Young people ‘need more information about creative industries’

Employers in the creative industries should do more to make sure the sector is accessible to young people who want to break into it, says organisation Creative & Cultural Skills.

As thousands of young people across the country receive their A-level results, the organisation is calling for a review of careers information, advice and guidance that is provided to young people, and urging employers to ensure school-leavers get the right information about the sector.

CCS says the creative industries are one of the UK’s most ‘impenetrable’ sectors, with an average of only 6500 new jobs a year, and more than 50 per cent of employees educated to degree level.

Tom Bewick, chief executive of CCS, says, ‘One in six young people are now out of work, and this figure is set to rise. Paradoxically, the creative and cultural sector is also missing out on new talent because it remains difficult to break into, and 93 per cent of the workforce is white.

‘Employers should act now to make their sectors more accessible to young people, and to provide better advice and guidance on how to get in and get on.’

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  • Jonathan Baldwin November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Here’s an idea: if the creative industries banned illegal unpaid internships and instead took the radical step of paying new entrants a decent wage (like other sectors do), it wouldn’t be so “difficult to break in to” or so heavily dominated by the white middle classes.

    Lack of information is not the only thing putting people off working in the creative industries.

  • sarah aka rufflemuffin November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I second jonathons opinion, if we paid iterns there might be a restored faith in getting jobs and experiences.

    You mention a levels are you talking generally about school leavers here or creative course graduates.

    I think generally school leavers should not be taught that uni is the logical next step, it still happens, it doesn’t work and we end up with lots of young people in spiralling debts and courses they are not interested in. But that’s another discussion for another time.

    Secondly, I think at school level it needs to be made clear what is possible from studying creative courses and foucs on what skills you would like to learn rather than what you want ‘to be’.

    Thirdly, we need to start teaching personal branding, entrepreneurship and business skills alongside creative courses. It makes the student ready for when they leave, brings them out a bubble and prepares them a little more for the real world.

  • Jonathan Baldwin November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    And further to Sara’s further to me, as well as looking beyond just graduates, the creative industries need to look beyond “creative subjects”.

    It’s interesting that Design Council studies of the design sector find that (IIRC) only 40% of the workforce are “designers”, yet Creative & Cultural Skills only appears to be interested in the curricula of so-called creative disciplines leading to impossible calls to extend the range of what we teach.

    It strikes me that rather than expect design graduates to be taught accountancy (like I’ve not got enough to cover in my curriculum!), maybe it would be worth the creative industries spending some time talking to students in completely different areas about the sector. I reckon a few physicists and chemists (they’re creative too, you know) would shake an often inward-looking sector up quite nicely!

  • Andy Penaluna November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Good comments above. To be fair to Sir George Cox he highlighted many of these issues back in 2005 and reiterated them at the UK Competitiveness Summit in 2006.

    As someone who teaches personal branding and entrepreneurship in a series of projects that have been designed by ex students, I must really applaud the comments from Sarah. Its something that our ex students highlighted as a serious omission some years back, so now we let the ex students advise and guide us.

    Creativity is seriously lacking in other sectors and many academics are uncomfortable with the concepts. Therefore a design education really can help when it comes to problem solving activities.

    Andy Penaluna – Enterprise Educators UK

  • Anastasia aka ALPHA November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I agree with both Jonathan and Sara. As a graduate myself (year 08), I’ve done 10 placements over the last year, with more and more offers…for placements. There should be a limit to how many placements one should do before being considered a freelancer and being paid as such. Obviously skill comes into consideration here, but in almost all other sectors, placements and internships are for a potential job.

    The design industry has milked the ‘placement scheme’ to the bone and will continue to do so, often offering non-existent jobs at the end of a 3 month placement, after which they will find another hopeful soul to do another placement.

    Graduates should form a union / alliance and say NO to unpaid placements. Just as studios and consultancies are against unpaid pitches, graduates (who have debts and living expenses too) should unite against unpaid work. You should be paid working and for your ideas, not be paying to work.

    Also, London is too over saturated with designers, flocking there as if it were a design mecca. There are so many more cities and countries with a buzzing design industry and opportunities. If anything, spreading the butter thinly on toast covers more area space than a spoonful in the centre.

    On Jonathan’s second post, the most interesting and creative collaborations are those between a designer and a non-designer. Look at Toyota iQ’s latest font. Two typographers, a programmer and a race care driver. There are many more examples of this. Universities and colleges should encourage cross-pollination rather than isolate creativity.

  • Jay November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I totally agree with Angus’s opinion. It is hard to break into the industry. You have to have tons of experience and the industry does not respect young designers who have just graduated right out of college.

    Secondly, I’m a young black female designer, which is so hard. I do not know ANY black senior designers or creative directors. I really think this is sad. I know several black females and males who are talented but do not have jobs in the creative industry. Rather, they started their own businesses because they could not find work.

  • laura kennard November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I finished my practical course in fashion design and I have no Idea how to find work in that area. every one says i have to have contacts and money, but i just want to make money doing what i love!
    any clues on how to find work in fashion for some one with neerly no work experience but keen to learn more?
    My course taught me to design, draw, cut and sew patterns, tecnical drawiñgs on CAD and Photoshop, quite a full on 3 year course in the Lisbon school of fashion, Magestil.
    Any way I´m just another example of a young person who needs more info!

  • Jason Cooper November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I hope this doesn’t come across as spam, but I’m working on a project, launching November, that covers a number of the points mentioned in the comments. Particuarly Sarah’s comment about ‘teaching personal branding, entrepreneurship and business skills alongside creative courses’.

    I’d be interested on any thoughts you may have –

  • Jason November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I hope this doesn’t come across as spam, but I’m working on a project, launching November, that covers a number of the points mentioned in the comments. Particularly Sarah’s comment about ‘teaching personal branding, entrepreneurship and business skills alongside creative courses’.

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