Between 2010 and 2016, the creative industries grew by 44.8% (DCMS, November 2017). So, it is unsurprising that student interest and the desire to know more about the industry and the careers it offers has increased too. Cutting-edge courses have been taking centre stage in recent years including; game design, visual effects (VFX), game art, animation and motion graphics.
Why the creative industries?
According to a new EY and the Centre for London report* (Business Insider), in the next 20 years London could lose one third of its low to mid-skill level jobs due to automation. The creative industries are bucking the trend and are the UK’s fastest growing industry, worth a impressive £91.8bn GVA to the UK economy – this is set to rise to £128.4bn by 2025, a 3.9% increase year on year** (Gov.uk). The Creative Industries employs 2 million people, which accounts for 1 in 17 (5.8%) of all UK jobs***(Gov.uk).
So what advice is there?
- Speak to careers advisors face-to-face at your school/college/university to explore potential routes and discuss how to access these.
- Use online careers websites to acquire information about general careers and then more specialist ones.
- Have a look at websites of companies you would be interested in working for, or studying with, for future inspiration.
- Be proactive and contact people in the industry in order to create a pool of contacts that you can come back to later.
- Utilise social media to keep up with current industry events, opportunities, and to build your own social media presence that showcases what you can do.
Routes into the Creative Industries
It is important to highlight that the creative industries are competitive and it is vital to build yourself as a brand as well as recognising that a lot of the work is freelance.
So, where do you start?
- Decide on the specific area of the creative industries that you want to focus on, for example, Animation.
- Complete a specialised course in the area of choice to ensure that it is what you want to do, for example at a specialist school such as Escape Studios.
- Start to generate a portfolio/ showreel related to your specific area, to showcase your best work.
- Build a social media presence by showcasing your work online and making sure you follow and interact with accounts and profiles relevant to industry. Twitter and Instagram are useful for sharing photos of your work or showreels. Further, following and exploiting industry-related hashtags, industry influencers and local businesses and actively engaging in trending conversations is perfect for your reputation online.
- If you are studying at university level, media societies offer great leverage for entering the creative industries. They give you the chance to enhance and develop your creative talents and work on some unique projects, whilst also being able to meet a great group of like-minded people that could help start your professional career.
- Attend conferences and events because they contain the opportunities to network with industry-leading professionals, gain expert insights through talks and workshops, and explore career opportunities you never knew existed. For example, the VFX Festival.
- Research the skills employers are looking for by looking at job descriptions that simulate your dream role. When you find a position you like the look of, skim through the skills and experience listed for the position. Check your competence against these and work on developing any skills you need to gain or improve.
When starting out, consider jobs in small independent companies or local businesses first as your talent and potential is more likely to be taken seriously. This gives you the chance to build your portfolio more and more until you have heaps of experience and can look at working for larger studios.
*Business Insider, EY and the Centre for London report on London job automation
** Department for Culture, Media & Sport, Creative industries: Sector Deal (Gov.uk).
*** Department for Culture, Media & Sport Creative Industries: Focus on Employment (Gov.uk).