The Federation of Entertainment Unions’ FEU Training project played a vital role in providing free workshops and webinars to union members, including those of WGGB, who worked in the media and entertainment industries – one of the fast-growing parts of the economy and worth more than £111 billion a year to the UK.
FEU Training provided a unique service for freelance creatives, developing members’ practical skills and the knowledge to run businesses as self-employed workers. It promoted well-being and helped learners overcome the challenges of working in isolation. Its courses were nearly always oversubscribed – a testament to its popularity, reach and success.
Freelance professionals are the very group that has been hit hardest by the pandemic, with work drying up virtually overnight, and many have fallen through the cracks of the Government’s Covid-19 aid packages. FEU Training had been their first port of call to get relevant Government-funded training to stay afloat and establish a new career direction.
Since the first lockdown, nearly 3,500 members from WGGB, Equity, the Musicians’ Union and NUJ have benefited from the training and support on key skills and Covid-related issues.
For the next year, WGGB members will still be able to access the huge wealth of resources – including webinars and e-courses – on the FEU Training website.
And the Scottish and Welsh Governments continue to support and fund union-led training and learning.
WGGB General Secretary Ellie Peers said: “Over the past years countless WGGB freelance writers have benefited from FEU business training. The project has delivered training by skilled professionals and has given members starting out in the industry the confidence to pitch their work, to sort out their finances, marketing skills, and much more. And, what’s more, at the start of the pandemic, the FEU shifted the entire learning programme online in a matter of days.
“At a time when many workers are looking to reskill, the decision by Government to stop funding Union Learning in England is a decision that needs to be reversed.”