University of Sussex Media Release.
. Employability initiative for the creative industries lifts off

6 June 2001
For immediate release

Representatives from the University of Sussex, Ravensbourne College of Design & Communication and the creative industries launched a new skills-development initiative from the dizzy heights of the Millennium Wheel on Monday 4 June.

The new Employability Skills Unit will identify skills shortages in the creative industries locally and in London and develop learning packages to meet them. Among the issues the new unit will address will be the principles of creativity, marketing and promotion, intellectual property rights, legal responsibilities of the self-employed, and managing a small business.

John Sander, project manager, explained why he chose the Millennium Wheel (aka the London Eye) for the launch. "Like the Wheel, this initiative is a collaboration between the public and private sectors. The programme aims to strengthen the employability skills of students, graduates and employees, to help support the massive growth of companies in the creative sector in the south-east. The Wheel is also an imaginative design and technological icon."

Statistics produced by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) revealed there are more than 350 media companies in Sussex, mostly in Brighton, employing around 3,000 people and with a turnover of 300m.

New-media companies are characterised by rapid change and the two higher education institutions involved in this initiative recognised the need to add entrepreneurship and other commercial and business skills to the portfolio of specialist skills that they develop in their students.

A grant of 556,000 over four years was awarded to the project following a successful bid to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in the latest round of its Reach Out to Business programme.

Addressing the launch audience, Neil Gershon, Registrar & Secretary at the University of Sussex, said: "Our two institutions have a joint interest in the creative industries as so many of them are local. This project will give graduates the opportunities to develop transferable skills that will differentiate them in this competitive market."

Notes for editors

  • The relationship between the University of Sussex and Ravensbourne College in Kent goes back to 1995, with the establishment of an academic partnership agreement.
  • For further information, please contact Alison Field or Peter Simmons, University of Sussex, Tel. 01273 678888, Fax 01273 877456, or
  • John Sander can be contacted at the University of Sussex on 01273 877248, and at Ravensbourne on 020 8289 4956. Mobile 0797 1060346, email

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