Happy valleys - freelances train in Wales

FREELANCE JOURNALISTS in Wales have been at the forefront of a new training initiative to help them in their working and also personal lives. The first round of free training was given on the weekend of 6-8 February with modules including finances for freelances, CV development and marketing promotion.

The scheme, called CULT Cymru, is a joint project between broadcasting union BECTU, the NUJ, Equity, the Musicians's Union (MU) and the Writers Guild. It is likely to be a pilot for similar work in other sectors and other nations and regions. The marketing and promotion course was created by NUJ Freelance Industrial Council member Mike Smith and a training group included NUJ freelances.

As a result of the first training days, freelances are now keen on getting involved in more training, and in developing professional networks across Wales and across unions and sectors. More trainers from  the freelance sector of the creative industries  are being trained to deliver the modules in different parts of Wales, including courses in Welsh. More courses are being developed in reponse to a learning needs analysis survey, for which there was a big response from NUJ freelances. Likely next courses will include electronic marketing and enhancing knowledge of the internet.

Freelances who attended the pilot courses are also discussing setting up a skills service between members of the group: such as an NUJ member providing some writing or photography; an MU member providing music for a website; and an Equity member running a role-play session. The courses are aimed at helping freelances from various creative industries improve how they work. But the project has also identified the well-being needs and social and support frameworks of freelances as an area that would benefit form developing. Participants from the first courses were already swapping contacts and ideas for ways of working together.

The project is also training creative industries freelance Union Learning Reps (see www.londonfreelance.org/fl/0810feu.html for more on these) with the first cohort of these already trained - including a strong NUJ presence.

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