Breaking up the Old Boys' Club

Create Jobs' Louise Barnell talks about why it's important to focus on helping young Londoners gain employment within the creative industries, how Create Jobs is helping, and how organisations can get involved.

25 November 2014

(Photo: Louise Barnell - Producer, Create Jobs)

After a long break from writing here at Create Jobs (we’ve got a fairly good excuse - it’s been busy) probably good to start by recapping on what we do.

Create Jobs works with 16-24 year old East Londoners to get them jobs in the creative industries, recruiting them from all sorts of places like Job Centre Plus, young people’s organisations including The Prince's Trust, Housing Associations, and local authority services.

We work in several ways: providing traineeships in partnership with colleges, connecting young people with work experience, paid internships, and apprenticeships, and jobs with local employers. We provide tailored one-to-one support, master classes with Industry professionals, mentoring, pre-employability training and all sorts of networking opportunities and visits to cultural institutions, galleries and studios.

The Old Boys' Club

Why specialise in young Londoners' employment in the creative industries?

Because the anecdotes about the ‘Old Boys Club’ are sadly true and if you insert the words ‘largely white and middle class’ even truer.

This is backed up by hard facts. The 2012 Employment Census: Skillset July 2013 shows us that despite over 50% of Londoners now coming from a BME (Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority) background, and 43% of the UK’s Creative industries being based in London, the proportion of people from non-white backgrounds working in the creative industries is half of what it is across the rest of the economy. At senior levels within the industry it’s as low as 3%. BME representation across the creative industries has even fallen in recent years.

Barriers young people face in entering the creative industries are myriad, and need tackling. After all, the BBC frequently reminds us that it’s the fastest growing industry in the UK, sadly accompanied by a hugely homogenous workforce which doesn’t reflect UK diversity.

Don’t have an uncle at ITV?

A huge difficulty is not knowing the right people. Arts Emergency, an excellent charity creating mentoring and arts opportunities for young people has a great term for the work they (and we) do. They provide an 'Alternative Old Boys' Network', succinctly summing up what we’re trying to provide - a network of connections, opportunities and solutions for people that don’t have an uncle at ITV.

But I’m not arty…

Lack of awareness about the types of jobs there are out there is another big one. Innumerable times we hear young East Londoners say: ‘But I’m not arty?’ You don’t have to be. Theatres, artists, designers and writers all need finance, events, managers, technicians, customer service, catering. These jobs should be accessible. If you do happen to be arty - it’s still not obvious where performance, writing, directing, and making jobs come from.

Proper jobs

This ‘arts blackout’ for young people (especially non-graduates) is largely due to a combination of factors on both the supply and demand sides of the labour market. For instance, schools, colleges, job centres, and parents don’t focus on arts and cultural jobs as ‘proper jobs’ or feel confident in advising young people towards an arts career. This is twinned with a lack of awareness from arts employers on how to engage diverse audiences, which means they usually aim for graduate employees.

So, we're here to help...

Create Jobs is committed to diversifying the arts and creative industries by helping young Londoners access jobs in the sector. Bit by bit we are introducing a wider range of talent into the industry and you can help us do this.

Together, we can create high quality work experience, paid apprenticeships and internships. Last year Create jobs helped fund 37 paid jobs and 89 work experiences with a range of cultural and creative partners.

How can organisations help?

Create Jobs can help you develop a structured work experience opportunity for an individual or groups of young people and provide funding for expenses and staff time whilst supporting the young person’s experience.

On 10 December we're holding a Winter Breakfast for organisations and employers to come along and find out how Create Jobs can help you develop opportunities for young people through accessing professional development and wage subsidies.

Find out more and book your place

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