The Discover! Creative Careers Week launched on 18 November at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. The event is a week-long endeavour to educate young people across the country in the wealth of different career options available in the creative industries. As part of the effort, hundreds of organisations are opening their doors to thousands of students to provide a direct insight into various sectors.
Sara Whybrew, Programme Director (England) at Creative & Cultural Skills, kicked off the launch with an impassioned speech on the infinite possibilities and potential within all twelve subsets of the creative industries, which include Advertising and Marketing, Design, Heritage, and Video Games. Together, these industries represent one in eleven jobs in the UK, she informed us, and is the sector least at risk of automation replacing humans, with 900,000 more jobs expected to be created in the next 10 years. It is clear, then, why it is so crucial that all young people are given access to and trained in every sector of the creative industries, and why we must ensure that ‘anyone with potential and a passion for what we do, regardless of their background, is given equal support and access to our sector.’
Following Whybrew was Rem Conway, Founder and Director of Conway Network, who spoke about his own experiences within many subsets of the creative industries, from a young black actor disheartened by the lack of roles available, to a BBC apprentice. He implored those present to welcome young people into their organisations whenever and however possible, emphasising the importance of hands-on experience for anybody hoping to pursue a career in the industry.
Writer and filmmaker Debbie Issitt shared much the same message in her conversation with Seetha Kumar, CEO at ScreenSkills, detailing the lack of support she received as a young person seeking a place in the performing arts, and how significant a helping hand from within the industry would have been.
During these talks, students from secondary schools in the city were already gathering in the museum and starting to participate in small group talks and workshops in which a particular role within the museum was explained. We spoke to a few of them, one of whom told us of his aspirations to run his own business, and felt that being able to see how professionals within the industry work would be the most beneficial tool he could receive. Others mentioned that inspiration is the most crucial aspect of a creative career, so experiencing other people’s art and methods would be especially helpful for their own creative processes.
As well as the live events this week, there's also a new website called Discover Creative Careers giving good info about different roles. Or take a look at our very own Creative Careers section on Voice, where we track down creative people and find out what their jobs are really like!