Building a creative nation: Diversity and Fair Access

Building a creative nation: Diversity and Fair Access

By Creative & Cultural Skills


This Creative and Cultural Skills report looks at how we can ensure access to employment in the creative and cultural industries for all.

The future of the creative industries depends on the way it recruits and nurtures new talent. A diverse workforce enables the widest possible range of people to be involved in the sector.

Though the creative sector is the fastest-growing part of the UK economy, contributing £84.1bn each year, it is harder than ever for young people to break into the sector. The practice of longterm unpaid internships shuts out those who cannot afford to subsidise their own placements.

This narrows the pool of talent to those who can access entry-level jobs, leaving those young people with talent, but little experience of the creative industries, excluded from them. Beyond employment we know that many opportunities are for freelancers and start-up businesses: unless we support young people with first experiences of the job market they will not be able to make such opportunities for themselves.

At Creative & Cultural Skills, we work with Further Education and creative employers who have been pioneers in opening up new opportunities and fair access to young people from the FE sector. The work we have done with the Creative Employment Programme to support apprenticeships, internships and pre-employment opportunities has had a proven positive effect on the diversity of the creative industries.

Since 2013 we have generated over 4500 apprenticeships and paid internships and have prioritised access to these opportunities to unemployed young people and those ready to take an apprenticeship. We have focused on the genuine entry-level jobs which are largely technical, administrative and events-based. Beyond our own programme we know that employers working with FE partners have generated over 7,000 apprenticeships in creative jobs alone.

The impact of widening the pool of potential applicants to the sector has also resulted in wider diversity of entrants from BAME groups, disabled young people and a wide social base. We need to raise awareness, understanding and new thinking with creative industries employers, college leaders and governors, young people and policy makers.

Successful companies recognise there is an economic imperative to recruiting from as wide a talent pool as possible. If our creative industries are to remain world-class, then they need to be as diverse as our own society, and accessible to all.

Pauline Tambling CBE

CEO, Creative & Cultural Skills

Download the report 


Resource type: Research | Published: 2019