As part of our campaign to #BuildBackFairer, we’re shining a spotlight on some of the movers and shakers working in the creative and cultural sector and asking them to share their insight and advice for those at the start of their careers.

Jakki Jeffery
Head of Faculty for Creative Industries at Edinburgh College

Tell us one thing about your job that we probably don’t know about?

We are the largest provider of creative industries provision in Scotland. We work with schools on bespoke provision and recruit for foundation apprenticeships in creative digital media and information technology as well as national progression awards in costume, make-up artistry and technical theatre and modern apprenticeships in technical theatre and creative digital media and information technology. We have an ‘artist in residence programme’ where we ask HND and BA degree students to apply to stay with us for a year after completing their studies, to work with our students, our community, our schools, and our industry partners as well as the opportunity to use our resources to create their business/company and to work across the faculty on projects together.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your sector right now?

The creative industries sector has been badly hit by COVID over the past 18 months and we made sure that we worked with our industry partners to look at what support we could provide them in re-skilling or upskilling and having access to the flexible workforce development fund now open to SME’s, or to deliver a workshop to our students in exchange for pro quo training opportunities to them (using Adobe packages). As many of our sector are freelancers, bringing them together and forming networks of support goes some way to ensuring they can continue to operate. Some transferal of skillsets between the technical theatre and the screen sector has been realised which offers other pathways.

If you could give your 16-year-old self some career advice, what would it be?

Since we will all be required to spend 50 years working, it is important that we do the job/career that we love and can feed our soul. This may not necessarily be the one that pays the most money or has the most security. Therefore ensuring that we develop meta-skills in our young people to ensure, self-management, social intelligence and innovation is very important. Ensuring there are support networks in place and how to access these are a priority. Understanding the creative sector and a young person’s place in it needs to be researched and readily available.

What’s been the most surprising moment of your career journey so far?

How the creative sector has pulled together under COVID and actively wanted to support each other and to share their own difficult operating journeys. You don’t need to be an expert in every field to reach out and find solutions to keep the creative skillset of our young people accessible and relevant. We realise that mental health and wellbeing requires the creative sector to feed our souls and keep us connected as a caring society.

Who’s your professional hero?

My professional hero is everyone who works to effect change to improve the lives of young people in the creative sector. This could be from the BLM, LGBTQ, widening access, through gender, ethnicity or disability. They are the people that work tirelessly to improve the creative pathways for others.

Jakki Jeffery headshot

About Jakki

Jakki Jeffery is Head of Faculty for Creative Industries at Edinburgh College, the largest provider of creative industries provision in Scotland. Jakki features in our podcast episode exploring the impact of apprenticeships within the creative and cultural sectors.

Find out more about Edinburgh College on their website.