Last Monday in the House of Lords Deborah Clare Bull or Baroness Bull which is a great title asked a very important question. She is on the right and the response came from Baroness Barran who is on the left. The response was also very significant although it has two concerns. I agree with Barran that there is a significant gap in STEM skills in our nation. However I am also very concerned when the Government claims that they have developed qualifications with employers. My personal observation is that very few employers are paid any attention as indeed we can reflect in the way in which apprenticeships have been developed or rather ignored over the last 10 years.
The background to Baroness Bull is that she danced with The Royal Ballet for twenty years before joining the Royal Opera House Executive to devise and implement strategies for developing new art, new artists and new audiences. She became Creative Director in 2008, taking executive responsibility for ROH Collections and leading on the organisation’s Olympic programming as well as its live relays to Big Screens nationwide. Deborah joined King’s College London in 2012 where she is now the Vice President & Vice-Principal (London) and the Senior Advisory Fellow for Culture at King’s College London. In 2018 she became a crossbench Peer in the House of Lords. So here is her question and the answer from Barran.
Bull: My Lords, we heard again this weekend that the Government are considering further limiting the study of creative arts degrees because of their lower salary outcomes. Does the Minister agree that salary data is not the only way to assess value, even economic value, as it ignores differences in local labour markets and degrees that lead to low earnings but deliver high social and cultural value? With almost half of creative businesses reporting workforce skills gaps, is it not reasonable to assume that creative graduates will provide tangible fiscal value through labour in this high-growth sector, not to mention their contribution of future skills and creativity to the broader innovation economy?
Barran: The noble Baroness is right that we need to look at qualifications more broadly than simply the financial and earnings potential of those careers. However, I am sure she will also agree with me that we need to meet a significant skills shortage in STEM and related subjects. I hope she will be pleased that the Government are bringing forward a T-level in craft and design which has been developed with employers.