My role on the day was to provide the attendees with more information on the School of Logical Progression, a year-long programme that connects young people and employers in the creative industries to help target the mismatch of skills and lack of diversity that currently exists in the creative industry.
It’s an initiative that I think is necessary, as someone who didn’t even think that the creative industries would be viable or accessible to me before I started to navigate through it as a Social Media Journalist on A New Direction’s Headstart Programme, aged 16. At 20, I’ve realized that it’s very much based on who you know rather than what you know. The buzz-phrase that employers love to throw around and deliver with glee is ‘you need experience,’ which is funny to me because to gain experience, you need experience. It eventually begins to feel like you’re boxed in and bouncing between the four walls, whilst people look in but refuse to lend a hand and help you out.
Chatting to my peers, who were concerned about their place in the industry felt a lot like reliving my past. They mentioned skills they wanted to acquire such as creating and maintaining a blog and responding to briefs, which I had learnt on the Headstart programme. It felt good to champion SLP, as someone who has worked with Fran, Oliver and Charlie and is a graduate of sorts, of their collaborative programmes.
Talking to some of the graduates, students and self-starters at the Hack Day reaffirmed my belief in how necessary it is to change tact when it comes to getting involved in the creative industries. We ran a simple exercise asking people to comment on how ready and well equipped they felt for their dream job or career and write it down on a piece of card. It was a question that caused many to pause.
When collecting the cards up and after chatting to some of the attendees that made their way to the Brain Room, I noticed similar fears and concerns about the future. There was a lot of excitement about delving into an industry that they didn’t know everything about but were enthused by what they did know.
At the same time, there were concerns about the skills needed and the experience that was necessary to enter the industry. I spoke to many students, who felt that even though they were learning particular skill-sets in their degrees, this did not necessarily translate into a profession. I’m currently undertaking a degree in English and I definitely understand this uncertainty and anxiety about what I’m working towards now and in the future.