Pwyllgor Diwylliant, Cyfathrebu, y Gymraeg, Chwaraeon, a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol
Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee30/11/2022
Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol
Committee Members in Attendance
|Alun Davies AS|
|Carolyn Thomas AS|
|Delyth Jewell AS||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
|Hefin David AS|
|Heledd Fychan AS|
|Tom Giffard AS|
Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol
Others in Attendance
|Allison Dowzell||Cynghrair Sgrin Cymru|
|Screen Alliance Wales|
|Andy Warnock||Undeb y Cerddorion|
|Gabriella Ricci||Bad Wolf|
|Pauline Burt||Ffilm Cymru|
|Richard Pring||Wales Interactive|
|Siân Gale||CULT Cymru|
Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol
Senedd Officials in Attendance
|Craig Griffiths||Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol|
|Manon Huws||Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol|
|Tanwen Summers||Dirprwy Glerc|
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 09:30.
The committee met in the Senedd and by video-conference.
The meeting began at 09:30.
Bore da. Hoffwn i groesawu'r Aelodau i'r cyfarfod hwn o'r Pwyllgor Diwylliant, Cyfathrebu, y Gymraeg, Chwaraeon a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol. Allaf i ofyn a oes gan unrhyw Aelodau fuddiannau i'w datgan? Na, dwi ddim yn gweld bod yna. Rydyn ni wedi cael ymddiheuriadau dros dro gan Heledd Fychan; mae hi'n rhedeg yn hwyr oherwydd traffig, fe fydd hi yma gyda ni cyn hir.
Good morning. I'd like to welcome Members to this meeting of the Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport and International Relations Committee. May I ask if there are any declarations of interest from Members? I see that there are none. We have received apologies temporarily from Heledd Fychan; she is running late due to traffic, she will be joining us soon.
Rydyn ni'n symud yn syth ymlaen at eitem 2, sef yr heriau sy’n wynebu gweithlu’r diwydiant creadigol. Mae gyda ni sesiwn dystiolaeth y bore yma gydag undebau llafur a chynrychiolwyr gweithwyr. A gaf i ofyn i'r tystion gyflwyno eu hunain ar gyfer y record?
We'll go straight to item 2 on the agenda, which is the challenges facing the creative industry workforce. We have an evidence session this morning with trade unions and employee representatives. May I ask the witnesses to introduce themselves for the record, please?
I'm going to go left to right.
Rwy'n mynd at Siân yn gyntaf.
I'll go to Siân first.
Fy enw i yw Siân Gale, rwy'n gweithio i undeb BECTU a dwi'n gweithio ar gynllun sgiliau o'r enw CULT Cymru. Mae hwn yn gynllun rhwng BECTU, Equity, Undeb y Cerddorion ac Undeb yr Ysgrifennwyr, ac mae wedi'i ariannu'n fwyaf drwy Gronfa Ddysgu Undebau Cymru, WULF.
My name is Siân Gale, I work for BECTU and I work on a skills programme called CULT Cymru. It's a scheme between BECTU, Equity, the Musicians' Union and the Writers' Guild, and it is funded through the Wales Union Learning Fund, WULF.
Diolch, Siân. Andy.
Hi, I'm Andy Warnock, I'm the regional organiser for the Musicians' Union in Wales and south-west England.
Thank you so much. Simon.
I'm Simon Curtis, I'm the national official for Equity for Wales and south-west England.
Thank you so much. Carwyn.
Bore da. I'm Carwyn Donavan, I'm a negotiations officer working for the BECTU sector of Prospect, and I also chair the Wales Federation of Entertainment Unions.
Thank you all so much. We've got quite a lot of questions. Please don't feel like you have to answer every question, but, if you do want to come in, if you'd just indicate whenever you'd like to. We'll go straight to questions.
Fe wnaf i fynd yn gyntaf at Tom Giffard.
I'll go to Tom Giffard first.
Thank you very much. Good morning, everybody, and thank you for joining us. I want to start by asking what assessment you've made of the health of the creative industries workforce at the moment.
Shall I start? It's very fragile, I would say, and really problematic. Help Musicians UK did a survey recently that they published, and 49 per cent of musicians were very or extremely concerned they'd be forced to leave the industry, 35 per cent were slightly or somewhat worried, and that was an increase of 22 per cent from last autumn, 60 per cent of musicians are worse off now compared to last year, 78 per cent say they are earning less than before the pandemic hit, and 98 per cent are concerned about their ability to earn enough income. So, it's just really bad across the board, evidence-wise, basically.
And the cause of those stats would be the pandemic, cost of living—.
Yes, the pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis, increasing costs, Brexit, problems with static funding in terms of public funding through the arts councils and the licence fee and public broadcasters and things like that. Just the whole range of things, really.
Okay. Anyone else?
Diolch yn fawr. Dwi wedi bod yn dysgu Cymraeg nawr ers amboutu dwy flynedd, a dwi'n joio'r cyfle i ymarfer.
Thank you very much. I've been learning Welsh for two years, and I enjoy the opportunity to practice my Welsh.
Mae eich Cymraeg yn dda iawn.
Your Welsh is excellent.
Well i fi siarad yn Saesneg heddiw, achos mae'n rhaid i fi gael hyn yn iawn.
Perhaps I should respond in English today, because I need to get this right.
I think it's a very broad picture. I think we've got elements of positivity, mainly in the screen sectors, but we also have a lot of issues and concerns, particularly in arts and entertainment and live events. I think Andrew hit the nail on the head there; these have been brought to light by the pandemic. BECTU represents behind-the-screens workers in film, television and live events. Around half of our members are freelance and about half of them are in more traditional employment. So, I think we've got a good overview of the sector, as it were.
The pandemic highlighted the precarious nature of freelance work for us, as well as a lot of people, and that freelance work makes up to three quarters of the screen industries. Our freelance members lost their income overnight when the pandemic began to unfold. The lucky ones might have had a week's pay in lieu of notice. But, broadly, when productions and theatres shut up shop in March 2020, they terminated contracts, stopping income for tens of thousands of people. A lot of people understandably resented that. Our members might typically have three different employers in a week, but they're just as committed to an industry as somebody who's worked for an individual company for the entirety of their working life.
Some trust was won back by engagers when we were able to convince them that they could and, indeed, should take advantage of the coronavirus job retention scheme to furlough their workers, because these were discretionary schemes after all; the employers weren't compelled to take advantage of them. Of course, that only covered pay-as-you-earn workers. The self-employed got an even worse deal. We did a survey of our members early on into the pandemic that said something like 2 per cent of members who work under their own personal service companies felt they were being fairly supported by the self-employed income support scheme. It's the significant number of people who fell through the net in those UK Government schemes that led us to lobby the Welsh Government here for support, and I felt, for what it had available to it, it did a great job of providing that support.
Does anybody else have anything to add?
I think I would echo similar points for us. The majority of our members are self-employed, so they didn't have the furlough system available to them. We found that 40 per cent of our members fell through the self-employment scheme, and of those that were lucky enough to access that scheme, about 59 per cent found that actually it didn't support what they needed at that time. Many of our members took on additional debt to survive through the pandemic. I think it is a perfect storm—Brexit, the pandemic and the cost of living have led to where we are now. We describe it as a crisis of income. But I think all the points that my colleagues have made are as valid as well.
When you say 'where we are now', presumably you're saying, 'We're still dealing with the after-effects of what has happened'. Because I don't want to look back; obviously, we want to look forward. I'm conscious of where we are.
There are still challenges. Andy touched on funding. Obviously, we're talking about Wales, but we have to look at the impact of Arts Council England on Welsh organisations in the last couple of weeks. The Arts Council of Wales will be doing their own investment review. Their funding is standstill, so we know that we're just dividing up the same pot of money to the same group of people at a time when inflation is running at 12 per cent. I know we'll come on, perhaps, to talk about poor pay and things like that, and how do we address those challenges, but it's difficult to address those challenges when the underlying support and investment that's available is standstill.
I think part of the problem that lies behind some of the survey results and what the others have been saying is I think people felt, when the pandemic happened—or hoped, at least; there was always hope—that it was temporary and that we were going to come out the other side, whereas the problem at the moment is that it's hard for people to see beyond the current situation, in a sense. It's not something that's external that's happened to everyone; they feel that there might be ongoing problems. I think that's why there's a greater level of concern.
And just very quickly, in terms of the pandemic, it hit under-represented groups particularly hard, because of the falling through the gap in terms of funding, which the unions worked very hard on with Welsh Government, which worked well. People from global majority backgrounds, for example, were more vulnerable in terms of COVID-19 itself, but also not having the networks and finding it difficult to continue in the industry. Disabled people were hit really hard, and parents. Mothers in particular were hit really hard in the pandemic. There has been a mental health crisis—and we might come on to that later—in the creative sector for a long time, and the stats are fairly harrowing. It's still there, really, because of the atypical nature of the industry, because of the long antisocial hours, et cetera. But that is still underlying, and I think what we're doing as unions is trying to support our members as much as we can in terms of supporting them around their resilience and making sure that they have the networks and they don't feel isolated, because that's what happens to freelancers—they get isolated.
I think you've touched on a couple of things we'll come back to. You could come in, which would probably cover this point. Would you say the sector is in the same place opportunities-wise—putting aside the after-effects of the pandemic, Brexit and the cost of living—as it was in February 2020, before the pandemic?
Again, I think it's a broad picture. We've got areas of positivity in the screen sectors, but we have deep concerns over the recruitment challenges caused, in our opinion, by some very, very poor working practices, working conditions, terms and conditions, pay, in arts and entertainment and live events. I think it's important to point out that Wales benefits from high-end tv drama, or drama produced for subscription video on demand. If you look at the way the screen sector currently sits in the UK, most of your high-end film and major motion pictures are filmed within the M25 circle, or close to it, whereas Wales, in particular, benefits from these tv dramas.
I think it's fair to say there is good opportunity for some of our members, and there is opportunity for members in arts and entertainment. But, the opportunities come with less favourable terms. That's not to say that we're entirely happy with the working conditions in film and tv. If you look at the 'Eyes Half Shut' report that the union has published, which is an inquiry into the long hours culture within film and tv, there are still significant challenges there that we need to overcome in the interests of well-being and equality for those workers. But I think it's fair to say that the workers in film and tv have been able to organise for themselves at least some favourable and acceptable rates. That is not true for arts and entertainment. I worry that the crisis we face—and this is a concern shared by the employers as well—is of recruiting people into theatres, live events et cetera.
Does anybody else have anything to add just on the difference, perhaps, in the sub-sectors within the creative industries?
I won't touch on screen, but if we're looking at live events, many of our members work in care homes, they work in pubs, in the hospitality sector. They're facing huge challenges, because if we look at where we came from the pandemic, those were some of the last places to allow the public back in. Therefore, the availability of work was less. Then, they're operating with smaller budgets, which means the fees on offer are less. If you look at theatre as well, there are smaller casts, fewer productions. It's not all positive. I would say, actually, in answer to your question, there are fewer opportunities, not more. If we were the same as we were in February 2020, I think we could have some positivity in those sectors.
I think I would echo that. I would say there are probably fewer opportunities, but it's probably a split between—. Where there are the same opportunities, the problem is the fees and things like that being eroded, or being lower, or there are some places where there just are fewer opportunities. To take a really specific example, Welsh National Opera have said they're not touring to Liverpool anymore. I don't know the details of how that's going to work out, but if you're someone who might be a deputy in the WNO orchestra for their tour, that is one—. They're just going to be doing less. So, it's a combination of in some areas, probably, similar opportunities but problems with fees, inflation and things like that, and in other areas there are definitely fewer opportunities, yes.
Just very quickly, in terms of the screen sector, it's not all homogeneous. For example, the small indies work on very, very tight budgets, especially on S4C and BBC productions, so they're making very, very little money out of those. They have to work very, very quickly. The good thing about the small indies is that they're based throughout Wales, so the production sector isn't just here in south-east Wales. It's good to see that Caernarfon is starting to grow again. It was a big sector before 2010. We also need to remember there were 40 per cent cuts to S4C in 2010, and I think the independent sector is still reeling from that a little bit.
I'm terribly sorry, but I'm afraid we're going to have to move on. Sorry about that, Tom, but that was really useful. There may well be points that we'll want to raise with you in writing because we might not be able to get through everything, if that's all right. Sorry about that, Tom.
Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Alun Davies.
We'll move on to Alun Davies.
Thank you. I was interested in the responses there to Tom. It appears that you were describing all the difficulties—and I don't have any issues with any of the points that were made—but would you differentiate between some of the issues facing people who are freelancers and who are employed in the industry on a more permanent basis?
Who'd like to go first?
I think the majority of our members are self-employed. There are—I couldn't count—probably 30 full-time jobs within Wales from my members; the rest are freelancers. And I think that the precarity—. Even those in full-time employment, we have some that have in-work poverty, so I think even those that are on a full-time salary are struggling. But if we look at the precarity of the freelancers—going back to Tom's question—because the opportunities have shrunk, that's been a snowball, the opportunities even within—. And the cuts being made—. I think the challenges are the same; there's obviously slightly more security for those that are employed, but actually it's quite a small number within the sector.
I would agree. The vast majority of our members do at least some freelance work, and the majority of them would be doing all of it freelance, in the sense of having a portfolio career, and maybe some of their work is employed. But it's probably going to be a small part of their working week, effectively. Those who are employed definitely have more stability, but I think I would have just a very general concern about how the big picture of funding settlements and everything, from the arts council to local government, is going to play out over the next few years. There's definitely more security for them, but they are in a minority; most members would be doing either all self-employed work, or at least the portfolio career of freelancing, however that's made up.
So, yes, very much along the lines of what my colleagues were saying, I don't think either field is particularly safe. But it's important to note that this is one big ecosystem, and that the big employers then, in terms of broadcasting, like your public service broadcasters, play an absolutely vital role in the freelance market, firstly, looking at commissions—the work that they're getting often comes from the public service broadcaster commissions—but also it plays an important role in training the workforce. So, a common cycle that we see, then, is that people will work at, say, the BBC for a number of years, and what we've seen is that, as the BBC has suffered cuts and cuts and cuts, naturally these have been made through redundancies. So, people have tended to work at the BBC for a long period and then go into the freelance market. So, to have such a concerning air around the future of the licence fee, in particular—. I think to look at them in isolation is not sensible. You need to consider that these are all part of one big ecosystem, if that makes sense.
I'd like to add, as a former freelancer in the screen sector, it's very precarious being a freelancer, of course, and I think especially those at early career—it can take five years for people to be established, and it can be a difficult time. And again, especially those from less advantaged backgrounds, it's even more challenging. But, if you think about it, freelancers don't get sick pay, freelancers don't get employment support, they get very little maternity leave, they don't get any paternity leave, they don't get adoption leave, they have to pay for their own pensions, they have to look for their own work, they don't have guaranteed work, so it can be feast or famine, they're responsible for their own training.
Carwyn mentioned redundancies. There's always some sort of redundancy somewhere, because it has been salami-slicing over the years with the BBC. So, we've just had some people being made redundant from Pobol y Cwm, because of the reductions in hours, and we're trying to encourage as many as possible to come over to the freelance world, if that's what they want to do. But, again, they need a lot of support. They need a lot of support about how to be a freelancer, because, in effect, they are a business, so it is very precarious being a freelancer, especially in the early years. And some are PAYE freelancers, so they're working for companies on short-term contracts; there's little stability, but they're not sole traders. So, it is complex.
Thank you very much for that. So, 'where do we go from here?' is the question that's nagging me now. Because you've said in previous responses that we've got this coalition of real, shall we say, challenges facing the industry. We've had the pandemic, we've got the disaster of Brexit, and now we've got more austerity, which we know has failed in the past and created chaos in our economy. So, in that context, where do you think Welsh Government should be going, and what actions should Welsh Government be taking, as we run into a budget period, for example, which could help support and sustain the people you represent?
Big question. I suppose it's crude to say that it's all about money and investment, but it is investment; it will go and it will create work and create employment. I think it's difficult to see the live events in particular, through the funding, through the Arts Council of Wales—. It's difficult to see how that will increase and how productivity—. Because the ethos has been, over many years, doing more for less—you know, less reliance on arts council funding, not more. And actually, the challenges that—you know, it's not in Wales, but we see—. There's a particular venue in England that is spending its entire Arts Council England funding on its fuel bill. When you've got venues facing those kinds of challenges, it's difficult not to talk about money, because that is, in the short term, the answer. But I think looking at the availability of fair work, the availability of good work, is a positive, looking at the changes that perhaps are coming down the line with the social partnership and procurement Bill, the work through the well-being of future generations Act as well. There are some positive changes there, but—
Sorry, can I stop you there? I was interested—. I can understand what you said about fair work and the procurement Bill. How does the future generations Act benefit you, then?
Sorry, Chair. I didn't catch the last bit.
You mentioned the future generations Act in that answer, and I was wondering how that piece of legislation actually benefits you.
Well, it's going to include fair work, and it's how we define fair work, the availability of good terms and conditions, the availability of good standards of work. As we understand it, that is being put into that Bill to protect the culture, to protect the culture of work. Because I think a lot of the challenges we face are around bad practices, and it's how we start to redefine what good work is; it's how we start to redefine what fair work is. And, certainly, I think that work has to be done in conjunction with the social partnership as well, because we have to look at how we put in place—. The positive workplaces that we have run on collectively bargained agreements, which the unions have put there, but there are still too many workplaces that don't. So, it's trying to make sure that, actually, where we see improvements in the system, it's because of those collectively bargained agreements.
Do you mind if I—? Is that all right? I agree with what Simon's said. I think, just to try and think about some concrete things, I'm a bit concerned about the Arts Council of Wales investment review, to be honest. There's a sense in which they are looking at moving away from the national portfolio to more of a general mix, if I've understood their proposals correctly—and I'm happy for them to say if I haven't. But, for the really big companies, over the next few years, I'm concerned about that change, because, actually, the big organisations that employ most of our members, but also have the most opportunities for freelance work for our members, need to be protected over the next few years. I think there's a danger that, if you move away from a model of the portfolio, that you risk causing even more instability with those organisations than there already is. I completely appreciate a lot of their points around increasing diversity and opportunities in other places. I agree with that. But I think we need to try and manage, to some extent, over the next few years, and the biggest organisations are the ones that are really important in the ecosystem that Carwyn talked about for our members.
In terms of other concrete things, I think social partnership and the cultural contract are definitely important. I think there needs to be more work done on that and on collective bargaining. Ultimately, that's still better than the alternative. I'm a bit concerned about the idea of carrying on with the idea of trying to do more with less. I do think we've reached a point where that's hard to sustain. And I think—. This isn't under the control of Welsh Government, but a key thing for us is streaming. That's one of the problems that musicians have now, actually, compared to previous times—the issue that there just isn't the money coming through from recorded music. And the things that the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee in Westminster have been looking at with streaming and making the payments from that fairer could be really important for our members.
I think there are maybe some things that could be looked at. I'd be a big advocate of trying to look at—. It's difficult to find the capacity to do this, but try and look at more innovative solutions, things that we've explored a little bit in the past to do with co-operative models for work and things like that, but also just greater co-ordination. Things like trying to have more co-ordination between the night-time economy and the creative industries and local authorities across Wales, where—. Sitting on the Bristol Nights board, for instance, a lot of the time, the types of work that our members do haven't historically been considered, really, by local authorities and local government and other organisations when they're making decisions. So, I think some greater co-ordination doesn't magically fix everything, but at least it will be good to try and discuss these things and the issues that our sector faces more.
I think, in terms of investment as well, in terms of things like business skills—. So, as Andy mentioned, people tend to look at screen and they see production companies, but there's a whole plethora of businesses out there. We've got special effects companies, we've got make-up and hair companies; it's a huge ecosystem that maybe people aren't aware of. But business skills need an investment from the bottom up, really, from freelancers who are one-person bands who want to exploit their IP and copyright better and to get better money for what they do, to the larger companies that need to grow. Because, at the end of the day, we do need to grow and sustain the creative sector in order to bring money into the economy. We want Wales to work as a fair work nation, where it becomes a destination of choice for creative workers, because there is a lot of call now in terms of getting enough workers. In the arts sector, it's difficult because the pay is so low. Sometimes, people are only on maybe the real living wage and they've got a degree. Well, when they see other sectors, they're not going to stay there long. So, again, we need to look at clever ways of running our creative sector here in Wales—innovative and clever.
Alun, ydych chi'n hapus?
Alun, are you happy?
Okay. Great. Siân, you mentioned earlier that there's a mental health crisis in the sector because of the atypical nature of the industry. When we had a workshop recently in the University of South Wales, the committee heard that, particularly for young people, there are mental health pressures on them in terms of problems with bullying—for people of all ages as well—and that because of the microbusiness model that is so often there, companies don't always have the right HR capacity to deal with either issues like that or supporting people in the right way. There was an idea put forward that companies could share or pool HR resources in order to get support with that. Is that something—? Firstly, do you recognise—? Do the rest of you agree with Siân in terms of the crisis that she described? Do you think that having something like that, pooling that resource, would be a good idea? And is there anything that you'd want from the Welsh Government in relation to that?
I've got some good news on that front, in terms of what the Welsh Government is doing via Creative Wales. We are working on a pilot at the moment called the well-being facilitator role, and what's happening with that pilot is that it's a two-pronged approach where an independent freelancer, a well-being facilitator, is trained and works with a production company—and this is screen now—works with a production company looking at their mental health risk assessment. There is a duty for people—all companies—to do a mental health risk assessment, but unfortunately they don't. So, that would pick up things like the long working hours; the scheduling; the late nights; and whether you've got vulnerable workers on the production, such as new entrants, but also people, maybe, who have different conditions. It could be a lot of different things. Even prior to the pandemic, the Film and TV Charity identified that there was a mental health crisis in the screen industry. This was launched just before the pandemic, in February 2020. Nine out of 10 people in the tv and film industry had had a mental health problem; 55 per cent of screen workers had had suicidal thoughts, compared to 20 per cent of the population; 78 per cent cited long, unsocial hours having a negative impact on their lives—you're talking about people working 12 to 16-hour days very often, including new entrants; 39 per cent of global majority people, who we're trying to attract into the industry and have been doing for many years, said they had faced racial harassment and discrimination in the last year; 74 per cent of disabled people who'd come into the industry considered leaving; and BECTU's research identified that 68 per cent of people had considered leaving the industry because of the working conditions. And the reasons for these sorts of things are, as we mentioned, long unsocial hours, the unpredictability of work, and a culture of fear. Only 2 per cent of people said that they would go to their line manager to talk about the problem.
Only 2 per cent?
Two per cent said they would go to their line manager if they had a problem. This is because, to get their next job, they feel they can't speak out. So, the well-being facilitator pilot has been running since September. We're working on 10 productions with a community interest company called 6ft From the Spotlight, and we're working with five scripted productions and five non-scripted productions, and the issues are things—. Some things are not going to cost anything for people to sort out. It's things like new entrants coming in on a night shoot, maybe pouring down with rain, and they don't have wet-weather equipment. They may not be able to afford it, they haven't thought about it, they're coming in sometimes without a job description and person specification, so they're not quite clear what their role is. The heads of department haven't had training in management. They're freelancers. They would be expected to do training in their own time, and they might not always see that they should be spending their time undertaking training. I could go on for hours, but I won't.
Siân, would you be able to share that research with us, please?
Yes, of course.
That would be very useful, if you could.
And there's a lot of research from the arts as well. I'm talking about screen, but there are others like Help Musicians UK. What we do as well, in terms of our training programme, is we bring charities in and we run sessions with them, like Beat, like Help Musicians UK, the Film and TV Charity, because they offer bursaries and support to people. And, interestingly, the Film and TV Charity has a helpline. It's based here in Cardiff. So, there are lots of good things happening here, but sometimes it's getting that information out. What's good about this well-being facilitator is that we've set up an advisory group and the employers are onboard. We used to work well in partnership with employers many years ago when S4C was established, but that seems to have lost its way, but it's coming back through the social partnership approach.
That's really—. Forgive me for interrupting, I'm afraid we're going to have to move on in a minute. If anyone has something very brief that they would want to add. I'm so sorry that the time is so against us.
Just to say, as the officer that deals with the industrial matters and supporting workers, I absolutely recognise everything that Siân has said. There is indeed a culture of fear that prevents victims of bullying and harassment coming forward, for fear of being branded a troublemaker. So, I think it's important to note that that great work that Siân has been doing has received a good response from some employers, but I think it's important to note that it's being driven by the unions. Alun asked earlier, 'What can the Welsh Government be doing?' It is to work closer with the unions on projects like that, so that we can roll out that great work into, perhaps, arts and entertainment for a similar thing. But all of these challenges that Siân sets out are, of course, exacerbated by in-work poverty now. People are under pressure because of the squeeze on their living conditions due to inflation and things like that.
That's very, very useful. Simon, if I could implore you to be brief. I'm so sorry.
The thing I was going to reference is that there is already lots of good practice out there, and I think sometimes there is a danger that we try to recreate what's already there. There is a specific app that has been developed, and we've been supporting it, called Call It!, which tries to get across the issues that people face. It's an anonymous reporting tool for screen industries that captures workers' anonymous feedback on a range of issues, which include bullying and harassment, which is then aggregated and shared with production executives, and it also then signposts the worker to relevant resources. So, we're trying to break down that barrier, but it's difficult because we're not the regulator.
No, of course.
We're having to work with the industry.
What I'll do, if it's all right, is when we write to you, we'll ask you all for more information on this topic, because I know this is a very, very important topic, and I'm so sorry that we haven't had enough time to go into more detail on that, but that's all very useful. Thank you.
Wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Heledd Fychan.
We'll move on to Heledd Fychan.
Diolch, Gadeirydd. Actually, it is following on. Siân, you gave us some key statistics there, but in terms of data, if we look at equality, diversity and inclusion in particular, how much data is available around the creative industries in Wales, and perhaps specifically your unions?
Yes, I think the data is very, very poor, but I think they're trying to address that now, through the University of South Wales, and I know Creative Wales are doing some work on that, and the British Film Institute. I think the problem we've had with Welsh Government in the past, in terms of getting data, is that the creative industries were so widely defined, but they have now managed to hone it in to the key areas that we might be interested in in particular, in terms of our industries here. In terms of the unions, we do—. For example, we do skills audit and research and we will be doing mental health research in the new year, so we, as unions, will be doing research together, but we don't have equality and diversity data. Apart from who comes on our courses, we don't have all that data—in BECTU, at least, I don't think, Carwyn.
I would say, yes, I think there is a bit of a lack of data. I may come back to you, if that's all right, because UK Music launched a new diversity report only the other day, and I haven't had a chance to check how far that data drills down into nations and regions. But, historically, unfortunately, for the music industry at least, the data has generally been UK-wide and not drilled down into Wales. So, I think there is an opportunity, definitely, to do more on that and get more of an understanding of the creative industries across Wales, and I would certainly be interested in—. Paul Carr has definitely done some good work on this, and I think there is more that could be done with that, yes.
Yes, it's patchy. It does tend to focus, more often than not, on employees, rather than looking at workers. Somebody could be in a job for two or three days, and they then don't get tied up into that survey.
Yes, and obviously if they're not union members, some of the data that's reaching you is going to be different, then.
Sorry, could I just very quickly—? Look, Delyth mentioned there that the challenge is that productions, in particular drama productions, have poorly resourced HR functions or HR departments. My experience of it is that they have no HR function whatsoever. These are companies or operations that are not going to be there in nine or 10 months' time, and they hope that there will be no further conversation about that, so I think that's part of the problem. But, absolutely, the challenge is there in terms of diversity and equality as well. A lot of organisations, whether that's in film and tv or theatre and live events, are dependent, due to presumably the financial challenges they will claim, on people volunteering to do work to get into the industry. Well, that's impossible. That's an absolute barrier for equality and diversity, because people with family commitments, women with family commitments, single mothers—how do you expect them to give up the time that is already precious to them without the justification of being able to earn money then, isn't it? So, it comes back to that lack of resourcing, I would say. That's what I would say.
Very quickly on the research answer, when we do our research in terms of training and development, anyone can come on our courses. We don't stipulate that they have to be a union member. It's for anybody in the creative sector who wants to come. So, we do collect that data and we will be better at it now that we're slowing down a bit after the pandemic.
Great. Thank you. Just to follow on, perhaps, from the point Carwyn raised there, it is something—. Delyth referenced the workshop at the University of South Wales recently, and the committee heard there that tokenistic representation takes place rather than structural change. In terms of some of the solutions, who do you think needs to drive that, or how can that be achieved, because these are things that have existed as long as the industries have existed, in terms of people working for free, trying to get that opportunity? So, what do you think are some of the structural changes and who should be driving those?
I think sometimes—. Either the creative industries want to change or they have to be forced to change, because they've had every opportunity to make changes to the industry, but it's slow and they have to be prodded along the road for most of that. If there are achievable standards to be attached to funding, it all comes down to reporting and things like that, but essentially, how do we make sure that public investment is bringing back the correct approach to equality and inclusion? If we look at the root cause of it, it does come from the employer. The employer has to change. We often talk about the fact that, yes, we can ask for pay rises of 20 per cent, but if the employers' organisations are not willing to pay that, ultimately they are in control of pay and conditions, the terms and the recruitment practices. Perhaps if we look at the way that procurement is going to be done under the Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Bill, building in safeguards within procurement, it's making it an edict to get it changed, but I think we've been talking about it for too long and trying to make changes, and it's too slow.
And I think, in terms of traineeships, there are answers. Again, we're on the fortieth anniversary of S4C, and not long after S4C was established, lots of new independent production companies were around, but of course it needed to train the new generation, so what happened was that Teledwyr Annibynnol Cymru, the employers' association, and the then union, the Association of Cinematograph, Television and Allied Technicians, got together and they set up a training organisation that was funded by the employer. It started off with people working behind the scenes in tv and film having two-year traineeships. So, what they did, they went into the classroom and then they were put onto different productions, and 98 per cent of those people stayed in the industry. It did go down to one-year traineeships, but the problem at the moment is that we have traineeships linked to particular productions in screen, and they can be quite short. They could be four weeks. Well, that doesn't give a young person—or of whatever age, actually, these days—time to settle into the industry. And, again, there needs to be a proper training programme and there needs to be a well-being plan and a financial plan.
This week, there have been a few calls come through. One person had been working on a production and they were using their own car, but they weren't clear on whether they were going to be paid for petrol, and there were silly rules like they didn't get anything for the first 30 miles, then they were going to be paid 20p a mile, and then they were expected to take other people in their car. These are health and safety issues, and vulnerable people are so new to the industry and are frightened to say 'no'. So, I think there needs to be a good, robust traineeship based on fair work. But also, if we want anyone to be able to work in the industry, we really need to look at how they're going to sustain it. A few weeks' traineeship is not enough.
If I can come in briefly, it's a pretty complex area, so I think any answer I give will probably seem inadequate in a way, but I think there are a few strands to it in music. I think part of it is the commissioning and the programming, about really making sure that there's a drive for diversity and a real commitment to putting those diverse programmes together. PRS have had their Keychange initiative for a while—and I'm afraid I can't remember off the top of my head what the stats are on that—but I think there's got to be a real commitment from those people. I went to a meeting with an organisation called the Diverse Artists Network in Bristol yesterday, and that was something that was mentioned to me there, about that commitment to diversity and the things that go along with it, like for instance access riders and making those really consistent across all venues.
In music, I think there has been some progress in terms of funders really seeking to particularly focus on whether they can more actively encourage people from more diverse backgrounds to apply, so that's been progress. Again, the problem is with things like the arts council, you run into a problem, where with standstill funding—how can you make your funding across more diverse organisations, without, in my view, creating a problem by damaging the ecosystem, by cutting the funding from other organisations, where ultimately a lot of the employment still is?
And I think in terms of training and things like that, it's about, for music education for young people and talent development, trying to join things up more. Things can still be a bit siloed in Wales geographically and in terms of genres and sectors, so, I think there's got to be an effort to really join things up and bring more diversity that way.
Just very quickly, it's a collective responsibility, I feel. It's absolutely the role of trade unions to be pressing for progress, for inclusion, for diversity. But I note—perhaps it's only my aspect of it—the projects, then, to address these issues, always seem to be led by people like Siân and the trade unions, then, to say, looking at the diversity action plan for theatres, looking at the work that Siân has done with Raindrop UK to bring people from underprivileged society into film and tv. But it does need a collective approach, I feel, from Government, from the trade unions and from the employers to address these inequalities.
I live in a remote part of the Swansea valley, which is very close to a filming location, and I often question myself, 'How would somebody who didn't drive, then, come to work on this particular location here?' I think they'd be leaving to come to work before they'd arrived, if they were relying on public transport, to get to those remote locations where these productions tend to be based. So, Siân hit the nail on the head there; it's a significant challenge that needs a collective approach, I would say, but I'm proud of the role that the trade unions have taken so far in taking these matters to the employers.
Diolch am hynny. Mae'n flin iawn gen i, bydd yn rhaid inni symud ymlaen nawr, achos mae amser mor brin. Mae'n flin gen i am hynny. Gwnawn ni symud at Hefin David.
Thank you very much for that. I'm very sorry, we do have to move on, because time is so tight. I'm sorry about that. We'll move on to Hefin David.
Can the panel just give me some opinions on how the education sector can better develop a pathway for qualifications that better reflect a career in the creative industries? That's deliberately broad, by the way—[Laughter.]
I mean, my quick reaction to that is a comment that I was just about to make. There has been a shift, really, in the last few decades from the responsibility of training moving from the employer to education and Government in the creative sector. So, I think that there's a big debate needed to happen about what is the role of education. Is the role of education to educate, or is the role of educate to train, and where does that cross over?
In terms of qualifications, anything in the creative sector does need to have a business link. You can train musicians, you can train performers, you can train people behind the scenes, but if they're working in today's creative industries, they do need to know business skills, because they are likely to be freelance for part of their lives, and hopefully set up their own businesses. So, qualifications and the curriculum, they really need to embed business, as well as the other skills that are really important. But again, that dialogue between Government, education and employers needs to happen.
I would say that the new curriculum is very positive in Wales with regard to where the expressive arts sit. It seems one of the six pillars; I think that's incredibly important if we look across to what's happening with the role of arts within education elsewhere. But I would echo Siân; there needs to be an industry input into it so that it is relevant and it is preparing them for what the industry is.
So, if there's going to be an industry input, you need the sector working closely with further and higher education institutions, with schools to develop, particularly, perhaps, vocational pathways. to develop, particularly, perhaps, vocational pathways. Do you think there's a place for higher apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships in this area, because, at the moment, they seem to be focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics?
All I would say on apprenticeships—it goes back to a point that Siân made a couple of minutes ago—is that, of course, it's very difficult to place an apprentice on a four-week production. There needs to be a much more creative approach to apprenticeships within the creative industries, because they're not necessarily going to find something that is going to be for the entire period of their apprenticeship—
But an institution, like a further education or higher education institution would be able to design a programme that would take account of that, but it would need collaboration, wouldn't it?
Yes. And I think there are—
Yes. And I think Sgil Cymru work very closely with Welsh Government on apprenticeships in the screen sector, working, in some ways, in terms of how Cyfle used to work. Wales Millennium Centre, as well, have had an apprentice scheme in the past where they've had shared apprentices, so, what's happened is they've worked with further education and then worked collaboratively with theatres throughout Wales, like smaller ones up in west Wales and Ceredigion, Brycheiniog, who don't have the capacity to have their own apprentices. So, again, shared apprentices, I think, across the creative industries are a very good idea. The important thing is that there is money coming in for those young people, or older people, whatever their ages are, and that there's a collaboration between Government, education and the industry.
If I can—
I think there's—. Sorry, go on.
If I can come in, a few things on music, I think, first of all, the problem with music, to some degree, comes back to where we started our conversation, which is that if you want artist development, what you need for that are the places that are really struggling at the moment, to a degree, which are the grass-roots music venues. It's people being able to afford to just go out on tour and do gigs, and I think that joining up of music education and talent development organisations to be more collaborative—. But also, the work that's gone on in music education has been really positive over the last year, and I think we need to continue with that and, hopefully, in the long run, actually, just increase the funding. In a way, it does, to some degree, come back to that, because, again—and also diversity, which is that if you're thinking about music education, people are struggling to afford music lessons, they're less affordable than they would have been some time ago, and we need to make sure that all schools—that there's more funding for music education—but we need to make sure that all schools are engaging with things like that. It's great to have it in the curriculum, but schools engagement in the music service is optional and it's not historically been something, in my experience, that Estyn have looked out for and measured. So, then, there's got to be a real drive to make sure that all schools are engaging with, especially music, the services and the offer that are out there.
And colleges themselves, as well, how do they interact with the industry? I understand that a number of teaching staff would be from the industry, but is there a structure in place to ensure that programmes are developed with that in mind?
Well, I can talk for myself, we do a number of discussions and talks with students about the role that we play and about the role that the unions play. They're usually part of an industry week or an industry period within the curriculum. So, I think there are a number of colleges that are starting to be more industry facing in actually preparing them to come out to the place of work. But, to your point about those who teach within those institutions being from industry, I think it's important that that's part of it, because it's practical skills they need to take forward.
Okay, my last—. Yes.
Sorry. Could I make a more general point on training? As an officer who covers Wales and the west of England, I need to point out that I do feel that members in Wales are in a much more fortunate position in terms of what training is available through the union, due to the investment in the Wales Union Learning Fund. Of course, in England, that investment has been cut back, so when I speak to members, I have to identify where are they living, and what is available to them is very often dependent on what side of the border they live. So, I just want to pay testament to the commitment that the Government has made to that fund, and also to the work that Siân and her team do in delivering—identifying, first of all, where the training gaps are and then putting courses in place to address them.
Okay. And I think the creative skills action plan was announced—this is my last question, Chair, I just want to make sure that we're keeping to time—the creative skills action plan was announced in September, will it sufficiently identify and mitigate those skills gaps that exist? Is it going to be effective?
I'll just highlight one brief concern, which is—I think the Arts Council of Wales identified this in their evidence actually—just a risk I'm a bit concerned about, and I think others I've spoken to are too, about trying to avoid a divide between the Arts Council of Wales and Creative Wales. I think we need to do everything we can. I know that they're aware of it and they're trying to talk to each other, but, from a music perspective, my members don't really differentiate, to be honest, between the different parts of the industry and the way that that split exists. So, I think there's a real need to—. The plan is good, it's good to have a plan, and it's better that it's there, but it needs to make sure that it's looking across all areas of the industry, not just, 'Is it commercial or is it subsidised?' and making sure that it's the skills, like I said, for music, in terms of the actual artists and developing their skills in a practical way through gigging and performance.
Were you going to say something?
I declare an interest in the fact that I currently chair the skills action plan steering group, so was involved in the discussions around what the action plan might look like, but I think there is a concern that it obviously is looking very specifically at the remit of Creative Wales and not past that. So, there are identifiable gaps where it's not joined up because we're looking very specifically at meeting the criteria of Creative Wales and not anything else. But, I think we've tried hard to try and identify as many of the gaps as possible, including something that we've not touched on, which is actually a huge challenge around retention. It's not just about training new entrants into the industry, it's making sure that those who are there can stay, because we do lose track, sometimes, of people who literally just drift away because actually, the opportunities are not there, the type of lifestyle, et cetera, is not there. But, I think it obviously was heavily oversubscribed, so I think there are challenges to look at what comes next. But, I think also, the action plan is a living document, we're going to look at it again once we've looked at what's come in to see whether, actually, there are new places that we need to look.
Fairly quickly on that one, as an answer to your previous question as well, the good thing about that panel is that it includes further education, higher education, unions, employers, and other industry organisations. So, I think the way that they've put that panel together is really good, because it's people throughout Wales, in different areas of Wales. I think it's good, in a sense, that it could look at innovation and look at good ideas that people have in terms of training in Wales, and they identify 10 key areas, which I think was really, really helpful. I guess what it doesn't replace is the traineeships that we were talking about before in terms of that longer term process in terms of paid entry into the sector. But what it could help is with progression and retention.
Grêt. Oni bai fod gan unrhyw un unrhyw beth brys maen nhw eisiau dweud, mae gyda ni funud ar ôl. Dwi ddim yn gweld eich bod chi. Felly, diolch yn fawr iawn i chi am y dystiolaeth y bore yma. Bydd transgript o'r hyn sydd wedi cael ei ddweud yn cael ei ddanfon atoch chi i chi wirio. Mae yna rai cwestiynau dydyn ni ddim wedi gallu cyrraedd, felly os ydych chi'n fodlon byddem ni'n ddiolchgar iawn i gael atebion mewn ysgrifen ar y rheini. Ond, diolch yn fawr iawn i chi am eich tystiolaeth. Sori roeddem ni wedi rhedeg mas o amser, ond roedd popeth roeddech chi wedi'i dweud yn rili, rili ddefnyddiol i ni. Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi am eich amser. Thank you so much. Aelodau, byddwn ni nawr yn cymryd egwyl fer o 10 munud er mwyn paratoi am y sesiwn nesaf.
Great. Unless anybody has something brief they want to say, we have less than a minute left. I don't see that you do. So, thank you very much for your evidence this morning. A transcript of everything that has been said will be sent to you to check for accuracy. There are some questions that we haven't been able to reach, so if you'd be willing we'd be very grateful to have a response in writing to those. But, thank you very much for your evidence. I'm so sorry that we ran out of time, but everything that you did say was very useful to our inquiry. Thank you very much for your time. Members, we'll take a short 10-minute break to prepare for the next session.
Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 10:29 a 10:40.
The meeting adjourned between 10:29 and 10:40.
Croeso'n ôl. Rŷn ni'n dal i edrych ar yr heriau sydd yn wynebu gweithlu'r diwydiant creadigol. Rŷn ni nawr yn cael sesiwn dystiolaeth gyda sefydliadau'r diwydiannau sgrin. Fe wnaf i ofyn i'r tystion gyflwyno eu hunain ar gyfer y record. Fe wnaf i fynd at Richard yn gyntaf, yn yr ystafell.
Welcome back. We are continuing with our inquiry into the challenges facing the creative industry workforce. We now are having an evidence session with screen industries organisations. I'll ask the witnesses to introduce themselves for the record. I'll go to Richard first of all, in the room.
If you'd just like to introduce yourself for the record.
Oh, sorry. Hi. I'm Richard Pring from Wales Interactive, computer games, publisher and developer, based in Penarth.
Thank you so much. Gabriella.
Hi. I'm Gabriella Ricci. I'm a production executive at Bad Wolf.
Morning. I'm the CEO at sector development agency Ffilm Cymru Wales.
Hello. I'm Allison Dowzell, managing director at Screen Alliance Wales.
Diolch i chi i gyd. Fe wnawn ni fynd yn syth at y cwestiynau. Fe wnaf i fynd yn gyntaf at Tom Giffard.
Thank you very much to you all. We'll go straight to questions from Members. I'll go to Tom Giffard, first of all.
Diolch, Cadeirydd. Good morning, everybody. Thank you very much for joining us. I just wanted a general assessment, really, of what you've made of the health of the creative workforce in Wales at the moment. Shall I start with Richard, in the room?
Yes, sure thing. So, the computer games industry is quite an interesting one, actually. We've been quite resilient over the last couple of years, just due to the nature of the business being digital, and the transition to work from home was actually quite smooth for us. The pandemic, actually, was quite great for the—I say it in a bad way—games industry in general. There were a lot of people at home, a lot of people playing games, so the industry as a whole across the world just rose and rose. Since then, actually, I'm quite pleased to say it's managed to sustain itself. So, we're seeing a lot of companies that started during the pandemic still around and a lot of the activity still going. So, actually, with the games industry, we are quite healthy at the moment, I would say.
Great. Anybody on the screen want to answer that as well?
Hi. We saw, obviously, a significant increase of entry-level people wanting to get into the industry. However, the pandemic did have quite a significant impact on us, because we couldn't do our face-to-face education. We had to look at bringing forward all our plans to put our education resources online, but that, actually, did give us a way of reaching other areas in Wales that we weren't able to get into—schools, et cetera—as we work. But we are seeing an increase in crew registering on our database, and we did get back to working quite quickly.
Great. Anybody else?
Pauline. Forgive me, I should have said that the mikes will be controlled centrally. So, it's all good; you don't have to stress about the mikes.
No problem. I think it really depends which part of the screen sector that you look at as to its health, and the workforce's health. And when you look at production, there was a reasonably rapid recovery post pandemic, and then a lot of growth, fuelled both by the concentration of productions that were delayed during the first six months or so with the pandemic, and the massive growth in streamers and content demand generally. So, the challenges that we see for the workforce there are around rapid growth and need for additional people at all levels. So, people are working very long hours, they're working production to production without the breaks that they might have had in the past—it's those sorts of challenges to face. Whereas, if you look at exhibition, there's a different set of challenges where it's really taking quite some time to recover post pandemic. They haven't seen the same audience numbers come back, there's still a significant decrease on pre-pandemic levels, and we're seeing cost of living, obviously, impacting in people perhaps not wanting to spend money going out in the same way and costs going up. So, there's a different set of challenges in different parts of the sector.
And just to follow up on that, where there are gaps in one area, and perhaps an oversupply, if you like, in another in terms of workforce, do you find that people will move from one sub-sector to another within creative industries? Are the skills transferable in the same way? Has that been communicated well enough, where the gaps are?
There's quite a lot of work that we are doing, and are continuing to do, around transferable skills, including with colleagues, such as Allison and her team. It's not quite as easy as just saying, 'There are transferable skills,' because you have to look job by job, role by role at very specific industry standards that are looked at. But, in terms of general principles, soft skills and certain roles that you might think of—electricians, hair and make-up, administration, finance—there are roles where transferability is there. It's not an easy thing to do in practice, because people do tend to work quite tightly to their sub-sectors, perhaps less so between film and television.
Okay, thank you. And sorry, Gabriella, did you want to come in as well?
To be honest, we've been experiencing everything that everyone else has touched on, but, for us as a compan and, I think, industry wide, we've found that even though we were probably the busiest we've ever been during the pandemic, with the whole eight-month stand-down in production, we have experienced a shortage in workforce and we cannot keep up with the demand of the productions we're seeing in south Wales and the south-west Wales region, but we also have a shortage in appropriate training for the workforce. So, we're finding that people are moving into roles that they've never done before and we're trying to keep up and not having them being overwhelmed by it. That's the struggle we're finding at the moment. And we're also having a shortage of talent because, after the pandemic, a lot of people went in-house for job security. So, for us, it's the shortage in workforce and then keeping up—because people are moving into roles quite quickly, keeping up with the training of those people so they don't feel overwhelmed by what they're jumping into.
Thank you. There's just something I wanted to come back on, because I think there was a little bit of a mix there in terms of the assessment of the health of the industry more generally. Do you think those kinds of benefits in the growth of the screen industries is being shared fairly across the workforce? Are there people who are perhaps not benefiting in the same way as others? Anybody?
Whoever wants to go first—[Inaudible.]
I think that's quite a complex question, because I think you might be thinking, when you're asking that question, of other evidence that you've had across the arts sector more generally. When you're looking at theatre in particular, I think it's seen real challenges with people leaving the sector and looking at whether there are people who can come into the sector. And, again, when we're looking at that transferable skills piece, there is quite a bit of work and a lot more still to go on looking not only at those individuals who have been in the broader arts sector—and Allison might want to speak to this, because I know she's pointed her online portal to very specifically target people who are working in the broader arts sector who might have those transferable skills, so it's not just about screen jobs—but I think, across all sectors, there's an awful lot of potential for movement. You could have drivers, electricians, construction, all of these jobs that are not really in the arts at all but could relate to this industry. And certainly, from Ffilm Cymru's point of view, we've had a whole programme for the last six or seven years called Foot in the Door, which is very much entry level, so it will take time to bring people through, and we're working with a lot of partners on that, but that is absolutely looking at broader sectors, nothing necessarily to do with the arts, as well as the arts, where there's potential to bring more people in. But it needs a lot of adaptation in how the sector works to really make that work, not least because we're dealing with lots of small and micro companies who recruit very quickly and have very particular ways of working. So, there is a lot of change that is required to happen.
If I can just come in on that, on what Pauline alluded to, we launched our Step Across scheme, which would help people from other industries come into the film and tv industry. And we called it 'Step Across' so that when the industries reopened again, they could step back. From that, we started to do some retraining, or upskilling. So, we ran construction workshops for people in the construction industry who would have bespoke training, over a short period of time, actually, because it's just a different way of working; we worked with health and safety professionals; we looked at the services, we looked at people in the emergency services as well to come in and look at careers that they could come into; and we worked with location services as well and trying to get people in to be aware of all the new rules and regulations coming in to that. But we work across Wales. We work from the age of seven right up until 66. So, we go into the classroom to educate, and we work right across the piece, so to speak, to give people that entry level but then go on to a more professional career basis. And as Gabby said, people are stepping up too quickly, but we try and mitigate some of that because we try and give them a bespoke training package around them that can help them develop their skills and be more of a pastoral arms-around, to make sure that they're not overwhelmed. But, you know, we're just one small part of the production pathway, but I think it needs to be said that a lot of people coming in are far more worried about cost of living, worried about permanent placements, et cetera.
Thank you for that. Can I just quickly check? Gabriella, you were talking about training; are there particular posts that you would identify where training is needed?
I think it's across the board, but, for us, we struggle immediately in production, so in the production teams, because generally—. I mean, I hone in on production because that's my thing, but I have to say that that is the core. If you think of a whole working machine, I find that production is the core mechanism of everything that works on the set floor, and I find that we are getting people that have only been in the industry less than a year, and they're jumping into managerial roles—they're probably head of a department, and they just can't—. It's not that they can't cope with it—that's the wrong word; it's just that it's overwhelming for them, because it's a lot of responsibility, a lot of accountability, with the stuff that we're dealing with day to day, health and safety and all the other things. For me, I think it's across the board in every kind of department, but we struggle immediately with production and feet on the ground.
Diolch. Thank you. I think Tom's indicated that he's happy to move on.
Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Alun Davies.
We will move on to Alun Davies.
Thank you very much, and thank you for joining us this morning. I guess you will have seen most of the previous session with trade unions. They, I felt, painted a real picture of a disrupted workforce or community, and they were, I felt—. They described a workforce that is not just suffering in terms of the impacts of the pandemic and Brexit and the cost of living, but also a workforce that is fractured and almost broken. Is that an analysis that you would share?
Shall I go to Richard first on this?
Yes, sure thing. I think we're in a very different position, actually, with the games industry at this point in time. The cost of living is of course hitting everyone, the games industry included, especially some of the earlier jobs. However, generally the games industry tends to be quite well paid from the bottom up, for most companies. Where we are seeing hits around Wales is—. And Wales has, actually, a really great fledgling game community, where there are a lot of companies where it'll be two guys coming out of uni, or smaller teams creating together to try and create these roles and create games so that then they can go on and grow bigger and bigger teams. It's got a really great grass-roots environment, and that's where I'm starting to see some of the bigger hits around in Wales, especially when going to shows and going to the meet-ups and that side of things—those guys are finding it harder and harder to just keep their teams sustainable over the course of the time it takes them to create their first product, or to get their first leg-up into the industry. So, those are definitely getting hit the worst.
On top of that, the more established companies—. It's kind of more ticking along at the moment, I would say. Obviously, everything needs to move and, luckily enough, we've been quite successful so we've been able to move with it. But I know a few companies that are struggling to keep up with everything, so I think it's just keeping competitive, keeping that way around and, yes, overall okay, but some areas definitely need improvement, I'd say.
Diolch, Richard. Unrhyw un ar-lein eisiau ychwanegu neu eisiau ateb y cwestiwn? Pauline.
Thank you, Richard. Did anyone online want to add something there or answer the question? Pauline.
I think that the workforce in film and television has been very stretched for quite a while, and what we're seeing right now is an absolute sea change off the back of the pandemic—not so much the pandemic itself, but what happened during the pandemic. So, in particular, when you look at the level of growth that streamers had, the number of additional subscribers, the voracious appetite for content, then they're really sucking up a huge amount of crew across the whole of the UK. All of us across the UK that are involved in this space came together. The BFI did a big skills review—we put a link to that in our evidence—that showed that there's a need for up to 20,000 extra people across film and television by 2025, investment of £104 million a year into skills and training to meet the level of demand. So, what you're seeing is this massive demand for additional capacity, and that has a very significant knock-on impact for what you're seeing at the coalface, as it were, in terms of people's day-to-day experience.
This is why you're seeing much more acute attention, necessarily so, around things like well-being, getting well-being facilitators, intimacy co-ordinators, access co-ordinators, really thinking in a much more concentrated way about how you support leaders to embed a culture that's much more people centred. I think that has been really lacking. It's quite a fragmented sector that massively depends on freelancers and small companies who are coming together quickly and then dispersing again—coming together quickly for each production and dispersing. It's a very difficult system to create system change in. But there is a very focused energy on doing exactly that—a systematic change—right now. I think it will probably take two to three years to really start to work through.
BFI has got a cluster programme where they're looking to fund, over a nine-year programme, skills and training in quite a concentrated way, where they're looking to join up skills and training practitioners in specific geographic areas to really be able to bring their best work together and scale up, because it's a significant scale-up that will allow that sort of change piece to happen, and those two things have to happen in tandem.
Unless either Gabriella or Allison wanted to come in, back to Alun.
You started to answer my second question then, actually. I'm interested that, as witnesses, you've either chosen not to respond or haven't fully—[Inaudible.] I think that's something as a committee we'll need to consider. But looking forward in terms of recovery, where do you think the Welsh Government's priorities should be in providing economic and industrial support to the sector?
Does someone online want to go first on this one? While you're thinking, Richard, did you want to go first?
I think the key thing for the games industry, in particular, is the support from the very bottom to the very top. I'm pleased to say that, actually, quite a lot of that has been getting implemented, especially over the course of the last 10, 15 years that I've been in Wales, with Creative Wales and certain support at different levels. For example, when we started off, the digital development fund was a £25,000 grant for smaller companies. Now, I'm very pleased to say, actually, we can access media funding and that side of things from the higher end for games, which we didn't have a tick box for before. So, it is quite nicely evolving. However, with the games, it's just key that we always keep getting that tick box, because sometimes for games we do get forgotten about down the way. We're not the biggest industry in Wales, but it is a big thing across the world, and we just always want to make sure we've got that tick box there for games production—for bigger companies, but also to support those smaller companies as well. It's the double for us.
Thanks, Richard. Does anyone online want to add anything? Pauline.
Sorry, I don't want to hog it. I think there are three or four areas for me. I would like to see Government supporting good practice, with production companies having a good work or change fund that's available. Nesta is due to report quite soon on the good work review that they've done for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. They've worked across the devolved administrations in that, and workshopped it quite heavily, so that when we see good practice—which does cost money to do—that is supported and embedded, and we can see the evidence of what it means on the ground, how it's better for the workforce, with a healthier workforce, a better way to grow capacity in a sustainable way, and have funding available for that.
To give an example, they offer £15,000 at the moment for well-being co-ordinators. You might want to have childcare available for productions—that costs money to do. So, it's things that are good practice, to start seeing it as the norm to do for productions. I'd like to see a fund like that. I think, strategically, they should be looking—. They have an action plan, they've got a set of priorities for their skills investment, they've just had a fund round for this year; I'd like to see, going forward, how that strategically aligns, and that there's really careful thinking about where the gaps are, where the opportunities are, where the needs are, relative to other big skills funds. The shared prosperity fund will be looking to some degree at skills, for example, the British Film Institute cluster has got skills funding there—so how do we make sure that the overall piece knits together?
I think it's really important to have not a cultural recovery fund on the scale that we've seen, with Treasury support, but that we do look at exhibition. Perhaps in the shorter term they can be acting as warm banks, for example; they're in the hearts of communities, where they're going through a very, very difficult perfect storm of still not having recovered their admissions but seeing the cost of living impact on their costs and the ticket prices they can charge. If they collapse, that's the whole of the independent film financing model that they take with it. So, it's a big concern. The final area I think is an ongoing commitment around data collection. They've done some important work around finally surveying where the needs and the gaps are. I'd like to see that as a regular commitment.
Allison or Gabriella, is there anything—? Allison.
Just on a general level, we worked quite closely with the Welsh Government on the last series of His Dark Materials. Screen Alliance Wales is funded by the industry, so we can move quite quickly when we see skills shortages in certain areas. We had 15 trainees working on this production; the majority are still working in the industry. We've had, since we started, 77 paid trainees; 84 per cent are still working in the industry, and 93 per cent are still using their skills. So, with the production funding, we were able to work with more trainees on this production; it just shows that there is a pathway and they can carry on.
Alun, I didn't answer your previous question because I thought Pauline covered most of what I was going to say anyway. But we do work across, we collaborate here with a lot of the people that are on this panel—I work closely with Pauline. And so, we hope that we're covering as much as we can to help crews and to help production get the most out of the industry as we possibly can, and to create that pathway. The film and tv industry has had long working hours traditionally, but we all try to mitigate that, we all try to pay—. Well, all our trainees are paid over the living wage. We work with them, as I said previously, we try to wrap our arms around them, to give them training to enable them to continue. So, yes, that worked really well with Welsh Government last time, and hopefully it will continue in the future.
Alun, ydych chi'n hapus i ni symud ymlaen?
Alun, are you happy for us to move on?
I'm grateful to you for that. Is there anything the Welsh Government isn't doing that they should be doing? Because, Allison, you mentioned you worked very closely with the Welsh Government, and that's always good to hear, of course, but we're scrutinising the work of Government in this inquiry and in our work. Is there anything that you would say that—the budget's coming up, for example—the Welsh Government should be doing that it's not doing at the moment?
I think they're between a rock and a hard place, really, sometimes. As I've said, we're funded by the industry, so we can move quickly. The relationship with Welsh Government, with Creative Wales and the team there, is really good. We would like to be able to perhaps share more resources than we do. We're a small team of four; we have two full-time teachers and then we have an administrator. We try to cover the whole of Wales. Working with Creative Wales and the team to add to our resources would always be a benefit to us.
Leading on from what's already been discussed, in the previous session we were talking about the particular pressures that people in the creative industries face in terms of their—. One of the witnesses in the previous evidence session used the phrase, 'It's an atypical industry' in terms of the fact that there often are very small companies with either no HR function or a very underdeveloped HR function. We've had evidence that there are mental health issues that can acutely be felt, particularly by young entrants into the industry, as well as bullying issues and problems reporting bad behaviour. There has been a suggestion made to us that perhaps companies could pool resources and share them for things like HR functions, to try and overcome these issues. Do you think that would be a good idea? Is there anything more that the Welsh Government could or should be doing with that, do you think, or would that be something that you would want to see being led privately? Richard.
Firstly I would say—[Inaudible.]—obviously sharing HR and that side of things is, of course, people talking, really. I know the letter of the law would probably be not to talk to each other. However, between companies, there's, 'Thingy's been doing this from X company. Why?' I've seen it happen quite a few times, especially when larger companies get bought out in the games industry. If a smaller company will get bought out by a larger one, that company then will change around the HR and put it somewhere else, and that sort of thing. It's worked well about 50 per cent of the time, I would say. It depends very much on how it's implemented. Sometimes it's gone totally the wrong way and everyone's felt very disconnected to everything; sometimes it's actually worked out for the best, where larger problems can be sorted with people who are more experienced. So, I think this is very subjective, this particular one. It's very dependent on how it's implemented and why. As for—[Inaudible.]—I couldn't say; it's 50:50 i'm afraid.
That's fine. Thank you, Richard. Does anyone online—?
A oedd unrhyw un eisiau ychwanegu rhywbeth?
Did anybody want to add anything?
I'll go to Gabriella first and then I'll come to Pauline.
I think there could be added help there, definitely. We're finding increasingly on productions—. Like we touched upon earlier, we've taken on funding for a well-being facilitator on set, because mental health is a very big issue. We do relevant training with all our crews on bullying and harassment, but a lot of that training is done by private organisations that we hire to come in and take those courses with our teams—cast and crew. So, yes, definitely, I think there is a definite need for aid there, because it's one of our biggest—. I wouldn't say it's an issue; it's not an issue at all, but it's our biggest subject matter that we come across day to day. It's the thing that I deal with day to day to day. We're employing more HR people on our productions as private individuals to aid us in the process, in making sure all our teams are feeling comfortable, happy, settled within their working environments. So, yes, definitely.
Diolch. A Pauline, roeddech chi eisiau dweud rhywbeth hefyd.
Thank you. And Pauline, you wanted to say something.
I think there has been some work done, but more of it needs to be done and it needs to be accelerated around trying to support better practice, well-being facilitators being an absolute key example of it. But it's also things like making white label codes of practice available around bullying and harassment. BFI also developed a lot of resource and training around that. But I think it's more leadership training that helps to embed that and take it up. I think wherever there's a funder, whoever that is, whether it's a broadcaster, whether it's Welsh Government, it's using those levers for behavioural change—so, what we require of those that we're funding. For us, we have sustainability plans, everybody needs to do equality plans. They're very specific to their particular production and their particular circumstances. There is funding that we also ring-fence to help support things that might cost a little bit more where there's good practice. Then I think it's all about sharing that good practice out there, making sure that's a regular thing so that people aren't all learning in silos, and where we can learn quicker how to be better as a sector.
Diolch am hwnna. Oni bai fod rhywun eisiau ychwanegu unrhyw beth, gwnawn ni symud ymlaen at Heledd Fychan.
Thank you for that. Unless somebody wants to add something, we'll move on to Heledd Fychan.
Diolch, Gadeirydd. Thank you all for joining us today. I just wanted to follow on from some of the points raised. I think specifically, Allison, you mentioned the difficulties during COVID in terms of going into schools and colleges and trying to engage face to face. Just looking more specifically at equality, diversity and inclusion, in terms of do you think there are any specific problems regarding equality and inclusion, and how they may differ between your different sectors within the creative industries.
Yes, please. Forgive me.
So, just talking from Screen Alliance Wales, we recognise that it's a challenge; we recognise that it will probably be a challenge for a long time to come. We are trying to make positive in-roads into communities that wouldn't normally traditionally think of coming into film and tv as a career. Screen Alliance Wales works in Butetown and Grangetown. We do after-school clubs, we do holiday clubs, we do regular workshops, and we also try to do as much as we can to show that the film and tv industry is open and equal to everybody. So, we've seen an increase in people registering for our courses, people registering on our database, but we still need to do more. We have 50 per cent who identify as female, 17 per cent identify as not heterosexual compared to 5 per cent nationally, 18 per cent declaring a work-affecting condition, and 9.1 per cent are from the global majority compared with 5.6 per cent nationally. Now, that's not good because we're based in Cardiff, but we're trying to do better, and the more we can get into the community, I think the better we will be.
Diolch. Certainly, from visiting, it was really great to see what you are doing, but it would be interesting to hear from others. I think there was an indication of someone else wanting to come in.
I think Pauline wanted to come in.
Yes. I mean, there are very particular barriers for each protected characteristic that you look at, and then again around socioeconomic exclusion. So, when we think about how we support a greater breadth in our sector, we have to be really particular about what that support is. So, when looking at socioeconomic exclusion, it's things like nobody in your peer group being in the sector, not having access to transport, not having access to childcare, not having access to information about what the opportunities are, for example, and then design those programmes and the training and the pathways around those particular barriers.
I'm not going to go into the detail, because it's all out there, and we've talked about it a lot before in these sessions, but that is fundamentally what we did with the Foot in the Door programme was to design that programme specifically around socioeconomic exclusion, which intersects with all of the protected characteristics. And what has been really, really important, and where we've seen the dial move is to design these programmes and opportunities with the communities that you're seeking to work within, so that it's much more people centred.
So, we've just spent a year working with lots of other skills and training providers: Sgil Cymru, Coleg Gwent, housing associations, Screen Alliance Wales, et cetera, CULT Cymru and union representatives, and community organisations such as Open Circle. In Newport, we had 800 opportunities, and what we saw by going in there and working with community organisations on the ground, where all that kind of trust and the embeddedness within those communities is already there, is that the people who came through that programme—and there were 800 opportunities across the year—reflected the population. I think it's only when you work with communities in that very embedded way that you're genuinely going to get across equality, diversity and inclusion in a meaningful way.
Richard, did you want to add anything to this?
I would second what Pauline and Allison said, actually. It's exactly the same. Understanding opportunities as well is a really big key one. All of the varying roles from the industries and that side of things, we just find, sometimes, especially with games, we get lumped into, 'You've got to be a programmer to work in games', and obviously being in the industry we know that that's not the case. So, it's making sure that everyone knows what options they can go into and giving the opportunity to showcase that, whether that be down to shows—. So, one thing that we would love to see coming back again is that there used to be a Welsh games development show many, many years ago, down at the Wales Millennium Centre. We had many, many people from all over. It was absolutely full—everything from Storm Troopers down to Tibetan monks. It was such a good day, and you had people from all communities coming round and seeing what the games industry was like in Wales. It was absolutely brilliant. So, that's one thing, just on a sub-note, we would like to see coming back again, if possible. But, just as a whole, I would second those guys.
If that does ever come back, I think we will definitely want to come and see it. Carolyn wants to come in on a supplementary here.
Yes. I'm really interested in your games industry, and are your skills transferable into film and screen as well? I know that when I went to Bad Wolf studios, I had a look round, and I didn't realise how much construction is needed there and all sorts of different industries—catering, et cetera. So, how do you know about all of these different jobs that are available in these industries, because I had my eyes opened?
Yes, it's quite interesting, actually. So, we are an interesting hybrid as a company because we actually work across film and games. We do something called interactive movies, which are 'choose your own adventure' books and film format, as well as your traditional computer games—that side of things. But the skills are very much transitional, especially now coming into the virtual productions market. So, virtual productions being computer-generated imagery scenes. A lot of that work is actually done in game engines these days, so I'm seeing a massive convergence of games and films together. The two things become hand in hand eventually, so it's quite interesting.
I think Allison—.
Allison, forgive me.
I just wanted to say there is a mind map in our classroom that runs from one side of the wall to the other side of the wall, and it starts with the idea and it finishes up on the screen. Sorry, I shouldn't wave my arms around. But it shows all the different departments that are available and all the different job roles from caterers, from medics, from drivers, electricians—you name it. You can link back into practically every sector in the industry, and we go round the schools and I think our teachers can actually link back every single aspect of the curriculum now to a job in the industry, down to biomechanics, I think, we're doing at the moment. So, there are so many roles available in the industry that can come into the film and tv market.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. If I can just return, perhaps, to the equality, diversity and inclusion element specifically. At that workshop at the University of South Wales again, the committee heard that there can be tokenistic representation taking place rather than structural change. Obviously, there are some programmes, as you've referenced, which are trying to tackle that, but how do you think structural change can be achieved? And, specifically, is there a role for Government to do more? Is there further support needed? Who should be driving that change?
Would you like to go first, Richard, since you're in the room?
Okay, Richard first, then we'll come to you.
I think it's across the board. We have really good links, actually, with USW and Cardiff University, and we've seen some great initiatives coming out of them in terms of games, the Tranzfuser labs, and a few others, where they are encouraging people from all different courses, actually—exactly what we've talked about now, but on an university scale—to come and enjoy games. And, again, I think the key thing is just that awareness of different skill sets and different abilities. The games industry is full of wildly varied people from all over. That's the one thing we've always been great at, actually, with the games industry, is it's not one thing. Creativity can come from anywhere, and especially now with the world opening up, we work with people from South Korea and we work with people from Los Angeles. It's been very interesting to get all those, and we get better products out of it. So, I think it's just keeping that intensity up within Wales and externally from Wales as well, encouraging people to come in here with skills, with different opinions and different values, and then bringing them all together.
Lovely. Lovely. Who would like to—? Pauline, you put your hand up, I think.
Yes. I think that it's right that there has been some tokenism that we've all witnessed around diversity, where people have literally done a kind of a bit of a tick-box exercise, and it's very evident when people approach it that way. But I think that is becoming less the case as people see how diversity really creates much greater value across the board, where we see the connected experiences that we're all having, and again, of course, it's growing capacity overall. So, inclusion is a great result from an economic perspective. So, whatever people have been—. I don't know why they have not behaved that way in the past, but they are starting to see the benefits, and we are starting to see people being more genuine, I would say, about it.
But in terms of what Government can do, I think they have looked at—and, I think, that, again, there's more to be done here—this notion of when funding something, what is the ask in return, in terms of those kinds of contractual commitments and how they work those through. And there is this notion of an economic contract, or a cultural contract. I think some of that work perhaps stalled the cultural contract work that they were also working on with the arts council. And it is on a project-by-project basis, or on a programme basis. When they're funding something, be really explicit in those contracts about what you are doing in this area, how you are working in this area to promote change in this way, and backing that up with resource and good examples of best practice to help, because it is challenging, and if people haven't worked in that way before, they need to have good examples to be able to draw upon that sort of shared learning. So, I think there is more work around the shared learning and how contracts are used that can help it to be more embedded in the sector.
The other thing, which I didn't touch on earlier, is that I think there's also, particularly around disability, areas where products and services might need some more investment. So, there's a fantastic group called Underlying Health Condition that Jack Thorne, who's a writer in the industry, set up, along with production managers and various other industry professionals. And it looks very specifically at—[Inaudible.]—people with any type of disability being able to work in this sector, and it is very, very practical. So, things like, 'Do you have accessible toilets at your unit base?' Well, if you don't, it's pretty unlikely that people are going to find that a welcoming environment to come and work in. And that requires that service to be available, and for producers to be able to go, 'Right, we want accessible toilets.' We've only recently seen that in, say, music festivals, and now it's prominent and it's the norm to see that offer. So, I think we need to look at where the gaps are as well, where there are practical impediments to people being able, or obstacles to people being able to feel welcome in an industry, and where investment is needed.
Diolch. Dwi'n hapus efo hwnna.
Thank you. I'm happy with that.
Iawn? Ocê. Grêt. Gwnawn ni symud at Carolyn Thomas.
Great. We'll move on to Carolyn Thomas.
I think a lot of it has been covered. If I could—. Does the workforce need further support from public bodies to help them, especially with the cost of living? And it has been mentioned about having a universal basic income. Do you think that would be a good use of public funding, and would help with the industry?
Yes, sure thing. Again, I repeat what I said earlier, actually, with this particular one. It's 100 per cent key for the grass roots. So, keeping those companies alive throughout the first couple of years is absolutely key, and the easier it is to access. So, I think the main thing, especially over my time in this, is that what we've found was that the applications to get some funding, and that side of things, were the same for a company who had three people as one who had 3,000 people. So, I think it's making those applications and the process accessible. Obviously, there has to be a certain level of due diligence—I'm not saying you should just go throw money out at everyone—but making that accessible for smaller companies, as well as for larger companies, is the absolute key. And not assuming everyone's got a financial department is the key one for that one.
And on the idea of the universal basic income for the industry, do you think that would be something that—
Do you know what, that actually hasn't come up in the computer games industry before, but I don't think anyone would be against it.
It's just that basic flow of money, isn't it, just to—
Thank you. Did anyone online want to come in on this? Pauline.
As I mentioned before, I think some support for exhibitors that, short term, could be perhaps administered off the back of the fact that we've already gone through a cultural recovery fund. A lot of those exhibitors needed support to stay open, but they are going through a very, very rough time, and you've heard evidence from the arts council about over 50 per cent of the venues on their portfolio experiencing significant financial difficulty within six months. So, I think that would be money well spent after the level of investment that's already gone in. And I'd just point out that the BFI is in very active discussions with DCMS about potential extra support of that type. But it will only cover England because they obviously administer the funds for England as part of that cultural recovery fund, and they had funds set back, I believe, or ring-fenced, that they can now look at. We don't have that situation here; it would need to be new investment. So, I think that would be important to look at. Otherwise, we're going to be at a distinct disadvantage in Wales.
And in terms of universal basic income, I haven't seen it particularly discussed even at UK-wide level, and I think we're seeing a picture on production where there's more work than we can actually cater for at certain points in the year. However, I think at entry level it's a different story, and it's very difficult, always, for writers, directors, producers to start off in industry and for the people who are at the very start of their careers. So, in that area, if it was quite focused, I could see a genuine value in it.
Gabriella neu Allison, oeddech chi eisiau ychwanegu unrhyw beth?
Gabriella or Allison, did you want to add anything?
I would just say that all our entry-level trainees are paid the living wage plus, and they're often paid more than that. It's a commitment at Screen Alliance Wales to make sure that we pay the living wage plus, and then production will often top up, depending on the role of the job at the time. Thank you.
Okay, diolch. Carolyn, are you happy for us to move on?
Yes. That's fine, thank you.
Wnawn ni symud, yn olaf, at Hefin David.
We'll move, finally, to Hefin David.
Most of what I wanted to ask, Chair, has been addressed. I wanted to ask about skills and training opportunities, which have been discussed at length. I'd just like to ask very briefly about the Welsh Government's new creative skills action plan, and whether that is effective in providing the additional identification of skills gaps.
Would anyone online like to go first on this? Yes, Allison.
I think very much so. I think, you know, it's early days. We'll see how that pans out, but it very much is akin to the work that we're doing at Screen Alliance Wales, which is to give everybody the opportunity who wants to work in the film and tv industry, in particular, the ability to do so and to make sure that they have the skills to carry them on to the rest of their career. So, as I said before, we work collaboratively with Ffilm Cymru, Sgil Cymru, CULT Cymru, Bad Wolf, the other production companies in Wales, and we look forward to seeing what that looks like, and also with the skills and training fund that's coming out.
Okay. Does anybody else want to come in before I ask my last question?
Pauline. I think Pauline, and I think Gabriella might, as well, actually. Pauline.
Yes, I would just say again, it's very welcome to have those clear priorities stated and to have a very experienced advisory board informing that. We were informed that it was very, very heavily oversubscribed, that fund. So, I think they had an £800,000 investment and it was several times over that in terms of applications. So, when you couple that with the level of demand that we see, I think the relative amount of money that's available for that funding—there's probably a case to put more into it. And then I would just say it's about that strategy knit. So, there's an action plan, but there isn't a published strategy, and I think it would be quite helpful to know what the strategy is behind it, so we can guide it over time and there's a real sense of, 'Is it doing what we want it to do?', although I wouldn't argue with the priorities that they've currently got.
Thank you, Pauline. I think, Gabriella, you wanted to say something as well.
To be honest, I was just about to say probably similar to what Pauline's just said.
Okay, that's great—diolch. Hefin.
Yes, just to wrap up, really—I don't want to go on at length. I just wonder about degree apprenticeships. Is there a missed opportunity here with regard to degree apprenticeships and the creative industries?
Yes. I would say we've seen—. Actually we just had a couple of chats last week about a few people saying various different ones. I think it's just having that lined-up approach, really, that's the key one. We've spoken about this at length across the last couple of years with various different bodies and that side of things. There are definitely areas that can be improved, especially for people who don't want to go through the generalised university route and that side of things. So, there is 100 per cent space, for the games industry especially, for that method to be available. I think there needs to almost be like an online forum where everyone goes to chat to each other, because we've had the same conversations a few times with a few different people, all trying to do the same thing. So, I think just a lined-up approach is necessary for that particular one, for games.
Diolch, Richard. Unrhyw un ar-lein? Ie, Allison.
Thank you, Richard. Anyone online? Yes, Allison.
Yes, I'd agree with what Richard said. We're looking at that at the moment. People can come in and start in the accounts department, maybe as payroll, and then go on to do production accounting. We're missing a lot of production accountancy roles in the industry. So, I think it's something that we all really need to look at, and Richard's idea of a forum actually is quite a good idea, to look at how we can all work together to achieve that.
Ocê, grêt. Unrhyw un arall?
Okay, great. Anyone else?
No, you're happy.
Dwi wedi gorffen.
Grêt. Diolch, Hefin. Gwnaf i jest tsiecio os oes unrhyw Aelod eisiau gofyn unrhyw beth ychwanegol. Dwi ddim yn gweld bod, felly gaf i ddiolch i'r tystion am eu tystiolaeth? Bydd transgript o'r hyn rydych chi wedi ei ddweud yn cael ei ddanfon atoch chi ichi wirio.
Great. Thank you, Hefin. I'll just check whether any Members want to ask any further questions. I see that they don't, so may I thank witnesses for their evidence? A transcript of what you've said will be sent to you to check for accuracy.
Sorry, there'll be a transcript.
Bydd transgript yn cael ei ddanfon atoch chi ichi wirio. Efallai fydd rhai pethau ychwanegol bydden ni eisiau codi gyda chi'n ysgrifenedig, ond diolch yn fawr iawn am eich tystiolaeth y bore yma. Mae'n lyfli i gwrdd â chi i gyd.
A transcript will be sent to you to check for factual accuracy. There may be some other questions that we might want to ask you in writing, but thank you very much for your evidence this morning. It's wonderful to meet you all.
Thank you so much—diolch yn fawr iawn.
Aelodau, rydyn ni'n symud yn syth ymlaen at eitem 4, sef papurau i'w nodi. Papur 4.1, llythyr oddi wrth Gadeirydd y Pwyllgor Cyllid at y Prif Weinidog ynghylch goblygiadau ariannol Biliau; 4.2, llythyr oddi wrth Gadeirydd Pwyllgor yr Economi, Masnach, a Materion Gwledig at y Prif Weinidog ynghylch yr ail brotocol ychwanegol i gonfensiwn Cyngor Ewrop ar seiberdroseddu; 4.3, llythyr oddi wrth Gadeirydd y Pwyllgor Plant, Pobl Ifanc, ac Addysg atom ni am gyllideb ddrafft Llywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer 2023-24; 4.4, gwybodaeth ychwanegol gan y Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol yn dilyn ein sesiwn dystiolaeth gyda nhw; ac, yn olaf, 4.5, llythyr gan gyfarwyddwr Creu Cymru atom ni ynghylch y posibilrwydd o sefydliad masnachol yn cymryd rheolaeth dros Neuadd Dewi Sant yng Nghaerdydd. Ydy Aelodau'n fodlon nodi'r papurau? Oes unrhyw beth mae unrhyw un eisiau ei ddweud? Ie, Heledd.
To Members, we are moving straight on to item 4, which is papers to note. Paper 4.1 is a letter from the Chair of Finance Committee to the First Minister regarding scrutiny of the financial implications of Bills; 4.2, a letter from the Chair of the Economy, Trade, and Rural Affairs Committee to the First Minister regarding the second additional protocol to the Council of Europe convention on cybercrime; 4.3, a letter from the Chair of the Children, Young People, and Education Committee to us regarding the Welsh Government’s draft budget for 2023-24; 4.4 is additional information from Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol following our evidence session with them; and finally 4.5, a letter from the director of Creu Cymru to us regarding a possible takeover by a commercial organisation of St David's Hall in Cardiff. Are Members content to note those papers? Is there anything that they want to say on them? Yes, Heledd.
Dim ond ar eitem 4.5, dwi jest eisiau nodi fy mhryder i o ran hynny hefyd. Yn amlwg, mi gafodd hyn ei godi yn y Senedd gan nifer o Aelodau ddoe, ond dwi'n meddwl ei bod hi'n rhywbeth byddwn i'n hoffi os bydden ni fel pwyllgor hefyd yn gallu holi cwestiynau ynglŷn â fo, oherwydd yn amlwg mae yna rôl genedlaethol bwysig iawn i Neuadd Dewi Sant. Nid dim ond lle i fynd am gyngherddau mae o; mae'n cynnig profiadau bythgofiadwy o bobl o bob oed i fod ar lwyfan ac ati, a dwi yn pryderu os oes yna lwybr masnachol yn unig yn cael ei ddilyn, efallai fydd yna gyfleoedd mawr yn cael eu colli i blant a phobl ifanc Cymru, ynghyd â'r telerau o ran staff ac ati. Felly, rwy'n gobeithio y byddwn ni efallai'n gallu, fel pwyllgor, hefyd ofyn cwestiynau a gofyn am ddiweddariadau o ran hyn.
Just on item 4.5, I just wanted to note my own concern on that issue. Clearly, this was raised in the Senedd by many Members yesterday, but I do think it's something that I would like us as a committee to ask some questions on too, because clearly there is a very important national role for St David's Hall. It's not just a place to go to attend concerts; it provides unforgettable opportunities for people of all ages to be on stage, and I am concerned that, if a commercial route alone is followed, maybe some great opportunities will be lost to the children and young people of Wales, as well as the issues around staff pay and conditions and so on. So, hopefully, we as a committee could ask some questions and ask for updates on this.
Gwnaf i weld os ydy unrhyw un arall eisiau dweud unrhyw beth ar hyn yn gyntaf. Dwi'n tueddu i gytuno ac efallai fydden ni'n gallu sôn mwy am hyn yn breifat, ond buaswn i eisiau rhoi ar y record hefyd fod gen i bryderon am hyn hefyd. Oes unrhyw un arall eisiau dweud unrhyw beth yn gyhoeddus ar hyn? Na. O, ie, Carolyn.
I'll see whether anybody else wants to contribute on that point. I tend to agree, and perhaps we could talk about this in more detail in private, but I want to put it on the record too that I have concerns about this too. Does anybody else want to say anything in public on this? No. Oh, yes, Carolyn.
I'd like to understand the role of it as well and how it fits in as a public body.
Ocê. Iawn. Diolch am hynny, Carolyn. Dwi ddim yn gweld unrhyw un arall yn dweud eu bod nhw eisiau dod i mewn ar hyn.
Okay. Right. Thank you for that, Carolyn. I don't see that anybody else wants to contribute on this point.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(ix).
that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(ix).
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
Felly, rwy'n cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i wahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod. Ydy Aelodau yn fodlon derbyn y cynnig yna? Ie. Felly, gwnaf i aros i glywed ein bod ni'n breifat.
So, I propose under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of today's meeting. Are Members content to agree the motion? I see that they are. So, I'll wait to hear that we are in private session.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 11:33.
The public part of the meeting ended at 11:33.