The Creative Sector may not be the first place you’d expect to find a thriving market for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) but the demands of running a successful creative enterprise are certainly equal to or greater than most types of business and the need to maintain a high level of both creative and management skills goes without saying. To steal a phrase from Dave Sharp of Binary Asylum, “ideas are worthless – delivery is everything”. So, I’ve got an interesting assignment coming up, as one of three consultants delivering a tender for the University of Leeds , Cultural & Creative Industries Exchange Sector Hub looking at CPD.
The tender to undertake the research was won by Culture Partners, a Lincoln and Sheffield based non-profit distributing company that I joined as a director last year, with the full support of Globe.
My in-put will mainly be around aspects of business development and service delivery as the commission is for an assessment of the business case for the creation, management and delivery of training and CPD as a means of income generation for the faculties of Arts, and Performance, Visual Arts and Communications. I hope however that my previous experience of leading the market research and development consultancy to inform the business plan for the Lincoln University Leadership and Management Centre will make a useful contribution to the wider brief.
Cultural & Creative Industries Exchange have already established a number of CPD activities and in some departments such as Textiles, delivering training and CPD is well established, as are a number of pockets of international work, particularly in the middle east. An interesting challenge however, will be working with the grain of the University, as collaboration which is normally the touch stone for Creative Enterprises can be problematic in an environment where collaborations generally need to be external to the University in order to contribute to research targets. This means that academic staff are not incentivised to collaborate on service delivery within a corporate structure in the same way that businesses are. It will be interesting therefore to explore the relationship between the existing successful CPD practice and potential market opportunities.
The Cultural & Creative Industries Exchange are delivering a quite a tight business plan which means that Culture Partners research will mainly take place over the summer period – working with a term based institution, that’s likely to make contact with some of the key stakeholders quite difficult but an even more worrying issue is that I will almost certainly have to forego my annual September trip to northern Italy and make do with drinking Prosseco in the garden between downpours. Now that shows a serious commitment that I’m not likely to let my colleagues forget for a while.