youth Arts Wales is concerned with the first two of those, and there's migration away, in the technical side of things, to the film and television sector, for a variety of reasons, which I'm sure other people will touch on. But I think specifically the burnout issue is a very real problem, and, where that relates to recruitment and retention, we're about to enter a bit of a storm in that there's a short-term issue around income levels dropping, a cost-of-living increase, meaning that, where wage moderation might have been more of an issue for the arts sector, we're having to pay over and above market rates to attract people into those key posts, all at a time when income levels are dropping and audiences aren't returning in the numbers that they were yet pre pandemic.


Alun. Oh, Clara, there wasn't anything that you wanted to add, was there? Or was there?

Yes. I'd just add that I think, at the moment, one of the issues that I'm seeing is that COVID exacerbated a lot of the trends that we were seeing in the grass-roots sector, particularly—. I spend a lot of my time thinking about the issue of succession. So, a lot of people within the grass-roots sector, when you're building a scene or a musical scene, you can be reliant on one or two key figureheads, whether that's a venue operator or promoter or someone local to building up new emerging talent. And at the moment, our venue operator can wear lots of different hats: they may be the promoter, they may be the booker, obviously running day-to-day stuff at the venue, and so if they leave the sector and they leave the creative workforce, who's going to replace that? How do we make sure that the sector is resilient and the creative workforce has long-term planning? And that's one of the things that I've seen COVID and the pandemic exacerbate. I'm thinking of people in Wales in particular—Sam Dabb has been at Le Pub for 20 years—longer than I've been alive, actually, or nearly—and so what happens if she wanted to step away or, you know—? And I'm not saying she does, but just that idea of how do we get a resilient creative workforce, and how do we train up younger people in the staff to be able to take on some of those roles and help develop the scenes and emerging talent?

Okay. I'm grateful to you all for that. You've all described various challenges, which is fine. What are you doing about it? What are you doing to address those challenges in your individual organisations?

Gwnaf i fynd at—. Oes unrhyw un eisiau mynd yn gyntaf? Gwnaf i fynd at Dafydd yn gyntaf.

I'll go to—. Does anyone want to go first? Shall I go to Dafydd?

I ni, mae hi'n sefyllfa gymhleth ac yn un anodd. Mae yna awgrymiadau bod yna bethau llesol wedi digwydd. Yn sicr, mae'r arolwg diweddar gwnaethon ni gynnal yn dangos bod yna gynnydd wedi bod mewn amrywiaeth o fewn y gweithlu. Mae yna gynnydd o fewn pobl ifanc, mae yna gynnydd o fewn adlewyrchu cymunedau sydd ddim wedi gael y cyfleoedd yn y gorffennol, ac mae hynny yn yr adroddiad. Rŷn ni'n codi ymwybyddiaeth yn ein trafodaethau ni gyda'r sector. Hefyd, o ran ein grantiau loteri, rŷn ni wedi bod yn targedu elfennau o'r gymdeithas sydd ddim wedi cael eu cynrychioli yn y gorffennol, felly mae hynny yn beth llesol.

Rŷn ni hefyd wedi bod mewn trafodaethau gyda Llywodraeth Cymru o ran, yn y tymor byr, a oes modd inni roi fwy o help, yn ariannol, i'r sector i sicrhau bod y sector yn parhau am y chwe mis i'r flwyddyn nesaf. Un o'r pethau pwysig sy'n dod allan o'r adroddiad rŷn ni wedi'i gyflwyno yw bod yna beryglon na fydd elfennau o'r sector yn gallu cynnal a bod yma mewn chwe mis o bosib, neu mewn blwyddyn. Felly dyna—

Well, it's a complex situation and it's difficult. There are suggestions that there have been some beneficial steps taken. Certainly, the recent survey that we undertook showed that there's been an increase in diversity within the workforce. There's been an increase in terms of the numbers of young people, there's been progress in terms of reflecting communities that haven't had opportunities in the past, and that's contained within the report. We are raising awareness in our discussions with the sector. Also, in terms of our lottery grants, we have been targeting elements of society that have been underrepresented traditionally, so that is beneficial.

We have also been in discussion with the Welsh Government, in the short term, to consider whether we can provide more financial assistance to the sector in order to ensure that the sector does survive for the next six months to a year. One of the important things that emerges from our report is that there are risks that elements of the sector will not survive the next six to 12 months. So, that's—


Gaf i eich stopio chi fanna? Dŷch chi wedi dweud dau beth fanna. Yn gyntaf bod yna ryw fath o argyfwng yn wynebu'r sector a'r gweithlu. Ond, os oedd yna sefyllfa argyfyngus yn wynebu sefydliad yr oeddwn i'n gyfrifol amdano, dwi'n meddwl y buasai gen i ryw fath o gynllun i fynd i'r afael ag ef, a dwi ddim yn siŵr bod ysgrifennu at y Llywodraeth yn dangos yr un fath o urgency y buaswn i'n ei ddisgwyl.

May I stop you there? You have said two things there. First of all that there is some sort of crisis facing the sector and the workforce. But, if there was a critical situation facing an organisation that I was responsible for, I would assume that I would have some sort of plan to address it, and I'm not sure that writing to Government actually shows the same kind of urgency that I would expect.

Wel, rŷn ni wedi bod yn arwain ar hwn ers peth amser bellach. Rŷn ni mewn trafodaethau gyda'r sector. Rŷn ni'n ariannu'r sector, ac rŷn ni'n ymwybodol o'r argyfwng mae'r sector yna yn ei wynebu. Rŷn ni wedi cynnal ein cefnogaeth ariannol i'r sector, a hefyd rŷn ni wedi bod yn gwrando ar yr hyn mae'r sector yn medru ei gyflawni gyda'r arian yna. Rŷn ni wedi bod yn fwy hyblyg o ran ein disgwyliadau ni. Yn sicr, mae yna elfennau o'r sector lle mae oriau aros ar agor yn gorfod cael eu hystyried ac yn lleihau. Mae yna berygl bod yna leihau mewn gweithgareddau yn ogystal, a dŷn ni'n trio cefnogi'r sector yn hynny o beth ac yn adrodd yn ôl i'r Llywodraeth yr hyn rŷn ni'n deall sydd yn digwydd allan yna, ac yn gofyn i'r Llywodraeth, ac yn trio bod yn greadigol, a dweud y gwir, yn y ffordd os gallwn ni arallgyfeirio rhywfaint o'r cyllid sydd gyda ni ac os oes yna gyllid ychwanegol a allai ddod oddi wrth y Llywodraeth i helpu.

Well, we've been leading on this for some time now. We are in discussion with the sector. We fund the sector, and we are aware of the crisis that the sector is facing. We have maintained our financial support to the sector, and we've also been listening to what the sector can do with that funding. We have been more flexible in terms of our expectations. Certainly, there are elements of the sector where opening hours do need to be taken into account and perhaps reduced. There may be a reduction in activities too, and we are seeking to support the sector in that regard, and we are also reporting back to Government our understanding of the situation and asking Government and trying to be creative, if truth be told, to consider whether we can diversify some of our funding and whether there is additional funding that could come from Government to assist.

Ocê. A allet ti roi enghraifft i ni o'r creadigrwydd yna?

Okay. Can you give us an example of that creativity you mentioned?

O'r meddwl creadigol?

Of the creative thinking?

Ie, y ffordd dŷch chi wedi awgrymu wrth y Llywodraeth y dylen nhw weithredu mewn ffordd fwy creadigol. Dwi'n credu mai dyna beth y dywedoch chi.

Yes, in terms of the suggestions you've made to Government as to how they should operate in a more creative may. I think that's what you were suggesting.

Wel, mi wnaeth Mick Elliott, a oedd yn rhagflaenydd i mi yn y swydd yma, ddechrau trafodaethau gyda'r Llywodraeth o ran ein bod ni yn arallgyfeirio rhywfaint o'r cyllid sydd gennym ni, i fyny at tua £1.5 miliwn, neu o bosib £2 miliwn, gan ofyn i'r Llywodraeth ystyried a oedd modd darganfod arian i fatsio fe, neu fynd 2:1 o ran creu cronfa newydd a allai helpu'r sector. Roedd y 2:1, yn ôl fy nealltwriaeth i, yn ymwneud â'r berthynas rhwng y grant in aid a'r loteri—dyna, dwi'n meddwl, lle roedd y meddwl wedi dod o ran y ratio yna o ran cyllid.

Well, Mick Elliott, my predecessor in this post, did begin discussions with Government in terms of us diversifying some of our funding, up to some £1.5 million, perhaps £2 million, asking Government to consider whether it would be possible to find match funding for that, or to go 2:1 in terms of creating a new fund that could assist the sector. The 2:1 ratio, according to my understanding, related to the grant in aid and the lottery, and I think that's where the thinking had come from in terms of that 2:1 ratio in funding.

Ie, ond, gyda phob parch, dyw gofyn am fwy o cash gan y Llywodraeth ddim yn beth creadigol; mae cyrff cyhoeddus wedi bod yn gwneud hynny ers degawdau. Dyw e ddim yn ffordd newydd o feddwl, mae'n hen ffordd o feddwl. Dwi'n derbyn y dadansoddiad eich bod chi'n wynebu rhyw fath o sefyllfa argyfyngus tu mewn i'r sector a gyda'r gweithlu. Dwi'n derbyn hynny. Beth dwi ddim yn convinced amdano'r bore yma yw bod gyda chi gafael ar hynny a'ch bod yn gweithio yn y sense eich bod chi'n gallu gwneud rhywbeth i newid y dyfodol. Gofyn am fwy o cash gan y Llywodraeth—wel, mae pawb yn gwneud hynny.

But with all due respect, asking for more cash from the Government isn't creative; public bodies have been doing that for decades. It's not a new way of thinking, is it, it's the old way of thinking. Now, I accept the analysis that you are facing some sort of critical situation within the sector and with the workforce. I accept that. What I'm not convinced of this morning is that you have a grasp of that and that you are working in the sense that you can do something to change future patterns. Asking for more cash from Government—well, everyone does that.

Dwi'n meddwl ein bod ni eisoes wedi bod yn trafod gyda'r sector sut rŷn ni'n defnyddio'r adeiladau, er enghraifft, rŷn ni'n eu cefnogi, ac yn siarad gydag awdurdodau lleol. Yn y tymor byr—a dŷn ni'n gobeithio mai tymor byr fydd e yn yr argyfwng rŷn ni'n ei wynebu—mae sôn am newid y defnydd o'r adeiladau rŷn ni'n eu defnyddio fel adeiladau cynnes. Rŷn ni hefyd wedi bod yn trafod gydag awdurdodau lleol a gyda'r sector sut rŷn ni'n gwarchod elfennau o'r gymuned sydd yn cael eu taro yn fwy caled gyda'r argyfwng, gyda chostau'n cynyddu iddyn nhw, wrth gwrs, ond ein bod ni yn cynnig gwasanaethau rhad ac am ddim o fewn y sectorau rŷn ni'n eu hariannu. Mae'r trafodaethau yna yn mynd yn eu blaen, ac maen nhw ar draws, nid yn unig y prosiectau rŷn ni'n eu hariannu, ond dwi'n gwybod bod llyfrgelloedd yn gwneud yn union yr un peth. Rŷn ni yn trio bod yn hyblyg, rŷn ni'n trio bod yn greadigol, ond mae e'n sefyllfa argyfyngus, fel dwi wedi'i ddweud yn barod. 

Well, I think we've already been having discussions with the sector as to how we use the premisses that we support, and speaking to local authorities too. In the short term—and I do hope that it will be a short-term thing in the crisis that we are facing—we've been talking about changing the use of our buildings as warm banks, for example. We've also been discussing with local authorities and with the sector how we safeguard elements of the community that are hit particularly hard by the cost-of-living crisis, as costs increase for them, of course, but that we also provide services free of charge within the sectors that we fund. So, those discussions are ongoing, and they are across, not only the projects that we fund, but I know that libraries are doing exactly the same. So, we are trying to be flexible, we are trying to be creative, but it is a critical situation, as I've already said. 


Ie, ond dŷn ni wedi bod yn trafod y gweithlu, a dwi ddim yn credu eich bod chi wedi ateb y cwestiynau fanna. Oes modd i ni symud ymlaen?

Well, we've been discussing the workforce, and I don't think that you've answered the questions there. Could we move on perhaps?

Gillian neu Clara, ydych chi eisiau ychwanegu unrhyw beth at yr hyn sydd wedi cael ei ddweud—beth oedd Alun yn gofyn?

Gillian or Clara, do you have anything to add to what's already been said—on Alun's questions?

I think, from a Music Venue Trust perspective, we're going to put in an application to the creative skills fund specifically around this idea of continued professional development for junior staff at the grass-roots level—how do we train them up, how do we give them skills and retain them within the grass-roots sector? So, that's something that we are currently writing, and going to put an application in very shortly. So, that's something we're doing that we hope could be quite targeted. 

I think, from National Youth Arts Wales's perspective, in terms of our current workforce, we're looking at—. In terms of addressing retention, we're trying to make sure that, while we can, we are continuing to pay recommended rates and fees, as recommended by the lead bodies—the Music Union, the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union and Equity. That's for freelancers. In terms of our core staff, we're looking at trying to find cost-neutral ways of providing a better work-life balance, which is doable for organisations like National Youth Arts Wales because of our particular model, but I realise it would be very challenging if you run a venue, for example.

I think one of the key things over the longer term that I'm really keen to talk about—and Clara touched on it, and it's one of the things that I've been talking to this committee about through Delyth—is that a huge thing for National Youth Arts Wales has been looking at the longer term skills shortage. So, as well as all our really important work around the national ensembles, and everything that happens on stage, certainly through the pandemic we saw that there was a problem coming, and we've started to look at pathways into the creative industries, making sure that there are opportunities for a new workforce coming through. And one of the things that we see our responsibility as being now is about trying to help create a fit-for-purpose, bilingual and diverse workforce for arts and culture in Wales. We can't, however, do that on our own. That's something that we are doing in partnership, and will do in partnership across the wider arts and cultural sector. But that's going to take time. 

Some of this is about messaging around careers in the creative industries, particularly arts and culture. Some of the future workforce that we might want to attract don't currently know about the jobs and opportunities that exist. So, I think that there is something that we can do, which is about attracting people at an earlier age, perhaps linking some of these messages to the new curriculum, at secondary and primary level. But that's going to take time, and it's going to require a more holistic approach between departments as well, I think, as well as the wider arts and culture ecology. 

There is a particular issue, I think, with the creative industries, in that, in Wales, we're rightly very proud of our wider creative industries, but there is a bit of a disconnect about what happens in terms of skills and training, in that the focus at the minute for organisations like Creative Wales is really focused on film and television, and there isn't a similar route in arts and culture. At National Youth Arts Wales, we've been able to offer some of those. We actively employ—. Currently, at the minute, we've got four young people under the age of 25, and we're a living wage employer, and those are 14-month contracts that are all designed to introduce new people into the creative workforce. And many of them go on and work across Wales in other arts and cultural organisations. We are currently funding that; however, partly through arts council funding, and partly through going to trusts and foundations that exist outside of Wales. So, we're only able to do that if that funding stream continues. And we're only able to do it if there's a more holistic approach in the wider arts and culture sector, and I think something joined together with education as well, and being more strategic about it.


Diolch, Gillian. Gwnawn ni symud ymlaen at Heledd Fychan.

Thank you, Gillian. We'll move on to Heledd Fychan.

Diolch yn fawr iawn. Yn sicr, mi oedd yna syniadau amgen oedd Gillian yn amlinellu yn y fan yna o ran cyllid ychwanegol. Ond, buaswn i'n hoffi mynd nôl jest o ran rhai o'r ffeithiau yn y dystiolaeth sydd wedi ei darparu yn benodol gan y cyngor celfyddydau hefyd—y ffaith bod gennych chi 14 y cant yn dweud eu bod nhw ddim yn mynd i allu parhau i weithio yn y sector, a bod 57 y cant yn ansicr. Dŷn ni wedi clywed y geiriau eisoes, 'argyfyngus', ond dŷn ni hefyd wedi clywed bod yna ddim digon o bobl yn gweithio yn y sector yn barod. Dydy e ddim i weld yn gynaliadwy bod y sector yn mynd i allu parhau i wneud beth mae'n gwneud ar y funud, yn ôl hyn. Felly, pa feddwl strategol sydd yna o ran gweld bod costau cynyrchiadau'n cynyddu ac ati? Sut ydyn ni'n edrych ar beth, yn realistig, mae'r sector yn gallu darparu, fel ein bod ni'n gallu cefnogi'r gweithlu presennol a ddim yn eu colli nhw i sectorau eraill? Dwi ddim yn gwybod os ydy'r cyngor celfyddydau—. Dafydd, ydych chi eisiau mynd gyntaf?

Thank you very much. Certainly, there were some alternative ideas that Gillian outlined there in terms of additional funding. But, I would like to return to some of the evidence provided to us specifically by the arts council—the fact that you have 14 per cent stating that they couldn't continue to work in the sector and that 57 per cent were uncertain of their future. We've already heard the word 'crisis' used, but we've also heard that there was already a shortage in the sector. It doesn't seem sustainable that the sector can continue to do what it's doing at the moment. So, what strategic thinking is in place in seeing that the cost of production is increasing and so on and so forth? How are we looking at what realistically the sector can provide so that we can support the current workforce and don't lose them to other sectors? I don't know if the arts council—. Dafydd, would you like to go first?

Yn sicr, rŷn ni'n croesawu'r cynllun gweithredu sgiliau drwy Cymru Creadigol, ac mae'n hollbwysig—. Roedd y pwynt gafodd ei wneud yn gynharach—. Mae'n bwysig ein bod ni, fel cyngor y celfyddydau, yn cydweithio'n agos iawn gyda Cymru Creadigol ac ein bod ni'n edrych ar y gweithlu ar draws nid yn unig y sector creadigol ond hefyd ar draws y sector celfyddydol, oherwydd mae'r un heriau yn ein hwynebu ni o ran y gweithlu, ac mae yna sgiliau sydd yn berthnasol i'r ddau faes. Felly, rŷn ni'n croesawu ac yn edrych ymlaen i gydweithio yn bendant yn strategol gyda Cymru Creadigol yn hynny o beth.

Rŷn ni yn trafod gyda'r canolfannau rŷn ni'n eu hariannu ar hyn o bryd sut gallwn ni warchod y gweithlu presennol, ond mae yna gapiau rŷn ni wedi sôn amdanyn nhw yn gynharach. O ran cydweithio'n strategol, yn sicr gyda Cymru Creadigol, mae hynny'n hollbwysig i ni.

We certainly welcome the skills action plan through Creative Wales, and it's crucial—. The point made earlier in terms of—. It's important that we, as the arts council, work very closely with Creative Wales and that we look at the workforce across not only the creative sector but also the arts sector more generally too, because the same challenges face us in terms of the workforce, and there are skills that are transferable in both areas. So, we welcome and look forward to strategic collaboration with Creative Wales in that regard.

We are having discussions with the venues that we fund in terms of how we can safeguard the current workforce, but there are gaps, and we mentioned those earlier. In terms of strategic partnership, certainly with Creative Wales, that is going to be crucial to us.

Gillian neu Clara, oeddech chi eisiau ychwanegu? Neu oedd rhywbeth mwy—

Gillian or Clara, do you have anything to add? Or was there something—

Dwi'n meddwl beth dŷn ni'n mynd i'w wneud ydy'r peth, oherwydd, yn amlwg, dŷch chi'n ariannu gymaint o sefydliadau. Dŷn ni'n clywed yn glir yn eu hymateb nhw o ran yr argyfwng costau byw. Dwi jest yn poeni, fel roedd Alun Davies yn sôn yn gynharach, o ran mae yna sgyrsiau'n digwydd, mae yna bethau'n digwydd, ond mae pobl yn mynd i fod yn gadael y sector rŵan oherwydd eu bod nhw'n methu fforddio byw y gaeaf hwn. Felly, pa ymyriadau ar frys dŷn ni'n trio eu cael yn hytrach na phethau sydd efallai yn mynd i gymryd cwpwl o fisoedd, a byddwn ni wedi colli pobl o'r sector erbyn hynny?

I think the question is what will we do, because, clearly, you fund so many organisations. We hear clearly in their responses in terms of the cost-of-living crisis. As Alun Davies mentioned earlier, I'm concerned that there are conversations happening, there are things happening, but people will be leaving the sector now, because they can't afford to live through this winter. So, what emergency interventions can we put in place, rather than things that can perhaps take a few months when people will have already left the sector?

Un o'r materion ar frys dŷn ni wedi agor y drafodaeth gyda'r Llywodraeth ydy creu cronfa ar frys i fedru ymateb i hyn yn y tymor byr. Ond mae'n rhaid inni ffeindio atebion yn y tymor hir yn ogystal, tra bod hynny yn digwydd. Felly, dyna yw ein hymateb tymor byr ni, a hefyd rŷn ni'n bod yn hyblyg ac yn cydweithio o ran y disgwyliadau rŷn ni'n disgwyl i'r canolfannau, yn sicr, i ddarparu yn ystod y cyfnod.

One of the urgent issues that we've started discussing with Government is the creation of an emergency fund to respond to this in the short term. But we also have to find long-term solutions whilst that is happening. So, that's our short-term response, and we're also being flexible and collaborating in terms of the expectations placed on our venues during this period.

Ie, Gillian—. Sori—mae grŵp o ddisgyblion newydd adael yr ystafell, ac roeddwn i jest yn ffarwelio â nhw. Gillian neu Clara, ydych chi eisiau ychwanegu unrhyw beth yn fanna?

Yes, Gillian—. Sorry—a group of students are just leaving the committee room, so I was just bidding farewell to them. Gillian or Clara, do you have anything to add on that?

Only that I wish that there was an immediately apparent short-term solution that didn't require money. I think I said earlier that there is a potential cliff edge in which we're looking at—. There's been a lot of focus, rightly, on energy costs, but looking at—. One of the issues I think we have as a sector is trying to make sure that we are good employers and paying people what they should be paid. So, trying to keep up with pay increases that are affordable in the short term is requiring a lot of organisations to dip into risk reserves or money that they should have to be about long-term development or matching funds that they get from other funders—the arts council, local authorities and so on. So, it's hard to think of a short-term solution that doesn't require some kind of emergency measures and additional cash, and I'm not sure where that would come from. But, I think it's fair to say that a lot of that support previously had been focused on freelancers, and that's still really important. This is just unprecedented, and it's affecting everybody across the entire sector, and those who are in regular employment as well. But, it's really important too that, while tackling the short term, we think about the long term, and I think the things that I've said about addressing the skills shortage over the longer term, starting earlier and having a more holistic approach to it in Wales, are really doable and something we need to look at urgently. 


One of the things we heard in the previous session with Media Cymru was—. Obviously, you've also mentioned things in terms of some of the workplace challenges, but they also highlighted bullying in the workplace as being an issue. Is this something that's been raised with you or something you're aware of as an issue that also needs to be addressed or tackled? I don't know if anybody wants to jump in. 

I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but it's not something that I'm particularly aware of. I think that although we have a long way to go, I would say one of the things that has come out of the short-term approach in the arts and cultural sector is about the kind of things I talked about, like cost-neutral improvements to working conditions. So, quite often, going into a rehearsal room or going into a small organisation, there's a more holistic approach where people are thinking about access needs, talking about different approaches and thinking about protected characteristics. So, I'm not saying we're perfect, but I think it is one of the things that the arts and cultural sector do really well. 

Diolch yn fawr iawn. And just finally from me, we also heard in the previous session, and you've touched upon it, about the role of private and public organisations in tackling poor pay, precarious work and problematic working conditions. Who do you think should be leading on this—Creative Wales, Welsh Government, the arts council, organisations? Do you think there's a forum that works at the moment, or do you think there's more of a role to be proactive in tackling this?

Mae hwn yn gwestiwn diddorol. Mae angen inni fod yn ymwybodol ohono fe. I gyfeirio nôl at y cwestiwn ynghynt ynglŷn â bwlio, mae yna ddiwylliant, efallai, dros y degawdau wedi bod o fewn y sector greadigol a'r sector gelfyddydol o ran cynhyrchu lle efallai bod yna enghreifftiau o hynny. Mae'r sector yn ymwybodol iawn o hynny ac mae'r arferion gwaith wedi newid, ac yn raddol newid, ond mae eisiau gwneud mwy arno fe o ran amodau yn y gweithle. Hefyd, mae pobl yn fwy ymwybodol o'r peryglon yna ac yn fwy parod i'w drafod e. Ond does gennym ni ddim unrhyw beth sy'n evidence based i'w gyfrannu at hynny, jest bod yna ymwybyddiaeth ac, yn sicr, mae'r sector yn ymwybodol ohono fe.

Roedd y cwestiwn yn benodol yn gofyn os oedd yna fforwm i drafod yr amodau yn y gweithle, ie? 

That's an interesting question. We do need to be aware of that. To refer back to an earlier question on bullying, there has been a culture, perhaps, over the decades within the creative and the arts sector in terms of production where perhaps there have been examples of that. The sector is highly aware of that, and working practices have changed and are changing gradually, but more needs to be done in terms of conditions in the workplace. Also, people are more aware of those dangers and risks and are more willing to discuss them. But, we don't have anything evidence based to contribute on that, only that there is awareness, and certainly the sector is aware of it.

The question specifically asked whether there was a forum to discuss working conditions, is that right?

Ie, i edrych ar y datrysiadau yn fwy eang hefyd. 

Yes, to look at broader solutions, perhaps. 

Efallai bod yna rôl yn fanna i'r cynllun gweithredu sgiliau creadigol. Maddeuwch i mi, ond dwi ddim yn ymwybodol o unrhyw fforwm arall a fyddai'n addas. Efallai bod eraill yn y cyfarfod yma yn gallu ateb hwnna'n well na fi. 

There could be a role there for the creative skills action plan. Forgive me, but I'm not aware of any other forum that would be appropriate. Perhaps others in this meeting could respond to that more effectively than I can. 

Clara neu Gillian? Na. Ocê. Iawn. Wyt ti'n hapus i symud ymlaen?

Clara or Gillian? No. Okay. Are you happy to move on?

Grêt. Gwnawn ni symud ymlaen at Hefin David. 

Great. We'll move on to Hefin David. 

I'd like to ask about equality, diversity and inclusion, which I understand is a very broad topic and we can't go into a lot of detail. But can I first ask about the arts council's submission, which says that your

'actions to improve equality and diversity across the sector are now having a positive impact'?

Can you describe what those actions are, and what evidence you've got that those actions are working?


Certainly. I think the evidence in the report in terms of the data would strongly support that there's been an improvement across the board there. There have not been any particular interventions in terms of schemes. However, over the last year or so, the sector, alongside us as an arts council, have wanted to see improvement in these fields. And we've raised awareness certainly of our expectations of funded organisations to take this on board, and I think we're seeing the results of that coming through.

The main intervention, I would say, though, is our targeted use of lottery moneys in terms of supporting particular grant applications in this field. There's been an increase in terms of projects that reflect opportunities. In terms of deaf and disabled projects, there's been an increase of about 30 per cent. And there's also been an increase of about 40 per cent or 44 per cent, I think, in terms of ethnically diverse groups receiving grant support from our lottery funds.

So, what about in communities like mine, where people would find it difficult to access the creative industries? Can you give examples of what's happening—what those grants mean in practice in those communities?

What the grants mean in practice is that we are creating opportunities for people to see themselves in our projects, actually—that our projects reflect contemporary Wales in a more just and equal manner. It's getting projects geographically diverse as well across all of Wales and into those communities. By actually supporting specific projects, for example, in the disabled community, that in itself, is a signal of the way we want to see the sector developing and the fact that we put a strong emphasis on having a more equal and diverse Wales and projects that we support.

I'll give you an example. I do an awful lot of work with the autistic community in and around Caerphilly. People with autism—and I'm directly affected by this—find it difficult to socialise and engage with creative projects, which they would actually hugely benefit from. What is happening with people in those circumstances, for example? Have you got examples you could share?

I haven't got a specific example of an autism project I can share with you this morning, but I can certainly get one for you. I'm sure that we have supported this in the past and I'm more than ready to do that. I think—

It would be very helpful to have those case studies.

And just because I'm conscious of time, Dafydd, I'm going to move on and ask the same question of Clara and Gillian. Is there anything you'd like to add around those issues?

If we're talking specifically about diversity in the workforce rather than our members and participants, it's hard to measure because I'm not currently aware of any baseline information for Wales, but I can talk specifically about National Youth Arts Wales. According to an anonymous survey we did, about 14 per cent of our workforce, both freelance and otherwise, are from global majority backgrounds and 15 per cent of our workforce has a stated disability. We know that we can do better on that and we've set up a diversity taskforce, who are people with lived experience of the barriers that we're trying to address. They hold us accountable and help us find ways of increasing diversity in the workforce.

One of the areas that I think that we all need to do better on is in neurodiversity, and I have a specific experience of that with two children who have autism spectrum disorder, so I'm really passionate about it. But there are good organisations in Wales, like Hijinx, who are working really well across Wales. For a relatively small organisation like ours, we don't want to replicate what's already there. We want to share good practice and share models and use the expertise that's there that can be targeted in different areas. So, I think there needs to be a more strategic coming together of sharing good practice and targeting it where it needs to be. 


Just before I come to Clara, you made an interesting point about the data. How much reliable and accurate data do we have about inclusion in the creative industries? It sounds like different bodies are doing different pieces of work, but there's no overall picture.

I think Dafydd can probably talk—. I know he's relatively early in post, but we look to the arts council to hold some of that, because that's who we're mainly reporting to. I think one of the things we always struggle with in Wales is that there are plenty of UK-wide surveys, and we all contribute to it, but it's difficult then to get really credible baseline information that is specific to Wales.

Okay. I'll hand back to Dafydd, and then come to Clara for a response too. 

On data gathering, we do collect data on a six-monthly basis from the organisations that we support. There is more work that needs to be done on it, though. I think that we need to improve the quality of the data and get it to be more nuanced, but there is baseline data that we could share. And also, it's things like—. For example, Hijinx was mentioned there; in my previous role as director of Aberystwyth Arts Centre, we were a rural centre of excellence for them there, and the work they do is quite incredible, actually. But also, part of the data is things like relaxed screenings in cinemas; we expect projects we fund to have relaxed theatre productions, and also we place targets on engagement work. But there's more work to be done on it; I won't come here today and suggest that our data gathering is of a standard that we are happy with at this point in time. There is data, but it needs to be improved.

Thanks for the question. I think it's something, going back to something that Gillian said as well, about this idea of people not necessarily knowing the different careers in the live music industry. That's definitely true for me; I didn't know about jobs like promoters rep or production manager until I was actually already working in the industry. So, I think there's something there about how do we get school-age kids and school leavers—and people actually outside mainstream education as well—aware of these jobs. I think grass-roots music venues can play that role, because actually, they're some of the only community spaces left, and I know of a few examples of venues that already do some of that kind of outreach kind of work as well. And there's something there, I think, about how do we raise awareness that these are careers that you don't just have to already be in the industry to know about them. And I think, actually, for people who don't want to go on to university or whatever, this is really exciting opportunity for them. So, I think there's something there as well.

There's a good question there about accessing those young people who are, say, I don't know, 12 to 14, who are thinking about their futures at that point prior to GCSEs. I understand from people in the education sector I've spoken to that it's very difficult for people like you to access those young people. What can be done to improve that from an equality perspective?

We launched a few years ago, or a year ago, I think, Connect and Flourish, which was a targeted programme to engage with different partners outside of the arts community. And certainly, I know from my experience in Aberystwyth that, working with local authorities, we targeted a particular project, targeting young people in particular who weren't engaging in the traditional educational system. And actually, over a two-year period, those projects were given more time to develop, so that the engagement, the connection with the young people was, rather than a short-term three-month project, over a period of time, so it allowed greater and deeper engagement. And I know that from the experience of one project in Aberystwyth, there are at least eight people that have come through—eight young people that previously had no connection with the arts whatsoever who are now engaging with art communities, not only in mid Wales or in Aberystwyth, but they're also engaging with—. One of the partners was Boomtown, the festival that young people find particularly attractive. I know that that's an example of a project that, by getting the arts community to engage with organisations outside what is traditionally the arts community has borne good fruit, actually.


So, with that in mind, are any of you aware of the Speakers for Schools programme run by Gyrfa Cymru/Careers Wales? Do you engage with that? It's just a 'yes' or 'no' question, I suppose. No, okay, that's an interesting answer. Is there anything else that you'd like to say about specific problems regarding equality and diversity that we need to tackle, particularly within some sectors of the industry? Yes, Gillian.

I think, again, I can't emphasise enough awareness of the opportunities. I know that we're talking a lot about the problems, but we've still got to look at the other end and the longer term. National Youth Arts Wales runs a project called Professional Pathways in partnership with Theatr Clwyd and Wales Millennium Centre and that's about offstage skills. We are getting young people from very diverse backgrounds, but all of them have a familiarity with theatre making, and it never ceases to amaze me that even those who are relatively well informed don't know that careers exist as theatre technicians, that my kind of job exists, or that you can be a promoter. Young people are coming to us whenever they're 17 or 18 and up to 22. That's what Professional Pathways is aimed at; it's about us trying to do something to change the future of the creative workforce and making it more diverse. But I think there's got to be more that we can do through the education system, and that's going to take a much more holistic approach.

I think, Chair, to get into that kind of depth probably requires more time than we've got today, but what seems to be clear is that we're not there yet.

There seems to be broad agreement from the witnesses there in terms of your nodding on that. I don't see that anyone else wants to come in on this point. Hefin, are you happy for us to move on?

Diolch am hynna. Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Tom Giffard.

Thank you. We'll move on to Tom Giffard.

Diolch, Delyth. Can I ask about the Welsh Government's creative skills action plan, what your assessment of it is and whether it sufficiently identifies and seeks to mitigate any skills and training gaps that there are in the sector?

Pwy sydd eisiau mynd yn gyntaf ar hyn? Gwnaf i fynd at Gillian yn gyntaf.

Who'd like to go first? Shall we go to Gillian first?

Again, I think one of the issues that we have is that while the creative skills action plan and the like are very welcome, there is a tailored approach needed for the arts and cultural sector. Commenting in general terms, and I've made the point already, perhaps, a lot of the thinking and the actions around developing creative skills are very geared towards particular aspects of the creative industries, the ones that tend to be more high profile. So, there is an absence of specifics to address the wider cultural sector and a lot of it tends to be focused on film and television.

Byddwn i'n cytuno â'r hyn sydd newydd gael ei ddweud. Dwi'n meddwl bod cyfrifoldeb arnom ni fel cyngor y celfyddydau i ymwneud yn bositif â'r cynllun, ac rŷn ni'n edrych ymlaen i gydweithio er mwyn sicrhau ein bod ni'n edrych ar draws nid yn unig teledu a ffilm ond ar draws y sector celfyddydol yn gyfan gwbl.

I would agree with what's just been said. I think there is a responsibility on us as the arts council to engage positively with the plan, and we do look forward to collaborating on it in order to ensure that we do look across not only television and film but the whole arts and creative sector.

I actually wanted Clara's response to what Gillian said, because Gillian said that it was geared towards tv and film, and, obviously, you're someone involved in the music sector. Would you say that the Welsh Government's creative skills action plan sufficiently includes and recognises your sector?

That's a really good question. Obviously, we are putting an application in to the creative skills fund, we're hoping that that does present an opportunity for our sector, particularly grass-roots music venues. I would agree with Gillian in general that the strategy does tend to be more focused towards tv and production, particularly, different Creative Wales stakeholder meetings that I attend tend to focus heavily on the film and tv industry. I can understand why. I know people, even in my own sector, who have actually moved over to tv and film because it tends to be longer projects, it's better pay, things like that. But, that does mean that organisations like MVT—we're hoping that our continued professional development training scheme might help to bridge some of that gap, but we will see. We'll wait and see the outcome of that. 


And how is someone involved in the music sector in the way that you are—how do you propose addressing that misbalance, if you like, of focus towards your sector?

I think that's a really good question. One of the changes I noticed over COVID was that, for the first time, a lot of grass-roots music venues actually got funding for the first time ever. They hadn't really had a history of engagement in public funding, so that was actually a positive and I think it's going in the right direction with that. I want funding for grass-roots music venues specifically, a kind of targeted fund. That could be focused on skills, it could be focused on programming, new and emerging talent. I think there needs to be an acceptance or an acknowledgement that grass-roots music venues and the work that we're doing is equal in terms of arts and culture to other types of creative industries. I think we've started that. I think getting the funding during COVID was sort of bringing us into that envelope, bringing us into that cultural fold. But, still more work needs to be done.

Sorry, Clara, I'm not picking on you, I promise, but just another one for you specifically. I'm aware, obviously, that a lot of the venues that you mention that you deal with day to day are more in the private sector, perhaps, than some of the other witnesses that we've got. Is there a role—is the private sector taking a lead on skills and training and development, or is that left to the public sector sphere, if you like?

Yes. I think, at the moment, the training package we're hoping to put together—I'm not aware of anyone else doing that, at least within the grass-roots sector. Hearing the scheme that Gillian puts together, I want to look into that because that sounds amazing. What we're seeing is a trend in the grass-roots music venue sector where venue operators are moving more towards not-for-profit status, probably because it does open up avenues of funding that you wouldn't otherwise necessarily get as a limited company. That's a trend we're seeing. At the moment, I'm not really aware of anyone doing that within our sector, so there's definitely an opportunity, which is why we're going in for that funding to see if we can do that.

Thanks, Clara. Can I just ask a similar question to our other two guests in terms of what role you guys think private companies have in improving skills and training—is it happening? And if not, can we encourage it, and how?

I might be making a slightly sweeping statement, and I don't want to alienate the private sector, but one of the particular issues that we have is that we feel that we're doing the training—and when I say 'we' I mean National Youth Arts Wales and our partners—and then, this issue that we have at the minute about retention of the workforce is that we're doing the training and there is a flow away from the sector into the private sector. Some of that's natural; we can't do anything about it, and we certainly can't compete with higher wages, particularly when it comes to film and television. But, it is difficult, in certain key roles in wider aspects of theatre making for example, and it does spill over into music too, where publicly funded organisations, small and big arts charities, are providing these training opportunities, and yet the beneficiary, ultimately, is the private sector workforce. So, I would love to see some kind of—whatever it is in reverse. But, I'm not sure how we as a sector would make that happen.

I think there certainly is a role for the private sector. I'm aware, especially in arts and health, of very positive examples, actually, of private care homes, for example, investing in music therapy. I'm aware of that in various homes across mid Wales, and it's really good to see and it's good quality care for the elderly. So, there's certainly a role of the private sector in that sense. I understand Gillian's frustration, maybe, that she feels that the training is done elsewhere, and others benefit from it, but then, in terms of young people, I think we have to invest in the training of young people across the sector, and their journeys will take them wherever their journeys take them. But it's something that we must take responsibility for, in terms of training.


One quick follow-up, just on what Gillian said there about you doing the training. I'm just wondering the extent to which you see yourselves as a pathway towards the private sector, or would you see yourselves more as part of that ecosystem, alongside the private sector, which does have an impact, then, on how important it is, if you like, that you're doing the skills and development, and perhaps the private sector are benefiting from it in the way that you said. How do you see yourselves? Do you see yourselves as providing that pathway?

I think it's a bit of both, and I did say I was making a bit of a sweeping statement, and I don't want to suggest that I would be particularly talking about young people, suggesting that they have to make a choice. Wales is a small country and people will naturally go where the work is. But I feel like the arts sector is—. I always say that National Youth Arts Wales is working with enlightened self-interest. We want a workforce that is diverse and fit for purpose, but I'm also thinking about who we, as National Youth Arts Wales, employ in the future. So, we're definitely a pathway to ourselves into the wider arts and cultural sector. I do think there is a bit of an issue—and we're really feeling it at the minute—where the private sector does benefit, because we are investing and we're not able to retain staff, because we can't compete with pay and working conditions. 

Thank you. And I just totally appreciate that these things are more nuanced perhaps than my basic question suggested, so I do understand that there's a nuance to it. Thank you.

Diolch, Tom. Diolch i'r ddau ohonoch chi am hwnna. Dŷn ni mewn i'n wyth munud olaf, a dŷn ni'n mynd i symud at Carolyn Thomas. Fe wnawn ni weld sut mae'n mynd, ond bosib bydd yn rhaid inni fynd drosodd o ryw ddwy funud i wneud yn siŵr ein bod ni'n cael atebion i Carolyn. Carolyn.

Thank you, Tom. Thank you, both, for that. We're into our final eight minutes, and we'll move to Carolyn Thomas. We'll see how it goes, but we may have to run over by some two minutes to ensure that we have answers to Carolyn's questions. Carolyn.

Thank you. Do you think that there needs to be better collaboration, perhaps regionally, amongst private and public sector—education, working together and sharing best practice? Anybody? Gillian.

Rŷch chi gyd yn edrych fel eich bod chi'n meddwl yn ddwys am hyn. Dafydd, dŷch chi eisiau mynd yn gyntaf?

You all seem to be considering this in some depth. Dafydd, would you like to go first?

Mae yna wastad lle i wella o ran cydweithio a rhannu best practice, does dim dwywaith am hynna. Rŷn ni yn wlad fach, ond rŷn ni'n wlad sydd â lot fawr o dalent, ac mae yna lot o enghreifftiau o bethau da yn digwydd mewn pocedi ar draws Cymru. Mae yna'n sicr lle inni wella. Mae yna le inni hefyd gydweithio mwy gyda'r sector addysg, does dim dwywaith hynny, ac mae angen inni ffeindio ffyrdd o wella.

There's always room for improvement in terms of collaboration and sharing best practice, there's no doubt about that. We are a small country, but we are a country with a huge amount of talent, and there are many good examples of good practice happening across Wales. There is certainly room for improvement. There's room for greater collaboration with the education system, there's no doubt about that, and we need to find ways of making improvements.

Oes unrhyw un arall eisiau dod mewn ar hyn? Gillian.

Anyone else want to come in at that point? Gillian.

I see the need for it, and I see the potential for it. I think, actually, through things like the national plan for music education, there's a model emerging in a really small way, because it's early on, where that plan, for example, isn't limited to just music services and publicly funded organisations, it also touches on, supports and brings knowledge from other people here operating, maybe not so much in the private sector, but that are co-operatives or set up as not-for-profits. So, I think there's a collaborative model emerging there that will take shape over time, but you will see different sides of a sector come together to invest in training and investment into pathways for young people, both on and off stage in music. So, I think it could happen, and I think there's a need for it. I agree with Dafydd; there's always room for improvement.


Okay, thank you. So, you've touched on this before, but to go back to it: does the workforce need further support from the public bodies, both in relation to the increased cost of living and more broadly? I know Alun was pushing the other way before. I know the Arts Council of Wales suggested that the creatives could be an industry for a universal basic income, to provide that security. So, do you think that's effective use of public money? What are your thoughts on it? Thank you. 

Ocê, fe wnawn ni at Dafydd yn gyntaf ar hyn, efallai.

We'll go to Dafydd on this first.

Mae hwnna wedi cael ei gynnwys yn ein hadroddiad ni, ac mae yn rhywbeth rŷn ni yn ei gefnogi. 

That has been included in our report and it is something that we support. 

Oes yna—? O ran beth roedd Carolyn yn ei ofyn, o ran cyfiawnhau bod arian cyhoeddus yn cael ei ddefnyddio ar ei gyfer ef, beth fyddai'ch ymateb chi i hynny?

Any further comments—? In terms of what Carolyn was mentioning, in justifying the use of public funds for that, what would your response be to that?

Mae wedi cael ei dreialu, fel dwi'n deall—mae wedi cael ei dreialu yn Iwerddon. Dwi'n credu, o ran y sector gelfyddydol, fyddai hwnna'n rhoi sylfaen inni adeiladu arni a sicrhau bod gennym ni sector sydd yn gynaliadwy ar gyfer y dyfodol. Dyna beth dwi'n meddwl sydd yn hollbwysig yn hyn i gyd. Rŷn ni mewn argyfwng, fel gwnes i sôn ar gychwyn y sesiwn. Efallai dyw hwn ddim yn ateb tymor byr; efallai fod e'n rhywbeth i'w ystyried yn y tymor hir, ond byddai'n rhaid inni adeiladu strategaeth ar ben hwnnw, felly, petai Llywodraeth Cymru yn dymuno mynd lawr y lôn yna.

Well, as I understand it, it has been piloted in Ireland. I think in terms of the arts sector, that would provide us with a foundation to build upon and would ensure that we have a sector that is sustainable for the future. That's what I think is crucially important in all of this. We are in a crisis, as I mentioned at the beginning of the session. Now, perhaps this isn't a short-term solution; it may be something to consider in the longer term, and we would need to build a strategy on top of that, if the Welsh Government desires to go down that route. 

Diolch, Dafydd. Clara neu Gillian—oedd gennych chi unrhyw ymateb i bwyntiau Carolyn, plis?

Thank you, Dafydd. Clara or Gillian—anything to add on Carolyn's questions?

I think for me I'd definitely like to see a targeted fund that is specific to grass-roots music venues. Obviously, that's probably not going to come as a surprise to anyone on the panel. I don't really know enough about the universal income to know whether or how that would impact, but, in terms of funding, I would like to see a similar fund for the grass-roots music industry sector that theatres and other creative industries in Wales could access.

I don't have enough detail on things like UBI. I think they're a good thing, but I know that the evidence isn't necessarily there. I do understand that other countries—Dafydd mentioned Ireland; there are other countries across Europe that look at targeted support for arts and culture and for artists particularly. What I will say is that I did talk about a potential cliff edge, and I didn't use those words lightly. I think pre pandemic we talked about resilience in the arts and cultural sector and only really meant it about diversifying earned income, and I think 'resilience' needs to mean something else now, and it needs to be understood that we've got to build resilience into the sector in whatever way we can, otherwise I think we are really looking at a crisis, where venues will close. It'll not just be about migration away from the workforce. And I think things like the CRF1 and CRF2 money showed—and Wales was particularly efficient at getting that out quickly—. I think it showed that targeted intervention works.

Cultural recovery fund.

Grêt. Diolch yn fawr iawn. Ocê. Wel, mae amser—. Dwi ddim yn gweld bod unrhyw Aelod eisiau gofyn cwestiwn arall, felly fe wnaf i ddiolch ichi i gyd am eich dystiolaeth y bore yma. Bydd record, transgript, o'r hyn sydd wedi cael ei ddweud y bore yma yn cael ei ddanfon atoch chi i'w wirio, ond diolch yn fawr iawn. Dwi'n siŵr y byddwn ni mewn cysylltiad gyda chi eto i tsecio ychydig o bethau, ond dŷn ni wir yn ddiolchgar am eich tystiolaeth y bore yma. Diolch yn fawr iawn. 

Great. Thank you. Okay. Well, time has—. I don't think there are any further questions, so I will thank you all for your evidence this morning. A transcript of your comments today will be sent to you so you can check it. I'm sure we'll be in touch with you again on a few issues, but we are very grateful for your evidence this morning. So, thank you very much.

4. Papurau i'w nodi
4. Papers to note

Aelodau, gwnawn ni symud—[Torri ar draws.] Diolch i'r tystion. Diolch yn fawr iawn am fod gyda ni. Fe wnawn ni symud at eitem 4, sef papurau i'w nodi. Mae llythyr at Ddirprwy Weinidog y Celfyddydau a Chwaraeon a'r Prif Chwip am y sesiwn briffio roedden ni wedi'i gael y bore yma. Mae llythyr at y Pwyllgor Busnes ynghylch yr amserlen ar gyfer memorandwm cydsyniad deddfwriaethol protocol Gogledd Iwerddon; llythyr at y Gynghrair Cefn Gwlad—gan y Gynghrair Cefn Gwlad, mae'n flin gen i—ynghylch ymchwiliad brys i werthu a phrynu tir amaethyddol. Ac wedyn, yn olaf, llythyr gan Gadeirydd y Pwyllgor Deddfwriaeth, Cyfiawnder a'r Cyfansoddiad am yr ail brotocol ychwanegol i gonfensiwn Cyngor Ewrop ar seibr droseddu. Ydy Aelodau'n hapus i nodi'r papurau yna? Ie. Dwi ddim yn gweld bod unrhyw un eisiau dweud unrhyw beth, so rŷn ni'n hapus i nodi'r rheini. 

Members, we'll move—[Interruption.] Thank you very much to witnesses. Thank you for joining us. We'll move now to item 4, papers to note. We have a letter to the Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport and Chief Whip regarding the briefing session that we received this morning. There's a letter to the Business Committee regarding the timetable for the Northern Ireland protocol legislative consent memorandum; a letter from the Countryside Alliance regarding an urgent inquiry into the sale and purchase of agricultural land. And, finally, a letter from the Chair of the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee on the second additional protocol on the Council of Europe convention on cyber crime. Are we happy to note those papers? Yes. I don't see any comments, so we will note the papers. 

5. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod
5. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting


bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi) a (vii).


that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi) and (vii).

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

Felly, dwi'n cynnig, o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42, fod y pwyllgor yn gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod heddiw. Ydy Aelodau'n fodlon derbyn hynny? Dwi'n gweld eich bod chi. Ocê, fe wnawn ni aros nawr i glywed ein bod ni'n breifat. 

I therefore propose that, under Standing Order 17.42, the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of today's meeting. Are Members content? I see that Members are content. We'll just wait to hear that we are in private session. 

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 11:40.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 11:40.