FATBOY Slim has slammed a government poster urging a ballet dancer to retrain as an IT worker.

Norman Cook hit out at the advert showing a young dancer tying up her ballet shoes with the caption: “Fatima’s next job could be in cyber (she just doesn’t know it).”

The advert, which urges people to “rethink”, “reboot” and “reskill,” is part of the government’s Cyber First campaign.

The DJ, who lives in Hove, was among scores of people who criticised the advert on Twitter.

He said: “This is unbelievable. The government is throwing the arts under a bus.”
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The advert was part of a campaign series hosted on the training website QA, which oversees training on new digital skills.

The Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said it didn’t come from his department and labelled the poster “crass”.

In a tweet, he said: “This is not something from DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) and I agree it was crass.

“This was a partner campaign encouraging people from all walks of life to think about a career in cybersecurity.

“I want to save jobs in the arts which is why we are investing £1.57bn.”

The backlash to the advert comes amid ongoing fears for the future of the arts as the pandemic keeps venues shut and shows off the stage.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said people in “all walks of life” should seek new opportunities and said those in the creative industries should adapt.

He said: “Can things happen in exactly the way they did? No. But everyone is having to find ways to adapt and adjust to the new reality.”

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Last week, landmarks including the British Airways i360 and Brighton Palace Pier lit up in red to raise awareness of the events industry as it struggles with the impact of the coronavirus crisis.

The city’s venues were forced to close their doors in March putting them under huge financial pressure.

However, a new government grant has given “life-changing funding” to cultural organisations in our city.

Brighton and Hove Pride and The Brighton Centre are among the arts organisations granted a share of the government’s culture recovery fund.

Arts Council England chair Sir Nicholas Serota, said the funding was “life-changing”.

He said: “Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, town and villages.”