Farewell FEU Training. Thanks for all the fun.

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Last Updated on 1 April 2021

March/April marks a change of financial year for many, and with it the coming and going of various funds and budgets.

It’s a time when posts are closed and people move through a redundancy process into the next stage of their careers. Hence our monthly Beyond Redundancy: Setting up as a Sole Trader courses.

This year feels more poignant than most, as the effects of Brexit and Conservative policies are landing in parts of the creative industries. And that’s even before we look at the effects of the pandemic.

FEU Training (England)

I particularly want to raise a glass to the Federation of Entertainment Unions training in England, which ceased operations on 31st March after Education Secretary Gavin Williamson closed the Union Learning Fund.

FEU Training strap

FEU Training has brought free workshops and webinars to members of four unions: Equity, the Musician’s Union, the NUJ and WGGB – the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain.

For many creative freelancers in England it was the only access to cheap/free training in freelance business skills, and will be sorely missed.

A very honourable mention goes to Frances Dredge who steered FEU Training to great things and leaves behind a legacy of eCourses which will still be available online to union members.

I’ve run countless freelance finance and networking skills workshops for the FEU over the years, and they’ve been enormous fun. That’s what happens when you gather together 25 actors, musicians, jugglers and journalists.


It was an FEU course that provided my favourite tax-related question from a juggler: “can I offset my unicycle against tax”. (Answer: Yes. Under capital costs.)

FEU courses also reminded me that training is really just highly enjoyable networking with some learning on the side.

An important and under-appreciated aspect was how FEU Training helped freelancers to feel less isolated. It came into its own in this respect during the covid lockdowns.

If you’re reading this because you met me on an FEU course, the good news is that I’m not going anywhere and hope to continue running course via the individual unions. You will also still have access to course materials in the usual way.


Meanwhile in Scotland and Wales…

Some good news – union learning funds are devolved to the UK nations, so freelancers in Scotland and Wales will continue to get support.

Particular shout outs to my friends in CULT Cymru in Wales and BECTU Vision in Scotland.

Farewell too to Creative Europe

Creative Europe Desk UK

For those of us who campaigned to stay within the EU, it’s also sad to see the end of the UK’s participation in the Creative Europe network on 31 March 2021.

Since 2014 this fund has directed €111 million to UK projects and partnerships. You can see a showreel of their successes here >

Countries don’t have be in the EU to be part of Creative Europe, so let’s hope they keep the light on for us.

Image credit: Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

Posted on 01 April 2021

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