Fair access to careers in the cultural sector is something we have been working tirelessly to champion. Our sector is still rife with unpaid internships and recruitment strategies that require higher-education qualifications for entry-level work – and we’re not the only one.

We’ve spoken before – and will continue to do so – about the inequalities that someone with a disadvantaged background will face when trying to progress in the creative industries. Whether that’s the countless offers of unpaid internships that are unaffordable to those unable to work for free, or poor recruitment practices that fuel unconscious bias and lead to more hires of ‘people like us’ this is unfair, immoral and bad for the sector.

But the cultural sector is not alone in these practices, and the lessons we learn about fair access can help educate and empower others. From April, we’re excited to be delivering a suite of training sessions on behalf of The National Archives. Staff at CCSkills will be delivering what we know about apprenticeships, volunteering, working with freelancers, recruitment, diversity and inclusivity. We hope that this will support growth in the archives sector and help it develop a more diverse range of talent.

For our sector, we’re moving ahead with the Creative Kickstart programme, which can provide hundreds of young people with paid employment across the UK’s cultural sector. As well as the potential life-changing employment to its participants, we will work with our partners to challenge the way the sector thinks about recruitment. We’re also celebrating the success of our recent Discover! Creative Careers and Creative Careers Programme activities in England and Wales, which has reached over 120,000 young people during the past twelve months.

The cultural sector has not enjoyed a reputation as the most diverse or equitable sector, but it has shown itself to be capable of rapid change, and there is every chance that it can use the upheaval of this pandemic to transform an industry that reflects and speaks to our society, and become an exemplar to others.

Jane Ide OBE, CEO, Creative & Cultural Skills