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Ever thought about setting up your own business in the Creative Industries? Or even thought you could earn a little extra by making better use of your creative skills? Are you interested in a free course to help you achieve your creative potential? If the answer is ‘yes’ to any of these questions, read on.

‘Creativity Thirst’ is an aptly named short, intensive but accessible programme offered by the University of Ulster and the Workers Educational Association (WEA) designed to help people develop the necessary skills for self employment or for gaining additional income in the Creative Industries.Sean McCaul, Business Liaison Executive in the Office of Innovation at Magee explained the programme, which is being offered free of charge, will commence at the end of April.  
“The programme is included in the Creative and Cultural Industries Skill Sector’s ‘Blueprint for Northern Ireland’ and was a great success when it was piloted in Belfast and Portstewart,” he confirmed.  

“A wide variety of skills such as music, film, photography, textiles, craft, digital imaging, gaming etc. can be catered for and all sessions will be scheduled outside office hours to allow maximum accessibility. An additional two taster sessions will be held between May and June." 

Mr McCaul continued: “The course content is accredited by CCEA and the Open College Network Northern Ireland. Anyone with a level 2 qualification or above in their skill area, and who is considering self employment or gaining additional income in the Creative Industries is welcome to apply."

University of Ulster lecturer and Associate Head of Art and Design Deborah Fraser is in full support of the Creativity Thirst initiative.

“This project offers the perfect helping hand for those who want to make a start with their proposed business within the creative industries. The programme will help participants to develop a full business plan, a portfolio, and promotional material through the use of specialised mentors relevant to their business idea," she said.

“The University of Ulster is the major provider within higher education in subjects relating to the creative industries and welcomes the opportunity to work with WEA on this initiative. This project offers a fantastic opportunity for individuals to broaden their knowledge of the business world, develop business ideas and make their own contribution to the development of this exciting sector."Elaine Hill, Photographer who participated on a previous project said: “Prior to starting the course my work revolved around PR shots, weekly gigs and the occasional wedding. I was lacking focus. ‘Creativity Thirst’ has given me this focus and has helped me think outside the box and now my wedding bookings have doubled.

“My understanding of self promotion and finance has increased: as has my confidence. I would recommend this programme to anyone who wants to make the most of their career.”

Creatively Thirst is funded by the Creative Industries Innovation Fund which is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure, (DCAL).Further information about these courses at Magee are available on the WEA website and the University of Ulster, Office of Innovation websites.