Creative Industries conference: round up!

The Creative & Cultural Skills conference last week brought together creative professionals from all over the UK to discuss the next 10 years of the creative and cultural industries. Thoughts were shared on current trends and where they would lead, how tech and automation would affect the future, and how best to equip young people to shape the future of the industry. All big ideas, but where were the voices of young people?

In the morning, a panel led by Roundhouse Artistic Director Marcus Davey brought together a panel of six apprentices to discuss attitudes to apprenticeships and the future of the creative sector. Grace Nikobari (IKON Gallery) Dan de la Motte-Harrison (Young Vic), Elijah Bligh-Briggs and Hannah Steele (London Transport Museum), Faye Butler (BBC Worldwide) and Cecilia Knapp (Roundhouse) all contributed to an animated and opinionated discussion!

We ran a competition for CEP partcipants to win tickets to the conference, and were joined by winners Camilla Martin, John Hamilton-May, Beth Houldsworth, Lauryn Baxter and Marissa Anthony. As well as networking their socks off during the day, they came along to our afternoon session to air their views about internships and apprenticeships; how they were perceived and what they could contribute to the sector.

THIS IS IT!’s Andrea led the two hour session, that was packed with difficult questions and big ideas. We’ve hand-picked the things that mattered the most to the young people that were there…

“Apprenticeships have an identity crisis!”

Friends and family were not always supportive, and saw an apprenticeship as a ‘lesser’ career option, associated with lower paid jobs. We need to change people’s opinions!

“Young people have all the answers!”

… and all they need from older more experienced people is support and resources. Bigga Fish Founder Nii Sackey argued during his morning keynote speech, and opinions on this varied within our group. Some maintained that older, more experienced staff are in leadership positions for good reason, and this knowledge should be appreciated. Others felt Nii was spot on, and young people should be given more responsibility and free rein to influence and make decisions.

“Should young people even be pigeonholed as ‘young people’? Is this definition useful?”

It was felt that too much emphasis was placed on the definition and that in some organisations apprentices were given too much responsibility to communicate to and attract other young people.


“Is it ever ok to work for free?”

A common question in the creative industries. If employers cannot afford to recruit a paid member of staff, should young people work for them for free to gain experience? Another point that divided the group; some categorically insisting that no young person should ever work for free, and others arguing that there are grey areas to be considered.


“Should apprenticeships be more strictly monitored?”

The group discussed the idea of ‘policing’ apprenticeships so that employers are required to provide an employment opportunity or significant benefit at the end of the placement. Again, this was contested by some members of the group, who argued that this may create a disincentive to potential employers.


As the future of the sector, young people were a key focus of the day, and Andrea was keen for the group to make the most of the networking drinks session. Employers and creative professionals of all levels were chomping at the bit to talk to the interns and apprentices, so Andrea led them through some practical networking tips to end the session.

Even if you missed the session, you can still have your say. Comment below, or tweet us @CreativeSoc #ThisIsItNetwork



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