The Scottish Government will invest £8m in two new arts and culture institutions targeted at young people, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop has announced.
Addressing the SNP conference in Inverness, Hyslop said the government would put £3m towards Scotland’s first National Conservation Centre for training young people in traditional building skills, and £5m towards the creation of a National Centre for Youth Arts.
Funding for the institutions would be drawn from the government’s new Young Scots Fund.
“Scotland is a creative nation, and we want our young people to be the best they can be. Developing and nurturing their skills and creativity is crucial for the country’s economic future. To allow our young people to realise their potential, it is vital that we celebrate our emerging youth talent and provide opportunities for it to flourish,” Hyslop said.
“That is what our Young Scots Fund will do. Over the next four years, it will provide £50 million of support focused on developing the potential of our youngsters in sport, enterprise and creativity.”
The National Conservation Centre will be based at two locations in Stirling, in a partnership between Historic Scotland, Stirling Council and Forth Valley College.
Based in the Forthside area of Stirling from 2014, in a former railway engine shed, the centre will focus on reviving scarce technical skills and promoting best practice in conservation. In addition, a brand new stone masonry training facility will be created at the new Kildean campus of Forth Valley College, opening in August 2012.
Forth Valley College Principal Linda McKay said: “We are delighted to be launching this joint project with Historic Scotland. We have extensive experience of providing vocational training and skills associated with construction and with our new state-of-the-art campus opening in Stirling next year. We have much more to contribute to the new National Conservation Centre.
“Our new facility will provide a high quality learning environment and we’re keen to maximise the opportunities the campus will offer. We have an excellent reputation for developing innovative training which responds to the national skills agenda and we look forward to developing our partnership with Historic Scotland and exploring future initiatives.”
Councillor Scott Farmer, Stirling Council Executive Member for Finance & Economy, also welcomed the announcement.
“Stirling Council is delighted to be working in partnership with Historic Scotland and Forth Valley College to deliver the National Conservation Centre. Improving and increasing training opportunities for our young people is a key aim of Stirling’s Economic Strategy and the use of the former Engine Shed at Forthside for this project advances our plans for regeneration of this important city centre site,” Farmer said.
The National Centre for Youth Arts, based in Glasgow, will provide accessible rehearsal and production facilities for youth arts companies including the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, the National Youth Choirs and Y Dance, the youth dance agency.
Hyslop said: “The new National Centre for Youth Arts will be a fantastic resource for young creative talent, while our investment in the National Conservation Centre will help sustain and develop the traditional building skills needed to secure the future of Scotland’s historic environment. It is also part of our strategy to halt the loss of such skills and expertise.
“Together, Scotland’s creative industries and heritage sectors contribute £7.5 billion to the economy each year and support more than 100,000 jobs. Investing in the skills and creativity of Scotland’s young people is clearly essential for sustainable economic growth.”
Creative Scotland will take a leading role in bringing together the relevant partners to design the National Centre for Youth Arts, including the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the national youth companies. The centre will also provide an administrative base and facilities for other national youth arts and related media activity.
Andrew Dixon, Chief Executive of Creative Scotland, said: “This is excellent news for Scotland’s creative future. Creative Scotland is keen to make this opportunity a reality in very near future and our first steps will be to gather all interested parties to discuss the opportunities this presents.
“A new National Centre for Youth Arts fits well with our developing plans for inspiring young people’s creativity and building a network of existing and improved youth arts provision across Scotland.”