Telling young people about the magic of the creative sector

,  19 January 2018

My family and I were lucky enough to have seen the Snowman this Christmas at The Peacock Theatre in London.You are transported to another world at the theatre, the performers really do allow you to suspend your reality and just immerse yourself in the beauty of the performance.

In the interval my little one (4.5 yrs old) turned to me and said, "Mummy, did you help an apprentice work on this show? Are they doing the lighting? I’d like to make it look like it’s snowing with lights, that looks fun."

This made me really think about the work that we do and how imperative it is that we let young people know about these career options. About how they could make it ‘snow’ with lights or distract you with lighting and special effects so you miss the snowman melting off stage *sniff*.

It is never too early to let young people know about ‘the magic’ in our sector and the different roles people have in helping make this happen.

Career options for the creative industries

In a world where the X Factor, The Voice and Britain’s Got Talent focus on the performer (which many young people aspire to be), how often do we think about all the people behind the scenes making a performance possible? The CEO of one of this country’s largest and most prestigious venues once told us that for every single person on stage, three are needed behind the scenes to make the performance possible.

Costume makers, wig weavers, prosthetics experts and prop makers are just a few examples of the wonderful, and sometimes weird, career opportunities out there, one just has to know about how to get into them!

Employers are critical in giving young people the information to succeed in a creative career.

I told my daughter about how I work with employers and education providers to give young people the opportunity to learn and work in the creative industries and open up almost limitless possibilities to develop skills in this world leading sector.

It is something she accepts and realises could be a career option for her (although she currently wants to be a ‘doctor teacher’ so I might be barking up the wrong tree, but at least I know she is aware of other options should her current career ambitions not be met).

I am conscious that many young people sadly don’t have this awareness. If their parents don’t have the information or the school doesn’t have a creative focus or the local college does not have a creative course then how do they find out about these options?

Educating young people about their future

In order to ensure that the wide range of creative careers across our collective industries are celebrated and understood, we must ensure we come together and bang on a united drum when it comes to educating young people about their future.

The more cohesive we are as an industry, the better. We welcome the government’s new careers strategy which focuses on a joined up approach with key delivery partners, employers, schools, local government, parents and young people working together to allow them to fully understand the different careers there are and how they can be accessed, but this can only have impact for our sector if those providing careers advice make a point of learning about the very wide range of jobs that we have to offer.

For years we have recognised how critical employers are in giving young people the information to succeed in a creative career. We have worked hard to support them to develop outreach programmes via Creative Choices events, workshops or live events in partnership.

Research from the Education and Employers Taskforce shows that a young person who has four or more encounters with an employer is 86% less likely to be unemployed or not in education or training.

There are lots of careers out there to consider, but if we each just spark one young person’s interest in the sector, and help them understand what creates ‘the magic’, perhaps they too can distract you whilst the snowman melts off stage.

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