Creative Skills Development in a Digital Age: case studies and policy opportunities webinar

Everybody who has worked on an EU project knows more than well that the final conference is one of those very special occasions in the project’s life cycle; planned months in advance,  requires engagement and contributions from all partners, certainly involves plenty of flight and hotel bookings. In a nutshell, it is a key, much anticipated moment which marks the closing of the project and gives organisers the opportunity to share achievements, outcomes, challenges and lessons learned with stakeholders and the wider audience.
Live Skills final conference was scheduled as such an event, to take place on the 26th of March in Brussels. Approximately two weeks earlier, it became clear that the F2F conference was neither a viable nor a permitted option any longer. Converting something originally designed for F2F interaction into a digital format was challenging, but at the same time it has been a very exciting, instructive and rewarding process.
The webinar, jointly organised with ASAP project, was a great success with a total of 73 online participants from over 40 organisations in 8 countries in Europe, including EU institutions, national embassies and cultural, educational and research organisations. Despite the packed agenda and hosting more than 20 speakers, presentations were short and to the point, people were engaging live on chat throughout the day and Q&A sessions worked in a very structured way with stimulating comments and feedback from participants.

Content wise, the one-day webinar presented the results and outcomes of two EU funded (Sector Skills Alliances) projects looking at skills development and innovative learning programmes for the wider creative and cultural industries:

  • Live Skills project involving vocational education and training for the Live Performance and Audio-Visual sectors in the areas of digital and new technologies, arts management and cultural entrepreneurship skills,
  • ASAP project looking at the changes in competences and skills required for the Publishing sector within a more and more digitalised world. 

Sharing experiences and exploring synergies and similarities between the two projects has been very interesting and initiated a broader discussion about the potential of the digital sector to be the driving force in the digital future as Richard Polacek, Director of UNI MEI said in his keynote.
Following a welcome by the organisers, British Council and the Federation of European Publishers, speakers from both projects brought out their synergies addressing the challenges of new skills requirements and ‘multi-skilling’, as well as the impact of the two projects on learners and employers, sharing experiences, good practices and lessons learned.
On behalf of Live Skills, partners from Bulgaria, Greece, Northern Ireland and Romania described how the project contributes to the enhancement of skills and employability in the cultural sector.  Crucial country-based research pointed to the emergence of small enterprises and a trend in self-employment, while identifying skills gaps leading to the creation and piloting of three innovative curricula in Cultural Entrepreneurship, Digital and New Technologies and Arts Management.
Experiences from the VET provider partners underlined the challenges of organising work placements and engaging with employers. The presentation of alternative piloting schemes tailored to the local context and industry’s needs highlighted the project’s adaptability and innovation in delivering training within the work environment, while the testimony of a learner placed at the Northern Ireland Opera showed the potential for new employment opportunities and  “brought the project to life”.
Live Skills project external evaluator shared some highlights from the report indicating that the project was reaching a total of almost 600 learners in four countries, with 70% of learners, teachers and employers reporting that they had directly benefited from the pilot curricula.
The final session was dedicated to exploring sustainability and policy opportunities. Partners looked at the challenges of accreditation and certification of the training resources developed by the two projects: this is a major challenge for the success of the courses created, because of differences in criteria in different countries, and due to the long term challenges of quality assurance and of adaptability of the curricula to changing needs and changing policies. 

Looking into the future, one cannot emphasise enough the potential for continued cooperation among partners beyond the project’s official duration, and the synergies providing opportunities for wider dissemination of the training resources and lessons learned. 

All Live Skills learning materials are now available on the project’s website for free use under creative commons license here.

You can listen to recorded parts of the webinar as well as download speakers’ presentations available through the links below.