Dame Caroline Dinenage, former Minister for Digital & Culture, questioned the Secretary of State on how the government will ensure a high skilled workforce is part of the future plans for Channel 4.
In an Urgent Question on the future of Channel 4, Caroline welcomed the decision by Michelle Donelan, Secretary of State for DCMS, not to proceed with the sale that had previously been considered. The Gosport MP agreed that Channel 4 needs to be future proofed to secure its future success - and took the opportunity to highlight the need for the channel to play its part in ensuring our world-leading cultural sector remains high skilled into the future.
Last autumn Caroline visited the XR Centre at Portsmouth University’s Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries to find out more about emerging technologies in the creative sector and the vital skills needed to guarantee the UK’s global status into the future.
“The creative industries are simply our global super power, and its absolutely right that Channel 4 needs the flexibility to be able to move with the times, respond to the changing media landscape and take advantage of commercial opportunities.
Part of this is nurturing a skilled workforce of the future that can respond to the needs of our creative industries. What kind of flexibility and focus will there be for Channel 4 moving forwards on having the ability to be able to do that?”
The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Michelle Donelan, said in response:
“As part of this package, Channel 4 have agreed to double their investment in skills for young people around the UK, from £5m to £10m, which will be important for the entire creative sector.”
Speaking after the debate, Caroline commented:
“The United Kingdom has a world leading creative sector and it’s important that the government equips Channel 4 to develop the skills to rise to the challenges of the modern world.
I’m very pleased to hear that the government is putting in place a range of measures to support Channel 4 into the future, with creative skills at the centre, doubling the current investment.”
The skills announcement comes as part of the Government commitment not to sell Channel 4, but instead to introduce a sustainability package to future-proof it.
This includes new freedoms for C4 to produce some of their own shows. Double number jobs outside London and an increase in the percentage of shows from independent UK producers.
Caroline previously served in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport between February 2020 and September 2021.