Charlotte Trusler is a Business Skills Adviser working on the Skills West project. She helps West of England businesses in the creative and digital sector tackle skills gaps and offers advice on a range of skills related matters. We caught up with Charlotte to find out more about her day job, how she can help companies and what she would consider a perfect Sunday.
Tell us a bit about yourself; your role as a Business Skills Adviser for Skills West and your career to date?
I studied Media Arts and Photography at University before embarking on my first roles in fundraising and events management for the cultural sector. I then moved more into production, investment and project management in education and commercial creative before combining all of this experience into my current role. In my career to date I have engaged hundreds of South West Creative Businesses in support activity, from mentoring, to the awarding of innovation grants and am happy to be able to have that same focus on business development continuing through my current role.
What is a typical day and / or week for you?
My typical day involves keeping abreast of industry developments both locally and nationally, and gathering data for reporting purposes on the current state of the industry. I then visit businesses to talk ambitions and skills and everything in-between. From these consultations I can set an action plan to explore potential solutions or simply signpost to advice to digest at a later time. It's informal but crucial, nuanced work to ensure our current and future workforces are relevant to the aims of our local industry and to take action where mismatches arise.
What type of businesses do you work with?
I work with a range of businesses across the creative and digital sector, from small theatre groups, radio stations and arts organisations, to major employers and facilities for the production of high end TV and features.
What sort of advice are you able to give to businesses in the West of England?
My main remit is to advise on skills, but skills permeate all areas of a business and so I work holistically to advise or signpost businesses on a wide range of areas linked to individual business needs through a skills consultation.
What are the main challenges in your sector?
The creative and digital sector is a very mixed bag and no one issue fits all. For example, we have challenges in terms of modernisation of business models and access to funding in our arts and cultural organisations, but our film and TV companies are seeing impressive growth and inward investment. However, there are skills shortages which need to be addressed in order to preserve the growth of TV and film so we can source the talent required locally to reduce the reliance on a non-regional freelance labour market.
What would be your top tip to any businesses struggling with skills shortages?
Speak to an independent skills adviser. The skills market is confusing and crowded and evolves all the time. My job is to help you explore skills without any commitment or agenda.
What do you love most about your job?
Meeting businesses and helping them to bridge the gap between ambition and capacity. I see a good awareness of skills for your current and future workforce as simple business sense, not a benevolent act. However, the result of embracing skills as a part of your business mentality brings about the opportunities needed to train, upskill or reskill your team organically so everyone's a winner!
What do you like to get up to outside the office?
Despite the rumours, I am not a highly elusive local graffiti artist. I prefer to spend my free time making mud pies in the garden with my son
What would be your perfect Sunday?
My perfect Sunday would involve a digital detox at a music festival with a bowl of noodles and a trip to the cider bus, in some really comfy dungarees. It's specific.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a Skills Adviser?
The great thing about working in skills is it reaffirms a belief in your own Madonna-like powers of reinvention through lifelong learning. I am a skills adviser because I love helping to shape the future of skills for businesses and education but these skills and my motivations could see me move into many areas like campaigning, finance, government, education or even back into the industry I love. Anything is possible!
My advice is to be true to your interests but check your pulse once in a while to see if a chosen career is still in your blood. Sadly I'm not the creative genius I thought I was at 20, but that's OK. I have now embraced my passions for creativity, people and numbers and swapped the paintbrushes for a spreadsheets, talking and making plans. There are real challenges ahead for all businesses and right now I am focussing my attention on activity to help shape the future stability of our regional creative workforce.
You can get in touch with Charlotte by emailing her here, or calling 01275 373373
Designing a 21st Century Curriculum
Our Skills West team is hosting an event with Bath Spa University on 15th November, to discuss designing a 21st century curriculum for the creative and digital sector.