London is home to an incredibly vibrant – and growing – creative and cultural sector. But much more can be done to widen access to creative and cultural occupations and ensure that they are reflective of the capital’s diverse population. Currently, only around thirteen percent of workers in the creative industries in London are from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. Last year, London Higher’s CEO, Dr Diana Beech, wrote in our Winning Arts and Minds report that, while London’s arts sector generates a large amount of income for the UK’s economy (£58 billion in 2019), the future of the sector and the creative workers who power it is at risk.
That is why we are so pleased to be co-delivering the Screen Industries Hub of the Mayor’s Creative Academy, working with FE, HE and industry partners to equip Londoners from a range of different backgrounds for careers in film, TV, visual effects, animation and games. We are excited to share some information about the programme’s aims and structure, and what it will offer to Londoners aspiring to work in the creative industries.
The programme was announced in late January by the Mayor at a launch event at Nexus Studios in East London, to coincide with the launch of academies in other key sectors of the capital’s economy, namely digital, green, hospitality and health industries.
AccessHE will be working with Capital City College Group, Middlesex University and Film London to provide training and access to work in the screen industries. Our pan-London Hub will develop and deliver innovative new training and industry partnerships that enable aspiring creatives to progress into a wide range of roles, from costume designer, to software engineer, to part of a production’s legal team – to name just a few.
For many looking to break into these industries, the only means of getting a foothold on the career ladder to date has been to take low-paid positions or unpaid internships that allow them to develop key skills and build their CVs. Individuals who can’t afford to take these roles are then at a disadvantage in their attempts to build the skills employers are looking for. Our Hub explicitly seeks to break this cycle of disadvantage by proactively engaging with underrepresented communities and ensuring the training and support they receive is free at the point of access.
The involvement of London’s HE sector and its world-leading teaching and facilities in these discipline areas will be integral to the success of the Screen Industries Hub. In London’s student population, too, the Hub has access to a highly skilled and diverse candidate pool that will form the next generation of creative talent.
More information on the Hub can be found here. If you are interested in accessing any training or employability support, either for yourself or for your students – or if you would like to get involved in co-delivering that support – please get in touch with us at accessHE@londonhigher.ac.uk.