Bectu and CULT Cymru have launched a new project aimed at supporting and empowering creative freelancers across the screen, digital and music sectors in Wales.

The Empowering Freelance Creatives scheme is one of our Creative Skills Fund recipients for 2023/24. This two-part project wants to innovate ways of addressing the disadvantages freelancers face in the workplace – specifically regarding skills and well-being opportunities.

The first part of the project focuses on the recruitment of 12 freelance Union Learning Reps (ULRs) across Bectu, Equity, Musicians Union and Writers Guild. Their role is to identify and develop learning activities and training for freelancers. They aim to empower freelancers by raising awareness of the power of union learning.

In many sectors, ULRs play an influential role in supporting, developing, and improving the working culture. However, as freelancers don’t have permanent employers who can pay them to undertake this role, they miss out on being able to develop their careers by improving their skills. 

Our funding will help Bectu and CULT Cymru train and pay freelance ULRs, as well as identify how the industry can pay for this role beyond this project. It will also help to shine a light on the importance of freelance creatives – driving growth in both individual’s careers and benefitting the industry.

For the 12 ULRs, their role will include organising peer-to-peer networks and collaborating with unions, employers and other stakeholders. They’ll also help to organise learning activities, as well as focus on raising awareness of the value of learning. They will also be tasked with conducting research to identify key learning needs within their group of workers.

Some of the courses already in development include self-taping for actors, training for writers, songwriting for musicians and pattern cutting.

The second part of the project focuses on training Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs). Like the ULRs, freelancers do not have one specific employer to train, develop or provide ongoing support in this area. Recognising this, CULT Cymru want to deliver MHFA training across the music, digital and screen sectors.

This will involve engaging with employers to identify where MHFAs exist; find out how the industry could offer more support; and discover where there are training gaps. They will also make sure freelancers know how to access MHFAiders and offer ongoing support and training for this network.

To find out more about our Creative Skills Fund, tap here. Or, if you’d like to hear more about the Empowering Freelance Creatives scheme then you can visit their website.


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