Over 700,000 people in the UK are enrolled on a creative or cultural course. But they are competing for a mere handful of new jobs: around 6,500 each year.
Aware that there’s a lot of doom and gloom around in this industry just now, Creative & Cultural Skills - the Sector Skills Council representing UK employers in advertising, craft, cultural heritage, design, music, performing, visual and literary arts - has come up with some high-profile experts to put things into perspective.
What is it really like to work in these industries? Seven experts spill the beans via C&C’s online TV channel. Now, it has to be said that Creative Choices is not the easiest of websites to navigate and I found it sluggish. Someone needs to sort out the jerkiness of the film too. After all if Creative and Cultural Skills can’t summon up a high calibre technician then who can?
Nonetheless there’s a lot of useful information here and the interviews make the seven speakers seem very human and approachable. They are - Sir John Hegarty (Worldwide Creative Director, Bartle Bogel Hegarty), Rob da Bank (Promoter, Bestival & Broadcaster, BBC Radio), Alex Proud (Owner of Proud galleries), Tony Hall (CEO, The Royal Opera House), David Kershaw (Chief Executive, M&C Saatchi), Nicholas Hytner (Artistic Director, National Theatre) and Wayne Hemingway (Designer). Women, I note, are conspicuous by their absence, which is a bit sad.
Each interview covers a range of topics, everything from how each chap got into his respective profession, the importance of mentorship and spotting creative opportunities in a downturn, to bigger debates: Are Britain’s creative and cultural industries well-placed to survive the recession? Can Britain retain its position as a global leader on the creative and cultural stage.
Nick Hytner points out, for example, that the performing arts have traditionally done well in recession. ‘We provide something which is high quality but for the most part pretty cheap so we’ll be OK,’ he says. He is also sensible and upbeat about training and the perennial university or drama school question.
Tony Hall declares confidence in Britain’s creative future too but admits he is concerned about how small and large companies will manage during the next two years.
Have a look at these interviews - and the rest of the material on the Creative Choices site. A useful contribution to education and training? Will they help the industry and potential recruits to it in these straitened times? I’d love to hear your views and experiences.