Institute Wins Funding to Investigate Regional Skills Shortages (05.04.01)
The Surrey Institute of Art & Design, University is celebrating its success in securing a £15,000 bursary funded by SEEDA, the regional development agency for the South East.
The bursary, one of the first of its type, will support postdoctoral research into skills shortages in the region's media and creative industries. It places The Surrey Institute at the centre of skills development issues in this area. The bursary scheme, managed by Higher Education South East, will see the first Research Fellowship for the Media and Creative Industries established at the Institute.
The research will be led by Dr Mark Blythe, an established researcher with particular expertise in the creative industries. He will be supported in his work by The Surrey Institute's Business Development Unit and will work closely with SEEDA's Media and Creative Industries' Task Force as well as Skills Insight and the sector's NTOs (National Training Organisations).
The research will focus on the South East's interactive and leisure software companies, which form a key regional business sector within the creative industries. Dr Blythe will conduct a large-scale survey to identify training and education solutions to skills shortages with the aim of developing better collaboration between higher education and business.
It is estimated that nearly 14,000 software development companies are located in the South East of which 1,200 are interactive and leisure software companies. Together they contribute to a market in excess of £1bn in value to the UK alone. Yet, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport have identified that the provision of training to combat skill shortages is a key issue for the industry. The Surrey Institute and SEEDA hope therefore that the research findings will result in better targeted educational provision for the sector's continued development in the South East, and envision that the work will enable higher education institutions to better anticipate future skills needs.
The recently published DTI/ DfEE white paper, Opportunity for All, highlighted the Institute's success in securing the SEEDA bursary, referring to researchers including Dr Blythe as, "an academic 'future think tank'".
Commenting on the scheme, Business Development Co-ordinator, Seymour Roworth Stokes said, "The Institute has always aimed to be at the centre of our region's creative endeavour and in delivering this research for SEEDA we hope to strengthen our claim to such a position. The Institute's specialist nature affords it additional insight into the needs of the media and creative industries and, along with the work of our emerging Business Development Unit, this research will reinforce our development of collaborative links with business."
Notes to the Editor:
1. The Surrey Institute of Art & Design, University is one of Europe's largest independent colleges specialising in art, design, media and communication. Based in Farnham and Epsom in Surrey, the Institute has nearly 3,000 students studying on over 30 programmes leading to diplomas, degrees and postgraduate qualifications.
2. SEEDA, the Regional Development Agency in the South East, has launched a rolling programme funding postdoctoral fellows in South East higher education institutions to investigate skills shortages for the knowledge economy. The scheme, managed by Higher Education South East (HESE), the higher education regional consortium, and supported by Skills Insight, the regional skills observatory and SEEDA sector groups, will develop a detailed understanding of future skills needs in specific sectors and ensure these are fully understood and acted upon by the region's higher education research base. The first three bursaries focus on the Media & Creative, Marine Technology and Tourism sectors, involving The Surrey Institute of Art & Design, University; Southampton Institute and the University of Brighton.
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