While the wide range of jobs that exist in the arts and culture sector are well known to those working in it, to many young people, what these roles entail and how to obtain them is not always clear.
To help demystify the industry, clarify what the opportunities available are and offer guidance on how to get them, we recently hosted a career immersion day for a group of 25 young people.
The initiative was part of the Creative & Cultural Opportunity Programme (COP), designed by Create Jobs in collaboration with Sadler’s Wells, which aims to help young east Londoners start their careers in the arts by providing training, advice and networking opportunities.
Led by members of staff from three different teams, this first-of-its-kind session offered insight into the various roles in each and gave participants the opportunity to apply their newly acquired knowledge through a real-life digital brief.
The day kicked off with a round of speed-networking sessions, introducing the participants to our Campaigns & Sales, Corporate Communications and Content & Audiences teams.
In small groups, the participants rotated around the room and heard from each member of staff about what their job involves and what their teams’ role is within Sadler’s Wells, as well as their professional background and path into the industry.
Our staff members had five minutes each to share information on a range of topics. This part of the day was designed to offer useful tips on navigating the sector as a young professional, as well as practical knowledge about ‘portfolio careers’ and pathways into the arts generally and into Sadler’s Wells specifically, via our apprenticeship opportunities.
Lively and interesting discussions emerged from the Q&A section of the day, with the young people engaging in wider reflections about their own interests and aspirations. Of particular interest were two opportunities currently being offered at Sadler’s Wells, one for a Digital & Content Apprentice and another for a Campaign Marketing Apprentice.
We asked some of the young people who participated in the sessions to share a bit more about their career interests and biggest takeaways from the day.
“I want to get into digital media content. My biggest takeaway from today was the fact that Sadler’s Wells is offering two apprenticeships, giving young people like myself the opportunity to work in that field – that’s been fantastic to hear!”
“I really love drama and would love to get into the performing arts, theatre and maybe film one day.
My biggest takeaway was seeing how many jobs there are behind the scenes. I didn’t know there were so many roles involved in theatre and it’s really interesting to see first-hand what you don’t see from the outside.”
“I would like to get more involved in production and the technical aspects of live music events and stage management. I’m starting up a female-led production company acknowledging women that work backstage in the creative industries. I would like to continue inspiring more women to do more sound and backstage work, and my biggest goal is to be the Production and Technical Manager at somewhere like Glastonbury – I’m in talks with the organisers at the moment about making this happen!
My biggest takeway from today was probably the workshop on navigating the creative industries. I really like how it connected with us, and all the interesting facts and figures that I didn’t actually know. I knew that a lot of jobs in the creative industries weren’t advertised, but I didn’t realise that it was 60%! It was also really inspiring to actually see someone that’s quite young, fresh and from a BAME background working in a space like this and being recognised for the work they do.”
“I’d really like to get into presenting and making documentaries, because I love the idea of interviewing people and getting to know their stories. I’m also interested in journalism and review writing – I’d love to have my own column one day.
It’s been really nice to hear from the Sadler’s Wells Campaigns & Sales team about what they do here. I live near Angel; I would always pass Sadler’s Wells and only ever think of it as a place for dance. Today, I’ve become more aware of what marketing a dance show involves, and I’ve learnt that there are so many creative industries that use marketing in their day-to-day work.”
“I’m very interested in English and Drama, and in terms of roles I’d like to get into communications and publications. I also like the advertising and marketing side to promoting shows and content in theatres.
I think my biggest takeaway was getting insight from people in managing positions at Sadler’s Wells, and getting an idea of what their jobs entail. I found it very useful talking to [Director of Content & Audiences] Ankur about prioritising, strategising and what it takes to lead successful theatre. Talking to [Digital Manager] Mark about the apprenticeship opportunities here has helped me think a little bit more about my future as I go into sixth form and later, university.
I have a better understanding now about the skill set I can develop on an apprenticeship, and I feel that I’ve taken away useful knowledge that there are many different routes my career could take.”
“I’m interested in fashion, styling and art directing but I’ve also always really loved theatre and drama, which I was studying at university until I took a bit of a break – mainly because I didn’t know which route I wanted to go down. Today has really opened my eyes up to something I hadn’t considered before, and that’s the programming aspect of theatre. It’s really interesting to see how a single person’s vision helps determine what is shown and who sees it.
Finding work that is commissioned by a more diverse group of people – by younger people, by people that have a voice – is important to me. I think we’re seeing a push towards it in the arts right now, but organisations in the sector can do more. When a place like Sadler’s Wells is looking for these voices, a useful question to ask is: ‘Are these voices of people who need to be represented or of those that are already represented?’ So yeah, that’s my biggest takeaway. Who knew programming could be so interesting!”
Images throughout: Dave Barros.