The county is part of ‘Creative East’, a regional initiative supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s, Create Growth Programme, which aims to help businesses in the creative sector gain investment and increase employment opportunities.
Delivered in partnership with Innovate UK, six areas in England outside London will benefit from a total of £7.8 million.
The programme aims to capitalise on the eastern region’s specialisms within the creative industries, with a focus on its core clusters: TV, film, and content production, plus IT, software, gaming and design. SMEs in this sector, which are keen to grow, are being encouraged to sign up for expert advice, support and one-to-one mentoring to help gain investors.
Creative jobs booming
In the east region, creative jobs are contributing to a rapid rise in employment growth – three times faster than the national average¹. Between 2015 and 2020, there was a 21.8 per cent increase in regional creative industry jobs (8,115 extra jobs), compared to just 7.5 per cent growth across the UK.
Screen Suffolk – the official film office representing the county, borough and parish councils – with 550 filming locations on its books, is one of the success stories. It reports that each day of filming contributes £13,000 to the local economy.
Meanwhile, Innovation Martlesham, a cluster of high-tech telecommunication and technology companies just outside Ipswich, sits at the heart of the UK’s digital ecosystem. It combines a national operation centre, test facilities and a global research and development unit, set among a thriving community of collaborative technological innovation.
Furthermore, a new £9.6 million DigiTech Centre, a collaboration between BT and the University of Suffolk, provides cutting-edge digital skills for those looking to pursue a career in information and communications technology. It is working with the Department for International Trade to maximise opportunities arising from 5G.
Creative East encompasses Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, and is being led by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), in partnership with Suffolk County Council and other county councils in the region. It is being delivered by the University of East Anglia, along with Anglia Ruskin University, University of Suffolk, and Norwich University of the Arts.
Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of New Anglia LEP, said: “Creative industries are really thriving in our region and this programme will support their ambitions for growth and help create the high-value jobs we need to retain and attract the top talent.”
The Create Growth Programme will run over two years with local training sessions starting in Ipswich from September.
To apply, visit www.creativeeast.org.uk.
¹ Study by MetroDynamics’ Employment Data for 2020 across DCMS Creative Industries Sub-sectors
Main picture shows from left to right: Laura Hood, Emma Wakeling, Peter Brady and Kate de Vries