Creative jobs are on the increase in the UK and this thriving industry is crying out for talented graduates!
For many people, sitting behind a desk pushing paper all day fills them with dread. If you’re one such person, fear not. Those with a passion for creating will find careers out there that allow you to get paid for doing what you love.
The number of jobs in the creative industries went up to 1.8million in 2015, an increase of more than twice the rate of the rest of the UK economy, according to the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS). So, while it’s not the easiest job market to crack because demand outstrips supply, these figures prove there are jobs if you are determined and creative enough to make it happen.
Music/Performing Visual Arts
This is a huge and growing field. Jobs range from creative roles such as musician, set designer, choreographer, props and wardrobe to more technical roles like sound engineer, lighting technician and camera operator.
While you’re not likely to see ‘pop star wanted’ ads (although it does happen very occasionally), working in other areas, such as teaching, engineering, or production, is more structured.
In this field, formal qualifications are not essential, except in some high-level technical roles, but you could take a course in music technology or theatre studies.
Entry level positions include a runner or assistant for a studio, radio station or theatre; salaries start at around Ј15,000. You could also get in as an apprentice.
Work experience is crucial as it shows your commitment, so volunteering for community projects, hospital radio, local theatre productions, or mixing and creating your own music will all help.
Making things look amazing is what this career is all about. It could be graphic design, web design, packaging design or interior design. Jobs are available in-house, or via agencies.
These jobs are creative, but you’ll need technical know how, too – particularly as technology advances, and use of 3D imaging and virtual reality grows. So you’ll generally need a design qualification in the relevant field to give you experience using computer design packages.
Junior design roles attract salaries of £20,000 to £30,000, depending on field and location, this can rise substantially with experience. There are opportunities to freelance or run your own business.
This world includes fashion houses and labels, retailers, manufacturers, websites and magazines. Within each of these areas, there is a raft of jobs, from merchandising to buying, styling to designing. For all roles, you’ll need to have style, an eye for the next big thing, be creative, work well under pressure, and possess excellent communication skills.
You can study fashion design, or a related qualification, merchandising for example, or you can start at the bottom and work your way up. Interning or work experience counts for a lot in this field.
Entry level positions, such as Assistant Buyer, or Stylist’s Assistant, come with salaries of around £20,000, but make it to the top, heading up a major fashion house for example, you’ll earn enough to keep yourself in Louboutins for life.
If images are your thing, then working in this interesting field could be for you. Film and TV positions include writers, directors, producers and editors.
Formal qualifications are not crucial for entry level positions – enthusiasm and initiative are. Broadcasters like the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 offer work experience placements, graduate schemes and insight days. You’d start off as a runner or assistant, earning around Ј18,000.
One of the best ways to become a professional photographer is to become an assistant. Some will take you on without qualifications, as it’s more about your willingness to learn, but a photo imaging course or your own portfolio will help, too.
As an assistant, you’ll learn all the technical and creative aspects of the job, plus lighting, sets and how to deal with models, clients and art directors. Salaries are in the region of £14,000 to £18,000.
There are three main opportunities here – books, magazines and online. All need writers, assistants, editors and managers.
For each, you’ll need a love of words, and good qualifications in English language and/or literature. Proof of published work is also beneficial, so write a blog or pitch short stories and articles to magazines and sites: try small local charity newsletters, for example.
As with many creative jobs, experience and contacts are key. You can get your foot in the door through temping, interning, or doing work experience. Entry level salaries can be low, around £18,000 to £20,000, but rise to £50,000+ for experienced editors.
Sharing knowledge of incredible works of art is crucial for society and can provide a satisfying career. Jobs within these institutions are highly sought after and include assistants, curators, and guides.
Higher level, specialist positions require a degree and post grad qualification, such as the history of art, museum studies, or archaeology. But junior roles can be achieved with a good standard of general education.
Work experience is essential, helping you gain experience and build up a network of useful contacts (see artscouncil.org.uk for info).
Assistant roles achieve salaries of £15,000 to £18,000 approximately, rising with experience. Senior curators can earn more than £40,000.
Working at Sadler’s Wells has given me the confidence to host my own live show’
Maya Williams, 21, from London, has just completed an apprenticeship in Live Events at theatre Sadler’s Wells and has been taken on at the company as a project assistant
‘I started my apprenticeship at Sadler’s Wells last March having just finished a two-year course at dance college. Having come from a dance background I was excited that there was an entry level way of working at the theatre and in particular for Breakin’ Convention, a project which paves the way for hip hop dancers.
‘I’d actually got into a London university to do a degree in dance management but dropped this as I knew working at Sadler’s Wells would give me much more hands-on experience.
‘There are just seven of us in the team and it is so interesting to see how much stems from such a small department. As well as putting on an international
festival of hip hop dance theatre show every May bank holiday, throughout the year there are professional development projects for hip hop dancers, schools workshops and a UK and international tour of the Breakin’ Convention show.
‘What I’ve enjoyed most during my apprenticeship is supporting the development of hip hop practitioners. They are given the opportunity to work with professional mentors and they create a piece within a week. I really enjoy working on that, having artists in the studio and seeing how the mentors work,
who I have so much respect for.
‘I have learned so much, working in an office in a quite serious job environment and the apprenticeship has given me the confidence to take on roles a lot higher than I ever expected.
‘It has also given me the tools to have a go at running a live event myself, an Open Mic night for Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning (LGBTQ) people which was really successful. Seeing first hand how Breakin’ Convention works set me up with all the tools to have a go at running an event myself.’