As London’s agencies, tech start-ups, creative and cultural sectors become clearer about their existing skills gaps and more overt in recognising their current lack of workforce diversity, there is urgent need to create a learning infrastructure that better meets the needs of this fast moving and growing economic sector and the needs of young Londoners.
On the 13th of June 2018 as part of London Tech Week, Create Jobs hosted an evening of showcase and discussion at General Assembly exploring the lack of diversity in the digital creative and cultural sectors, and the skills gap that exist between employers and young emerging talent.
The event was an opportunity to showcase some innovative work that we have been involved in of late and a chance to discuss some of the big issues and barriers facing young people and the sector, and position some solutions.
We were able to record the panel discussion chaired by Abadesi Osunsade - founder of Hustle Crew and Non Tech Tech. Experienced and knowledgeable about the theme at hand, she pushed the panelists for solutions on how to best optimise for inclusion.
The panel included:
Creative and copywriter, Asher Harris.
Director of Digital at Comic Relief, Charlotte Hillenbrand
Principal Officer, GLA, Doniya Soni
Head of Children and young people, Corsham Institute, Catherine Knivett
Access to work is complicated and the system is pretty closed off for huge parts of our city. Education and training is not fit for purpose - unless you can pay for it; the sector recruits in its own image; young people face huge barriers in getting in.
This said, there are waves of change. It is in our gift to create environments that represent the City more accurately. Inequality is not inherent in our make-up. The conversation with panelists segmented some of this out.
Here is a summary:
Many agencies/employers are not reaching the right talent. They speak to the converted, missing huge talent. If this is the case, reach out to new communities - Hustle Crew, Muslamic Makers, Create Jobs (my plug) - these are communities who have people waiting to jump in.
Young people and their parents and carers must familiarise themselves with tech and coding in healthy ways. Tech is made by people (for now) and the more interaction we have the more we will ask questions. Encourage sheer raging curiosity.
Intersectional approach to diversity
People must be willing to have difficult conversations to make change. We must have conversations around inclusion without casting blame. We must hold ourselves and our places of work accountable. Diversity isn’t inviting everyone to the party, but inclusion is inviting each of them to dance with you.
Optimising for inclusion
Make people feel welcome and valued. Talk to the people you say you want to work with. Everyone has bias - it’s our role to get over our prejudices and work collaboratively.
Create environments where people can thrive and be valued as individuals. Create autonomous teams that have clear sense of purpose and direction. Provide permission for people to be themselves as they see fit.
These events are great to talk and discuss. We will be doing more of these over the coming months. In the meantime we have some amazing opportunities coming up.
We are working with 17 galleries, museums and heritage organisations to create digital archiving, social media and marketing and conservation roles. See the New Museum School project - this takes the Panic Report - which everyone should read - flipping the 2.7% BAME stat on its head.
Flipside 2.0 kicks off in January 2019. We have 5 amazing agencies involved and want more. Get in touch if you know of digital studio who wants/need young talent.
Digital Pipeline LDN round 2 kicks on in September - this is the Mayor’s Digital Talent Programme where we are working with General Assembly and D&AD on front end web development and creative digital. Applications end soon!
And much more in the form of mentoring, talks and masterclasses.