3. Apologies, Presiding Officer. To ask the Scottish Government what support it provides to creative industries in rural areas, including in relation to young people wishing to pursue a career in this sector. (S6O-00542)
The Scottish Government supports the creative industries in rural areas through a range of activities that are delivered through our enterprise and skills agencies, as well as direct activity. The support includes XpoNorth, the year-round support programme for the Highlands and Islands, and skills training that is funded by the Scottish Government’s national transition training fund.
Young people also receive mentoring and support through LevelUp!, LevelUp! digital and the Treòir | Voar | Virr programme. From next year, support will also be available through the £20 million rural entrepreneurs fund.
The Inverness Creative Academy Wasps Studios provide affordable studio accommodation for those in the creative industries. However, there are few such opportunities throughout the Highlands and Islands. In the light of rural depopulation and the fact that the creative sector has been hit particularly hard by the effects of Covid, how does the Scottish Government plan to encourage similar ventures to ensure that young people who are working in creative industries are not forced to leave the area to pursue their careers?
Rhoda Grant raises a number of important points and the Inverness academy is an important example of the work that is being done. I am keen to have a bit more of a conversation with her about that work and how we might be able to better support such activity.
Rhoda Grant mentioned some of the impacts of Covid on the creative sector. Right now, the sector is suffering from the very real impacts of the omicron variant, not only in relation to the events sector but more broadly in relation to the cultural sector, which has been one of the worst hit by the impacts of the pandemic. I will certainly take away that example as a good example of the work that we are currently focusing on, which is about helping the sector to recover from the impacts of the pandemic.
Scotland is a sought-after destination for film and television production, so it is important that we continue to invest in developing the sector. On that basis, will the minister outline how the funding allocated in the Scottish budget will support the sector to grow?
That funding will help to build the skills, talent, support-system and studio infrastructure to enable our film and TV industry to capitalise on unprecedented interest in production in Scotland. It will also further develop our sustainable creative economy. The new £11.9 million Kelvin hall studio, which the cabinet secretary announced last week and which will be funded by the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council, is a prime example of the confidence that we have in Scotland’s fast-growing screen sector. Investing in Scottish skills and talent and opening up new opportunities are the best ways to ensure that our storytelling and creativity drive what is on the screen and represent us authentically, here and around the world.