Minister visits College to launch Creative Industries Innovation Fund

The College’s Limavady Campus played host to Minister for the Department of Culture Arts & Leisure, Gregory Campbell, MP, MLA, this morning as he announced a £5million investment in the province’s creative industries.

Speaking at the launch of the Creativity Industries Innovation Fund, the Minister said: “The creative industries sector is a very important sector of the economy and has the potential to generate very significant and long lasting economic benefits for Northern Ireland.

“In terms of the economic value, it is estimated that around 34,600, or 4.7% of the working population, is employed in the creative sector which is growing at a faster rate than the economy in general.

“By investing in the development of talents and skills of our people we will improve our competitive position in national and international markets and reap the benefits in our communities. The drive to develop new markets, and in particular to encourage an outward-looking, global perspective, underpins all.”

The College was chosen as the venue for the announcement due to its reputation for providing quality Art & Design and Media education and training, and in its role as a host organisation for two artists-in-residence through the Making It 06 Programme, through Craft Northern Ireland, textile artist Andrea Hayes and ceramicist Gail Mahon.

From September 2006 to September 2008, the College hosted Andrea & Gail through the Making It programme which helps young crafts designers to take their first steps in business. At the event today the work of the participants of the scheme were exhibited.

North West Regional College’s Assistant Director, David Kinnaird reflected on the College’s commitment to developing students in preparation for the working in creative careers.

“We see our role as not only developing the creative talents of the students who choose to study both here, and in our Strand Road Campus, but also to prepare them to enter the Creative Industries, equipped with foundation skills in business and enterprise.

The breadth of experience we can offer students has been greatly enhanced in recent years by the partnerships developed with organisations including Craft Northern Ireland. By working together we can enhance the opportunities for Art, Design and Craft students, providing them with access to expert lecturers in state-of-the-art facilities, and workshops with leading crafts practitioners and artists, who pass on their knowledge and experience to inform the decisions our students make about their future.”

Following the announcement, the Minister took a tour of the Limavady Campus’ new Media & Design Hub, where he met some of the staff and students of the National Diploma in iMedia. The College has invested in new resources to ensure that students have access to industry standard technology and software to learn the skills employers in the Creative Industries are seeking.

The Arts Minister then visited the studios of the Foundation Art course, where he met those on the one year programme. The Creative Industries Strategic Action Plan launched by the Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure today will be of great importance to these students as they progress with their careers. Mr Campbell spoke with students about their aspirations for the future and reassured them of the Northern Ireland

Executive commitment helping Northern Ireland become a world class hub for the creative industries.

The Minister said “The Action Plan will support initiatives to increase the quality, visibility and value of the creative industries. It will focus on innovation in business, in people and in sectoral infrastructure and knowledge.”


Click here for more information on the Creativity Industries Innovation Fund.