Pwyllgor Diwylliant, Cyfathrebu, y Gymraeg, Chwaraeon, a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol
Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee25/05/2023
Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol
Committee Members in Attendance
|Carolyn Thomas MS|
|Delyth Jewell MS||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
|Hefin David MS|
|Heledd Fychan MS|
|Tom Giffard MS|
|Vikki Howells MS||Dirprwyo ar ran Alun Davies|
|Substitute for Alun Davies|
Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol
Others in Attendance
|Dawn Bowden MS||Dirprwy Weinidog y Celfyddydau, Chwaraeon a Thwristiaeth|
|Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism|
|Gerwyn Evans||Llywodraeth Cymru|
Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol
Senedd Officials in Attendance
|Haidee James||Ail Glerc|
|Rhea James||Dirprwy Glerc|
|Sam Mason||Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol|
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 09:45.
The committee met in the Senedd and by video-conference.
The meeting began at 09:45.
Nid oedd cyfieithiad ar y pryd ar gael ar gyfer y cyfraniad a ganlyn. Felly, darparwyd cyfieithiad.
No simultaneous interpretation was available for the following contribution. Therefore, a translation has been provided.
Bore da. Hoffwn i estyn croeso i'r Aelodau ac i bawb i'r sesiwn yma o'r Pwyllgor Diwylliant, Cyfathrebu, y Gymraeg, Chwaraeon a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol. Oes gan unrhyw Aelodau buddiannau i'w datgan, gwnaf i ofyn yn gyntaf? Dwi ddim yn gweld—
Good morning. I'd like to extend a warm welcome to Members and everyone to this session of the Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport and International Relations Committee. Do any Members have any interests to declare, I will ask first? I don't see—
There is a problem with the translation, so, we're just going to take a quick break and go back into private and become live again when we've sorted the translation problem.
Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 09:45 a 09:48.
The meeting adjourned between 09:45 and 09:48.
We're keeping everyone on their toes this morning.
Mae Alun Davies wedi danfon ymddiheuriadau ac mae Vikki Howells wedi dod i mewn fel eilydd, a dŷn ni'n ddiolchgar iawn i Vikki am wneud.
Alun Davies has sent his apologies this morning and Vikki Howells has stepped in as a deputy on his behalf, and we're very grateful to Vikki for doing that.
Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at eitem 3. Dŷn ni'n edrych ar yr heriau sy’n wynebu gweithlu’r diwydiant creadigol, a dŷn ni'n cynnal sesiwn dystiolaeth gyda Dirprwy Weinidog y Celfyddydau, Chwaraeon a Thwristiaeth. Gwnaf i ofyn i’r Dirprwy Weinidog i gyflwyno’i hunan ac i gyflwyno Gerwyn hefyd ar gyfer y record.
We'll move on to item 3. We're looking at the challenges facing the creative industry's workforce, and we're holding an evidence session with the Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism. I'll ask the Deputy Minister to introduce herself and to introduce Gerwyn for the record as well.
Indeed. Diolch, Gadeirydd. I'm Dawn Bowden, I'm Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, and I've got Gerwyn Evans with me, who's deputy director for Creative Wales.
You're both very welcome. If it's all right, we'll go straight to questions and I'll go to Hefin David.
Diolch, Gadeirydd. I'd like to ask the Minister, just straight into it: does the Welsh Government have targets for growing jobs and gross value added in the creative industries?
What I would say to start is, obviously, Creative Wales is still a relatively young organisation. So, part of what Creative Wales has been trying to do is to establish baseline data and to better understand the sector so that we can monitor the trends annually. But I think that, given that the creative team have been working on that, I'll ask Gerwyn to say a little bit more about how that process works and how they've been gathering the data.
Thank you, Minister. Yes, so, there's the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport definition of the creative industries, which covers a lot more sectors than Creative Wales has responsibility for. So, as an example, it's got architecture and the wider IT sector within the DCMS definition. So, we've been working, over the past 18 months, on understanding the baseline for the sectors we have responsibility for—so, the priority sectors that we focus on: screen, music, digital and publishing. We've done a lot of work around the standard industrial classification codes to gather the baseline information on that. The first time the data came out was last year, showing that the sector is worth £575 million to the economy, and over 6,500 people working in the sector. We'll have annual stats updated in July on those figures, so that will show against the key sectors that we're almost in charge of in terms of policy and funding support, whether those sectors are growing. So, while there are no targets, we do have a baseline, which indicates if our interventions are working, because it's specifically on the sectors that we support.
Okay. We've heard some concerns from the sector, particularly post pandemic, about overall health and distribution of skilled workers. Is the Welsh Government confident that there's good data on the overall health of the sector?
Again, I'll ask Gerwyn if he can give information on the data.
Yes, we work with partners, so the University of South Wales do annual studies around the skills shortages and gaps within the screen sector specifically. So, yes, we work with partners to gather that evidence base around the health of the workforce. We've done one year of an industry survey, where we write out to the industry and ask them about the health and well-being of their sector and their business, whether they're seeing growth, whether they've got any issues. We'll be issuing the second year of that survey in the next couple of weeks, so that will give us—. Alongside the data that we have on turnover, GVA and jobs, we'll have the more anecdotal evidence from business as to the health of the sector, so that survey will be going out in the next few weeks.
And you mentioned—
Forgive me, Hefin—forgive, me. Just quickly: could the results of that survey be shared with the committee when you have them, please?
Thank you so much.
We share it wide with the industry, so it's an indicator for us of almost the temperature of the sector.
Thank you so much. Sorry about that, Hefin.
That's fine. You mention the screen industries in your answer as well. I would like to know, how do balance attracting inward investment through big productions and then also manage to develop an indigenous workforce?
Well, certainly from our point of view, the priority is growing the screen industry, and we do that by supporting ranges of indigenous products, alongside targeted inward investment, where they complement our strategic goals, because I think that is important, that we don't just do this randomly, that it's done through a process of trying to achieve outcomes. So, we're looking to get the best investment in the economy and skills and the creation of those skills on a permanent basis. But overall, our objective is to maximise the long-term benefits through that mix. So, production funding, for instance, is deliberately spread across a range of indigenous and inward investment projects, and our aim, really, is to use that funding to help create an environment that allows the indigenous companies to grow. If I—
Just at that point, can you give me some examples of those projects—just name some of the projects?
We've got lots of examples, and I think it's probably—. I could sit here and rattle through them all, or—
Just tell us your top three.
Oh, Gerwyn, the top three—go on.
So, this year, in 2023, with our work with the BBC and S4C particularly, it's the year of drama. South-east Wales has a very good reputation for high-end tv and drama, because of Bad Wolf, et cetera. I don't whether you just watched Steeltown Murders, which is on currently. That was a programme we funded. We've got Michael Sheen's production in Port Talbot, The Way, currently being filmed, so we've spent a lot of time this year focusing on supporting more Welsh portrayal. I think it was a question from this committee a number of years back about that balancing between inward investment and Welsh portrayal, so we've done a lot of Welsh portrayal with independent production companies. This year, we've got the Men Up story about Viagra coming to screens as well, so please keep an eye out for that one.
What about geographical balance, though? How do you manage that? You've mentioned south Wales—how do you make sure that it's spread throughout Wales?
We do try to spread the investment across Wales. We've seen, recently, the development of the Aria studios in Anglesey, so that's one example of where we're trying to spread that investment, and we're also working closely to provide funding for Gogledd Creadigol in north Wales as well. We're really trying to build on the success of what we've seen in south-east Wales and spread that to other parts of Wales, and we're certainly seeing that investment in the north now.
Just before I move on to—. I want to move on to another sector, but is there anything else you want to add? I know I'm rattling through, we've got an awful lot to get through.
Just in terms of the inward investment question there, it's about a balanced portfolio for us; it's about strategically going after the inward investment projects that work for Wales. So, we've got a really exciting pipeline, and some good stuff happening in north Wales as well. So, in the next week or so, hopefully, we'll be able to announce a major inward investment project that is happening in north Wales. That balances against the independent production companies that we've been supporting as well.
Any hints about what that is?
Well, it's kind of—. It's out—[Inaudible.] so it's got a dragon in the title.
Has it? Okay. That's it, is it? Is that all you're going to tell us?
That's all I can say, I'm afraid.
Until next week, Hefin. [Laughter.]
Until the offer letter is signed and it's official.
We'll have a big reveal next week. [Laughter.]
Okay. I'm not going to push you any further then.
And my last question is: we've heard that, since the pandemic, there have been particular problems with the workforce in that arts and music sectors, and the rather alarming term 'spiral of decline' has been used in some of the evidence we've received. So, what support are you giving to the workforce in the arts and music sectors?
Okay. Well, over and above the normal annual allocation—. I think we did talk about this in the budget scrutiny as well, so I think it's probably just worth repeating some of that. So, we allocated an additional £1 million funding to support the cost-of-living pressures in the arts sector, via the Arts Council of Wales, with £500,000 for 2023, and a further £500,000 in 2023-24. And what the Arts Council of Wales are telling us as well is that their National Lottery funding has performed much better than expected, and that means that they're also now able to direct that additional funding to the cost-of-living pressures being faced by the sector. So, those are the key direct interventions that we've made in the arts and the music sector.
Again Hefin, I've got lots of examples of the activity that we are trying to support. I'm conscious, Chair, that we've got an awful lot to get through today, so I can go through the list of some of these projects, or I can write to you and give you the detail of how much we've—
It would be helpful to—
It would be helpful to have a list, if we can, if you can provide it to committee at a later stage.
Yes. So we've got a significant list of projects that have been supported, and, I think, if I can provide that to the committee rather than waste time literally reading out a list, that might be helpful.
No, we'd be very grateful. Thank you.
Yes, okay. All right.
So, I hope, Chair, that you're satisfied I've gone through that as quickly as I could.
Yes, you did, Hefin, very impressive. Diolch yn fawr.
Could you talk us through, please, what you think the Welsh Government could do to help organisations, or encourage them to improve working conditions in the sector, and also, in terms of pay levels, to help recruit more people, and a more diverse range of people?
All right. I'll start by saying that that is absolutely a priority for Creative Wales. We're encouraging organisations that we work with to improve their pay levels and working conditions. And what we can do is use our funding mechanisms in that regard to drive good practice. So, any grant funding that comes from Creative Wales, it will come with conditions attached to it. That is only the case as far as those organisations or productions that we are funding, for instance, or whatever sectors it might be. So, if they're getting direct funding from us, then there will be, as I say, a condition attached to that, where we will look to ensure that there are minimum levels of pay rates and so on. If it's production funding, then we also insist on certain numbers of trainees to be taken on in that area as well, and we work with the Welsh Government's fair work team to make sure that all of those requirements around pay and working conditions are actually in our grant offers.
I think, yesterday, we saw a significant move forward in terms in social partnership with the new piece of legislation that received Royal Assent yesterday. That will also feed into a lot of what we're doing, as will our work on the culture strategy, because I think one of the things that, as I say, it's important to reiterate is that we can only really determine things like levels of pay and working conditions as a determinant of a fund grant that we provide. So, that will come with a condition. The vast majority of organisations out there don't come to us for funding support, so we don't have the same levers in that way. So, for those organisations, the main lever, of course, is UK employment law. But what we do have is the cultural strategy that we're developing, and within that cultural strategy I would expect very much that expectations will be set out very clearly about what cultural organisations look like in Wales and how they employ staff, and what their working conditions are like, because that is going to be a key sector of the work being done on the cultural strategy.
Thank you for that. We held a workshop in the University of South Wales with lots of representatives from the sector, and some of the most concerning things that we heard were about the prevalence of bullying in the sector, and problems with mental health issues, particularly for younger entrants into the sector. With bullying and bad behaviour, it was reported to us that lots of people feel that they either don't know where to go to report that behaviour, or they can't, because everyone knows everyone in the sector. So, both in terms of the bullying, and also in terms of mental health support, a common theme that was coming up was that there aren't always HR teams in the very small, micro companies. Do you think that there's more—? What would you like to see being done? Do you think that there's anything that the Welsh Government can do to be, again, encouraging this? Do you think that there should be shared HR facilities for different companies to be doing this together? I know that there's an app that's been launched, but should there be something more structural and structured so that there's somewhere for people to go, either to report bad behaviour or to say that they're not coping?
Well, I mean, what you report there is clearly what we've heard as well, and it is very concerning and it's very worrying. I think it is a reflection of society; we've seen it in other organisations. I mean, this committee had to do an inquiry around what was going on in the Welsh Rugby Union; we've seen it in S4C; we've seen it in the Confederation of British Industry; we see it in a number of organisations. My approach to all of this is not that that is surprising, because that is a reflection, to a large extent, of society. What is important is how organisations respond to it, and how they deal with it, and those are the greater challenges that we face.
So, we have introduced a well-being facilitators pilot across the creative industries, and we've extended that pilot with further funding this year, and we've had very, very positive feedback from that pilot, which is giving access to people in a workplace to go to somebody that's not directly involved and related to the organisation that they work for, so it gives them the confidence to be able to go and speak to somebody about any issues of concern that they've got. And as I say, I think that is an initiative that is only happening in Wales, in the creative sector in Wales, and, as I say, very, very positive feedback on that.
What I would also say is that we do have the Live Fear Free campaign in Wales and a hotline that is available to anybody. That is something that we have encouraged the WRU and S4C to make their staff aware of, so that they have somewhere that they can go outside of their organisation to speak to. But the other point that you raise, which, I think, is a very valid point, is about sharing services across smaller organisations and smaller companies. That is a successful model that has worked on a number of our skills programmes. Again, Gerwyn, I don't know if there's anything that you want to add to that, because you've been more closely involved.
Yes. You're right; with a lot of the small, creative businesses, they're creative people, they don't have that general business skill set alongside that. So, there is general business support, and we signpost businesses to that, so we don't duplicate that business support programme that's in place from other parts of Welsh Government. But what we're trying to do is to encourage that collaboration. So, as the Deputy Minister mentioned, with the skills projects we've currently funded, it's all about bringing organisations together to work together so that they can collaborate and support where they can in issues like HR or finance or business advice. So, there is support out there, and we signpost where we can, but also understanding that there is a need, because of the nature of the sector, as very small enterprises and microbusinesses, to ensure that that collaboration happens as well.
Thank you so much. Finally on this, the well-being facilitator pilot that you talked about, could you just talk us through, briefly, how that can be accessed, please?
Yes. So, we've provided £150,000 for the second year; it's through Creative Unions Learning Together Cymru, which is a partnership with the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union. Basically, it provides well-being facilitators onto productions. So, it's a screen-sector-focused thing at the moment, but it's working so well we're going to try and replicate it into the music sector, and in the digital sector as well, over time. But, basically, when a production gets started, a well-being facilitator will go in, work with the crew, set up individual well-being plans, and then work with that production right through. So, some of the feedback we've had is that they've ensured best practice in terms of the health and well-being within the screen sector. Because there are difficulties. If you look at some of the statistics coming out of the Film and TV Charity, there are some issues in the screen sector around long hours, bullying and harassment comes back time and time again—
Burnout, yes. We're trying to bring youngsters into the sector and then they're getting burnt out, so there is an issue there. We hope this well-being facilitator programme is a real innovative step forward to try and solve some of the issues.
And we're also seeing, Chair—just to finally add to that—the establishment of a UK-wide body being set up now, which is the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority, and that's going to be looking at how all of those things work across the creative industries, as I say, across the UK, and Gerwyn and his team are working very closely with that board as well, so we can feed in to the work that they're doing as well.
Great. Thank you very much. I hope that goes well. Thank you.
Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Carolyn Thomas.
We'll move on to Carolyn Thomas.
Just some questions on equality, diversity and inclusion. We did hear, in one of the evidence sessions, that it was sometimes an afterthought and could be improved, so I'd just like to know how extensive is the data on equality, diversity and inclusion in the creative industries in Wales, and how does it differ between sub-sectors and how could it be improved?
Okay. So, there's a range of data sources that we gather to better understand equality and diversity. And again, I'm going to refer to Gerwyn, because this is very technical detail, and this is something that the team works on on a regular basis. Go on.
Yes. So, specifically to answer that question, I go back to my original answer around the data set and baselines that we've developed over the past 18 months. So, looking at the employment statistics within those baselines, we now have more detailed information on specific inclusive and diverse statistics that we need around the number of disabled people working in the sector, as an example. So, we've started to build up those statistics, and that'll give us a picture now, over time, about where we need to target our investment. Because we also have a non-exec board in Creative Wales that informs the Deputy Minister and helps on policy decisions. Inclusivity and diversity is the No. 1 agenda for the non-exec board as well, so it runs through everything we do. But we've got that data set now that comes out annually, which can inform us where we need to target our investment.
And I think, to follow on from that, and to answer Carolyn's question about how do we ensure that some of this happens, I go back to the question earlier about, where we are directly funding organisations, of course, we can make that a funding condition, and that is what we do. And so, again, I do have a list of organisations and projects that we have funded to enable that to happen. I'll just give you a very brief example. We provided over £400,000 to the Arts Council of Wales to deliver a series of commissioning projects that would deliver black, Asian and minority ethnic heritage projects across the arts sector. And again, I've got a list: we did some with the Race Council Cymru, with Makers Guild Wales, with Beyond the Border Wales, with Hijinks and so on, and I can provide the details of those projects, again, because they've been very successful.
We've also had projects that have worked with organisations to develop their training and awareness around equality and diversity. We've also seen the Arts Council of Wales taking on an agent for change, to transform the way in which the arts council delivers its funding. The whole funding of arts has now been reviewed, as you know, through the arts council review, so that is all fed in through that as well. So, we've got a joint action plan between the Arts Council of Wales and Amgueddfa Cymru on widening engagement. So, everything that we see happening in that sector, in the cultural sector, where there is a direct remit from me as the Minister, then inclusion and diversity is very much integral to all the work that we expect them to be carrying out.
Thank you. There was a suggestion that those in receipt of funding, one of the criteria would be to improve equality, diversity and inclusion, and you've said that is one of those targets that you can ask for if they receive funding, so I guess we need to promote it, really, what you're already doing, as good practice.
Transport was an issue, especially to some of the locations and sites for people from low socioeconomic backgrounds and those who have transport issues, especially students that have just qualified, and trying to encourage young people into the industry, and, again, the long hours. So, those are the things that have been raised with us. You've already talked about those—that's great. I think you've covered everything, really, that I was going to ask on those.
Okay. I was just going to say I think that those are fair points, and particularly the challenges around transport. We had a very similar conversation yesterday, Carolyn, if you remember, in the Local Government and Housing Committee about accessing libraries and cultural hubs and so on, and I don't think any of us in this room are going to shy away from some of the challenges facing us around transport at the moment. But that has to be a consideration, of course it does, because if we're trying to ensure that people from all backgrounds are included, then they need to be able to access all the things that we're providing. So, that is an integral part of everything that we have to look at.
If I could just quickly add there, as well, it's about sharing best practice.
Transport is definitely an issue, especially with entry-level youngsters coming into the sector. So, a production called Black Cake, which recently filmed out of Seren studio from Hulu, the big US streamer, they put a minibus on—they recruited from a very diverse background, and they put a minibus on and they were picking up young adults to get them into the studio every morning and dropping them back. So, there are good examples happening in the sector; it's about promoting those examples to ensure others take up the best practice.
Yes, great. Thank you.
Thank you. Are you happy for us to move on, Carolyn?
Yes, thank you.
Ocê, diolch yn fawr. Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Tom Giffard.
Okay, thank you very much. We'll move on to Tom Giffard.
Diolch, Cadeirydd. What do you make of the criticism that the creative skills fund will do very little in terms of the scale of the problem that's—[Inaudible.]?
I don't accept that as a criticism, because I think we need to see how it works, don't we? You can't criticise something before it really starts. We're allocating £1 million a year for the creative skills fund, so that's not an insignificant amount of money.
Is it enough?
Is it enough? Is anything ever enough? Everything we deliver, Tom, we could always do with more money, but £1 million a year I don't think is a bad start for a creative skills fund, and we've had a significant number of very positive projects that have benefited in the first year—17, I think, 17 projects.
We allocated £1.5 million in the first round, so we've got 17 projects, £1.5 million, being delivered currently and we'll open that scheme up again towards the end of the year for a similar level of investment. So the £1 million was a figure originally that we announced a few years back. We're actually delivering more than that through the current schemes, but we're also working with partners across the UK as well. So, the British Film Institute have potential funding that can come into Wales, so we're working with partners to put in a bid in to secure that additional resource, which will all go into the skills agenda. So, it's accessing those wider pots at a UK level.
But I think—. We sit on a lot of boards—BFI, BFC, the British Film Commission, British Film Institute—and people are looking to Wales as an exemplar in terms of what we're doing with skills, and obviously creativity's on the curriculum—the only part of the UK—which is really seen as a positive thing when we have conversations at a UK level. So, from looking and talking to people across the UK, they do look at Wales as doing good things within the skills agenda, but it needs to continue year on year to have an impact.
Tom, I think that Heledd wants to come in on a supplementary.
Thank you. Just in terms of measuring the impact, then, of creativity being on the curriculum, obviously the new curriculum is new, and so on, but how is that going to be measured in terms of the metrics, then? Because, obviously, it's very much—. With the new curriculum, it's for schools to interpret that. I know there has been some training offered in terms of Careers Wales and so on, but I think it will be important for us to understand the connection between that change in the curriculum and what the outcomes will be, and obviously that will only be over time. So, is that part of your planning now, in terms of measuring that?
I would have to speak to education colleagues that are in charge of that policy area, so we could come back in writing on that, if that's okay, because I don't know what the kind of levels of output that are required from that are. But, definitely, we'd hopefully see over the next generation more people coming out with creativity as part of their skill sets, because I think there's a stat out there that most jobs over the next decade or 20 years will have some form of creativity linked to them. So, we could come back to you on that. I'll speak with education colleagues.
Thank you—diolch, Tom.
Obviously, the creative sector, as you'll both know, and I think you alluded to it in your last answer, is a very diverse sector. Are you confident that every part of that sector knows about the funding that is available to it, in terms of skills and training opportunities?
This is similar to a question that we had yesterday about, 'Does everybody in the public libraries and leisure sector know about the support available through the Wales energy schemes?', for instance. I think I'm always open to reviewing that, Tom, and looking to make sure that the organisations that are out there that we aim to support are aware of the support that is available. I think we do as much as we can to promote what is available. The sector is generally quite well informed, I would say. If we look at the number of applications we're getting for grant funding, it wouldn't suggest that organisations don't know that there is support available. But I would also say that if we can do anything to improve that, then I'd be open to those suggestions.
The reason I ask is because in the University of South Wales Games Survey Wales, they said that most video game companies in Wales have not effectively leveraged public funding support. Do you think there's a particular problem with the video game industry?
There may or there may not be. It may be that they haven't leveraged support because they don't necessarily need it. It's a very successful sector; it's a very successful industry. We've put something in the region of £0.5 million into that sector so far this year. So it may just be that those organisations don't feel the need to leverage that support—I don't know. But if that is a gap where we are not reaching organisations that we feel should be able to get support from us, then I'm more than happy to look at that and review whether there are better ways in which we can reach out and make sure that they are aware.
Just to add to that, Minister, the gaming sector globally is huge, financially; it's worth more than film and tv. It's a small sector in Wales, but there are opportunities to grow it. We've put some new programmes in place over the past 18 months. Games Talent Wales is an example where we work with graduates coming out of the gaming courses in universities like Glyndŵr in Wrexham. We put a little bit of money into these graduates to start developing their intellectual property, because IP is everything within the gaming sector.
As the Minister mentioned, we're providing development funds. Those development funds allow some businesses to develop their IP—their ideas. We then recently took 18 businesses to San Francisco, to the big games development conference—the biggest games conference in the world. We took 18 businesses with us a few months back, and we're hoping that that will lead to significant investment.
We've got UK Interactive Entertainment, which is the membership body, coming down to Cardiff next week to talk to gaming companies. So, it's a small sector, but we have a strategy in place to try to build that over the next few years, because globally it's a very high-value economic part of the creative industries.
I think that report said that there was a lack of awareness of support, so that may be something you'll want to take forward. Some of the other evidence we've heard—I'm thinking of the Music Venue Trust, when they came to us a few months ago—said that the creative skills fund was focused more towards tv and production. National Youth Arts Wales said that there was a focus on film and television, and there isn't a similar route for arts and culture. Do you think you've got the balance right in terms of, like I say, the variance of the sector?
All of the subsectors have been recipients of support from Creative Wales, but, inevitably, the production sector is the most successful, so it follows success, doesn't it, in that sense. I wouldn't agree that other sectors are not receiving the level of support, but, proportionately, the most successful sector is the screen sector, so that's where the majority of funding has gone. I think that that is generally what we've done, isn't it?
I think one of the reasons for Creative Wales to be set up was to start supporting other sectors more than we had done with screen over the past period. So, you'll see that, within the 17 projects for the skills fund, as an example, there's a lot of money going into digital, into music, into cross-sector projects. The national youth arts group have actually had money from that—they're one of the 17 projects—and that's about working with youngsters in the theatre sector to take skill sets into the screen sector. So, we're doing more for other sectors than we have done historically, but that's something that Creative Wales was set up to do—to put more investment into the sectors alongside the screen sector.
Just going back to the argument you made, Dawn—apologies if I'm paraphrasing you—that production was the biggest sector, therefore it had the biggest slice of the pie, in the previous answer we talked about the potential in, for example, gaming, so do you think you're following the current ecosystem or do you think you're leading growth in another area?
I'd like to think that we're doing a bit of both, because it is important that we do help to develop growth in other sectors, and that, certainly, is what our funding attempts to do. But, inevitably, when you have a very successful sector, then the demands on that sector will be greater. What we want to do, where we have a very successful sector, is ensure that we maintain that success and we maintain that growth. We were talking earlier on, weren't we, about whether we can ensure that we see that growth across Wales and not just in certain parts of Wales. We've seen that the production sector, for instance, is very, very successful in south-east Wales, but we want to see that happening elsewhere. So, I think it isn't one or the other. It is about ensuring that we maintain the support of the successful sectors and give some impetus to those that need it.
Also, the boundaries between these sectors are getting thinner. As an example, Wales Interactive is a very successful gaming company based in Penarth. They're world leading, I would suggest, in terms of interactive movies, where you get to change the ending by almost playing a game within the movies. They've got a number of interactive movies in the marketplace. They've just signed a deal with S4C to do Welsh language interactive movies. The boundaries between gaming technology and the technology used in the screen sector are coming closer and closer together, so it's about encouraging those relationships as well, where we can.
I agree with you on that one. One last question, if you don't mind, Chair: one of the other criticisms that we've heard about the overall approach to skills and training is that it's too reactive to short-term needs. Do you accept that and how do you balance the short-term needs versus the longer term, as we've talked about, development of the industry?
To an extent, I suppose the short-term needs are due to the very nature of the sector, because it's productions and you have a production for a limited period of time. But, certainly, since I've been in post, I've been very well aware of the need to develop a skills base across the sector so that we have core skills available in Wales and that that is for the longer term. We have started to see, now, for the first time, a skills base that is core, and we have got people who have permanent jobs in the sector. That's actually a relatively new development; that's not been something that we've seen in the past—it's very much, you know, on each production you get a team of staff and then they're gone, and then they move on to the next one.
But I think we've moved to a position where we are seeing more staff choosing creative industries as a career and a permanent core employment that we haven't seen in the past. Inevitably, by the nature of some of the work in creative industries, it is short-term work. But if you're good in the creative sectors, each piece of work that you might be working on might be short, but you'll almost inevitably go from one production to another. That's something that happens quite regularly.
It's the dual approach, isn't it? It's fixing the issues within the sectors that are there now, and that's not unique to Wales—they are issues across the whole of the UK. Again, we work at the UK level to try to resolve the skills issues that are in the sector. But it's also about the longer term as well. So, one of the 17 projects is setting up screen academies within our studios, based on the success of Screen Alliance Wales, which I'm sure you've had evidence from in the past. It's really successful to bring the youngsters in. They basically show a chart of all of the jobs that are created within a production. It's not just working behind a camera or being an actor; you have hair and make-up, set design, electricians and riggers. Basically, mini towns are set up when these productions start. So, we're replicating that in the other studios we have in Wales now to try to get youngsters coming through with the ambition to work in the creative industries, because we believe that there's a viable sector for employment for those individuals coming through now.
Thank you. Before we move on, I just wanted to welcome the guests whom we have in the public gallery from the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar. I understand you're here with Amgueddfa Cymru. You're very welcome—it's lovely to have you with us.
Mi wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Heledd Fychan.
We'll move on to Heledd Fychan.
Diolch yn fawr iawn, Gadeirydd. Mae'n braf iawn croesawu'r gwesteion. Dwi wedi bod yn ddigon lwcus i ymweld â'r amgueddfa yna pan oeddwn i'n gweithio i Amgueddfa Cymru, felly mae'n braf gweld y cysylltiad.
Os caf i fynd ar ôl y pwynt yn bellach o ran pobl ifanc, jest i fynd yn bellach o ran y cysylltiad efo adran addysg y Llywodraeth hefyd a sut rydyn ni'n sicrhau'r cyfle i bob person ifanc, lle bynnag maen nhw yng Nghymru. Oherwydd mae yna waith gwych yn digwydd, yn bendant efo Screen Alliance Wales ac ati, ond, yn amlwg, mae hynny'n dibynnu weithiau ar yr ysgol i fod mewn cysylltiad, neu'r coleg addysg uwch ac ati. Dwi'n meddwl un o'r pethau sydd, efallai, yn fy mhryderu i ydy sut ydyn ni'n sicrhau'r cyfle yna, pa bynnag ysgol rydych chi'n ei mynychu, pa bynnag gyfrwng addysg, fel bod yna gysondeb. Felly, sut ydych chi'n cydweithio â'r adran addysg er mwyn trio datblygu hynny ymhellach?
Thank you very much, Chair. It's very nice to welcome these guests here. I was very fortunate to visit the museum when I worked with Amgueddfa Cymru, so it's nice to see the connections.
If I could follow on the point about young people, just to take this further in terms of the connection with the education department in the Government also, and how we ensure that that opportunity is available for every young person wherever they are in Wales. Yes, there's good work going on, certainly with Screen Alliance Wales et cetera, but, clearly, that depends sometimes on the school being in contact, or the further education college, for example. One of the things that concerns me is how we make sure that any school, any pupil, gets that opportunity, so that there's consistency. So, how do you work in cooperation with the education department to ensure that happens?
Following on from what Gerwyn was saying earlier on, we've got very close working connections with the universities in particular, but through Screen Alliance Wales we've also got a section on the Creative Wales website, which is now being developed, which is a skills section, which will be able to direct people making enquiries about work and careers in the sector towards Screen Alliance and towards other organisations and other bodies that can assist in that. Where I think we probably do need to do some more work is around the careers service and through education in particular, putting it on the radar of young people at an early age that actually working in the creative industries is a valid career choice, and is a career choice that isn't short-term, isn't insecure, it's actually something that can be a very fulfilling and long-term career for them. I think it's probably the area that we maybe do need to do a bit more work around, would you agree, in terms of the work with schools, because the higher education connections have certainly been well developed.
There are lots of organisations that are involved in this space as well, Into Film Cymru being one example that's doing really good stuff with schools. What we're trying to do is to have that one conversation around what the skills requirements are. So, we've got a network of stakeholders now. I think there are 60, 70 organisations within that. That's all HE, FE, all skills providers. And it's having that constant conversation, updating that network on what opportunities are happening to avoid duplication. There's a lot of duplication, potentially, within the skills offer, and that's one thing we're trying to resolve over time.
You mentioned working with the education department. One of the successes we've had is around the shared apprenticeship model, and we worked that through education colleagues, so it's now a recognised qualification. We don't have enough big businesses in Wales to take on apprenticeships, in terms of the cost, so what we do is we've got a shared apprenticeship model, where they go around different businesses and learn different skill sets from different businesses over the time of their apprenticeship. It's working really well. We piloted that in the south-east. Education colleagues recognised that as a real qualification, so we're now rolling it out up into north Wales as well. It's understanding what works in Wales, because the apprenticeship model is different across the UK. We've got a shared apprenticeship model working now. So, we do work with education colleagues where we think we need to in terms of sorting out the qualification route for individuals coming through as well.
Diolch yn fawr am hynny.
Thank you very much for that.
Thank you for that. I'd be very interested, Minister, in particular, in the further work you may be doing in terms of schools, because, thinking with creativity now, obviously it's part of the curriculum at primary school level as well. The amount of 10-year-olds who tell me that they want to be gamers or YouTube stars in the future—. Do you think it's sometimes a bit too late to start promoting once people are 15 or 16? Do you think there's an opportunity for us to look at younger—? Because from what I see, primary schools are screaming out for the skills in terms of stop-motion et cetera. I wonder how do we actually ensure that—. Obviously with the new curriculum there's so much for teachers at a primary level to be trying to explore at the moment; do you think there's a role for Government in terms of helping to develop some of these resources in partnership? Is that something that could be explored?
I think it's certainly something we can explore. Just a few years ago, it was computer programming wasn't it? It was the skill that everybody was trying to acquire and we started to see all primary school having computers and iPads, and kids at a very young age being able to develop programmes. I'm just baffled by all of that, but that's what we saw. And I think you're right, Heledd. The gaming industry, for instance—. In Merthyr college in my constituency, there's a whole department on it, on developing gaming as a career choice. So, if kids are gaming at an early age at primary school, then rather than it just being that they're sitting down and gaming, that they’re actually thinking that there's something we can do to make a career out of this and make some money and develop an industry. So, I think there's something in what you say about us having those conversations with the education sector about how we can introduce that at an earlier age. You've already alluded to the fact that the new curriculum is very much about what a particular school feels is appropriate for them and for their pupils, but nevertheless I think those conversations, the offer, the toolkit, as you described it, are something that can be put on the radar of children at a young age, across all of the creative industries, I think. We've talked about—. One of the things I've talked about in my constituency, in Merthyr college in particular—. They have an excellent drama department, for instance, but they also have hair and make-up design and carpentry and all of those kinds of things. Now, I don't know how much discussion goes on with the students in those departments about the kinds of skills that they’re learning in all of those potential industries, that they could utilise those skills in the creative industries. So, you know, let's add gaming to it.
Diolch. I'm going to ask this question in Welsh.
O ran y diwydiannau sgrin yn benodol, sut ydych chi'n meddwl y medrwn ni gynyddu'r nifer o siaradwyr Cymraeg sy'n gweithio yn y maes hwn?
In terms of the screen industries in particular, how do you think that we can increase the number of Welsh speakers who work in this area?
Again, we're doing a lot of work in that area. We're making funding available for Welsh language productions. Our memorandum of understanding that we have both with S4C and the BBC has got a specific commitment in there to Welsh language productions. That MOU has provided this year alone £1 million towards Welsh language film, and we're working with S4C and Ffilm Cymru to support Welsh language film through the provision and development of production funding. So, that is happening. We've also got our revised economy futures fund production funding guidelines, and that places an increased focus on projects of cultural significance, so the authentic Welsh portrayal, and Creative Wales is supporting a number of Welsh language productions on the back of that, and in fact I visited one just last week in the Bay Studios in Swansea. That was Tree on a Hill/Pren ar y Bryn, which they—. I find this fascinating, this whole process. They film it back to back. It's in English and Welsh. It's a bit like Hinterland. They film a back-to-back production, so they're filming it in Welsh and English simultaneously, so they will be simultaneous productions in English and Welsh, and we're helping to support and fund that as well.
Through the co-operation agreement, Heledd, you'll be aware that we funded the bilingual young content fund. That's again being delivered by Creative Wales, and again it's about demonstrating our commitment to Welsh language content being produced by young people as well. We're also doing a screenwriting course in partnership with the National Film and Television School in Wales, and S4C is now developing a course, a designed-to-help-writers course, I think it's called. It's about developing writers to deliver their work in Welsh. So, I think there's quite a bit going on. I don't know if I've missed anything, Gerwyn, but there is quite a bit going on at the moment.
I don't think so. I think the key thing is that we realise the importance of the creative industries in reaching the 1 million Welsh speakers target. We're a really important sector to achieve that, and working very well with S4C at the moment. Obviously, we've got a number of activities within the co-operation agreement as well, which are working towards improving that. So, yes, more can be done always, but I think there are some successes recently as well, with Dal y Mellt, the first Welsh language production on Netflix. So, there are really good things happening there, and, hopefully, with this announcement last week that we’re working in partnership with S4C and Ffilm Cymru on a Welsh language film, I’m hoping we'll have some real success coming out of that in the next few years. With, obviously, the success Ireland has had recently in the Oscars, we want to replicate some of that.
Or bring back, as we did with Hedd Wyn.
Yes, we did, yes—absolutely. So, bring back, yes.
We’ll have to find a donkey for our film as well, then.
Ocê. Fe wnawn ni symud, yn olaf—.
Okay. We'll move on, finally—.
In our final 10 minutes, we'll move on to Vikki Howells.
Diolch, Cadeirydd. Good morning, Minister. My first question is about apprenticeships. I'm just wondering what's your take on how effective apprenticeships can be at tackling issues such as equality, diversity and inclusion, and increasing the supply of skilled workers as well.
I think, really, that's just following on from what Gerwyn was talking about earlier on, particularly the Criw scheme that we developed—initially started in south Wales, moved to north Wales. So, I think there's—. Really, there's nothing much more I can add to what Gerwyn said on that, but it's been a hugely successful scheme that we want to see continue, because it's an alternative pathway for people, isn't it? And the Criw scheme in particular has been a scheme that's been developed to reach those areas of society that we wouldn't normally see come in to creative apprenticeships—so, whether it's people from diverse backgrounds, whether it's from areas of deprivation. That was specifically what the scheme was set up to do, and it's proven to be very successful in doing that.
Thank you, Minister. And Ffilm Cymru have raised some concerns about the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on cinemas and the knock-on effect their closure has had on the film sector as well. What do you think the role of Welsh Government is here? How can Welsh Government help?
Well, certainly, we supported cinemas through COVID. Clearly, they had significant access to the cultural recovery fund, as did other cultural venues. So, we did what we could to support them through that period. But, beyond that, what we have done is we've tried to support the promotion of the film and cinema sector. We've supplied £33,500 to Film Hub Wales this year, which is towards a role that will support audience-building activities in cinemas, and we've got targets to increase the economic activity in that area as well. And the British Film Institute, through its UK audience network, also provides financial support to hubs across the UK to support independent cinemas, and I think Film Hub Wales receives about £200,000 per annum from that particular fund. So, we do what we can to support venues. Whether they are cinemas, whether they're theatres, whether they're music venues, we do what we can to support. But, again, you will appreciate that there is a limit beyond what we were able to do in supporting these venues through COVID.
Thank you. And on a similar vein, the Musicians' Union have noted the importance of grass-roots venues in artists' development, and they say that those venues are really struggling at the moment. Do you think there's a role for Welsh Government to play there?
There absolutely has been, and will continue to be. It's a very important sector, and it does remain a priority for Creative Wales. We have provided £9 million for music venues, to help support music venues. A lot of the music venues are very small venues, of course, and that does make it difficult economically. We all love to go to small music—well, I do, anyway—venues, because they're very atmospheric and you get to see all the new bands and niche bands and all of that kind of stuff, so I absolutely get the importance of those small venues. Economically, they're very difficult, and we do appreciate that, but we have been working very closely with the sector to try to support.
Yes. I think one of the first schemes when the COVID pandemic hit was a scheme we ran to support music venues, because, in the build-up to lockdown, people had stopped going to music venues. As they aren't so economically sustainable—it's difficult to keep music venues going—and they're so important to a lot of communities around Wales as well, we did ensure that that money went in, and we didn't lose any music venues through the pandemic; we didn't have any closures, which is fantastic news, and we continue to support them going forward. So, we'll be announcing another small capital fund for grass-roots music venues in the next week or so, where they can bid in to develop their offer and their facility, because they are so important to the infrastructure of the music sector. So, we support music venues. We then support artists. We've just recently run a scheme where we're supporting promoters and music labels, so it's about having support for the whole infrastructure of the music sector, not just grass-roots music venues, which are critical to get the new artists exposure et cetera, but it's that wider support as well. We took a number of up-and-coming Welsh artists down to The Great Escape Festival in Brighton two weeks ago for the first time. We did a Welsh showcase in partnership with Clwb Ifor Bach and BBC Horizons, and that was very well received, so we'll be looking to do more of that kind of stuff now over the next few years, but ensuring grass-roots music venues still exist, because they are the lifeblood of the sector.
Thank you, Minister. Thank you, Chair.
Diolch yn fawr. Esgusodwch fi. Dŷn ni wedi dod i ddiwedd ein cwestiynau, oni bai bod gan unrhyw Aelod gwestiwn brys maen nhw eisiau ei ofyn. Dwi ddim yn gweld bod. Felly, gaf i ddiolch i chi am eich tystiolaeth y bore yma? Bydd transgript o'r hyn sydd wedi cael ei ddweud yn cael ei ddanfon atoch chi i chi wirio. Ond diolch eto—. Mae'n flin gen i. Diolch eto am y dystiolaeth y bore yma. Dŷn ni'n ddiolchgar iawn am eich amser. Diolch.
Thank you very much. Excuse me. We've come to the end of our questions, unless any Member has an urgent question they want to ask. I don't see that there are any. So, may I thank you for your evidence this morning? A transcript of what has been said will be sent to you for you to check for accuracy. But thank you once again—. I'm very sorry. But thank you very much for the evidence this morning. We're very grateful for your time. Thank you.
Diolch yn fawr. Thank you.
Diolch. Thank you so much.
Aelodau, fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at bapurau i'w nodi, sef eitem 4. Diolch eto. Mae yna dri phapur i'w nodi: 4.1 am raglen PEACEPLUS 2021-27; 4.2 am gyllideb ddrafft Llywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer y flwyddyn 2023-24; a 4.3 ar gytundebau rhyngwladol. Ydy pawb yn fodlon i ni nodi'r papurau yma? Ocê. Fe wnawn ni wneud.
Members, we'll move on to the papers to note, which is item 4. Thank you once again. There are three papers to note: 4.1 is the PEACEPLUS programme for 2021-27; 4.2 is the Welsh Government's draft budget for 2023-24; and 4.3 is on international agreements. Is everyone content to note those papers? Okay, I see that you are. So, we'll note those.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod ac o'r cyfarfod nesaf ar 7 Mehefin 2023 yn unol â Rheolau Sefydlog 17.42(vi) a (ix).
that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting and from the following meeting on 7 June 2023 in accordance with Standing Orders 17.42(vi) and (ix).
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
Felly, rwy'n cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod heddiw. Ydy'r Aelodau'n fodlon i mi ei wneud? Reit, iawn. Fe wnawn ni aros i glywed ein bod ni'n breifat.
I propose in accordance with Standing Order 17.42 that we resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of today's meeting. Are Members content to do so? I see that they are. We'll wait to hear that we're in private session.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 10:41.
The public part of the meeting ended at 10:41.