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UK government backs creative industries with Next Gen Skills Academy

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) has agreed to invest £6.5 million into the launch of the Next Gen Skills Academy, a project looking to support creative industries.

Games designers, animators and visual effects artists from companies such as Double Negative, Moving Picture Company, Pinewood Studios, Sony and Ubisoft have set up the academy to find the next industry leaders.

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The government has pledged £2.7 million to the project over the next three years, with an additional £3.6 million going to employers.

Business secretary Vince Cable stressed the importance of supporting creative industries in the UK.

"If we are to maintain our cutting-edge position, we need to make sure we have the talent and skills the industry needs. That's why the Creative Industries Strategy places skills development as a key priority for the future growth of this important sector."

The project will incorporate an online learning platform delivering training and skills, alongside the creation of a network of colleges. The facilities will offer several courses, more than 1,300 qualifications, 150 apprenticeships and more than 1,000 online training programmes.

Michael Davis, CEO of the UKCES, added that the partnerships at the heart of the project enable the Next Gen Skills Academy to be greater than the sum of its parts.

"This academy is an example of how, by getting together and discussing their skills needs, businesses have managed to create something bigger and better than they could have achieved on their own. We remain committed to helping business take ownership of their skills needs," he said.

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The importance of creative industries to the UK economy was underlined in the recent Creative Industries Strategy report, which claimed that the sector generated more than £71 billion in 2012, surpassing the growth of any other sector.

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.