The creative industry is booming. Since the industry accounts for little under 6% of the overall economy. It symbolises the face of our future as we know it. Some may say that jobs in the creative industry are not accessible to individuals living in rural areas, and there is an application gap between applicants from different backgrounds. We need to change this narrative to ensure that young people’s abilities and skills are reflected. In this post, we discuss how candidates may succeed in finding employment in the creative industry and interview a current student from the University Of Central Lancashire. She discusses how short courses can help students and applicants network and boost their career chances in the creative industry.

The Creative Industry

According to the author, John Howkins, the United Kingdom has 15 creative industries. This includes the following:

  • Architecture
  • Design
  • Advertising
  • Film
  • Publishing
  • Television
  • Music
  • Video games

Lacking ‘Experience’

The applicant’s lack of experience is the most significant issue while applying for positions in the creative industries. Many positions require at least a year or two of experience in the field, such as working for a firm on a placement, in town, or in-office roll. The majority of internships are unpaid so young adults are under pressure to make sacrifices to get experience for future employment. Especially if you have to balance your academic and social lives while using your free time to gain experience, it may be challenging for you to take on these roles. Moreover, most internships and placements are highly competitive and based in major cities, thus only available to those who live nearby.

So we need to shift this narrative, and we need to make it easier for young adults to gain expertise in the creative industry. There are several schemes available to help young adults in developing their careers and showcasing their talents in the creative industry. Brixton Finishing School offers one of these, the AD-Cademy. They aim to ‘break down barriers and give entry-level talent from working-class, multicultural and neurodiverse backgrounds a fairer chance to succeed.’

Interview With Mia McGlynn – University Of Central Lancashire

University Of Central Lancashire

Mia McGlynn | University Of Central Lancashire

Here is an interview with a student at the University Of Central Lancashire who completed the AD-Cademy course. She talks to us about her experience and what young people may do to get into the creative industry.

What is your educational background, and do you work creatively?

I am currently a third-year university student from the University Of Central Lancashire, studying Creative Advertising.

What effect has the pandemic had on your creative opportunity options?

I’d say for me, personally, it gave me time to look at the options I had. For example, completing the AD-Cademy course online may not have been an opportunity if it wasn’t for the pandemic. Also, networking is very important in the advertising industry so being able to network online was handy. Obviously, there were many downsides such as in-person work experience being a lot more difficult to secure but on the whole, I have tried to use the situation to my advantage.

AD-Cademy Course

Let us now discuss your AD-Cademy course. How did you come across it, and how did you apply?

I came across the AD-Cademy course via LinkedIn. I was able to follow a link and easily apply for the course and later received an email confirming my place.

What did you learn from the AD-Cademy course, and how did it influence your work?

I learnt so much about the advertising industry! In my university course at the University Of Central Lancashire, we focus mainly on ideas, art direction and copywriting skills. I liked how the AD-Cademy course gave talks from lots of different people on a lot of different career-building topics. I found the strategy talks especially interesting. Through this course, I was able to look at my university briefs from different perspectives and to prepare myself for the process of breaking into a role.

Off the back of it, I was able to get involved with a reverse mentoring opportunity between the AD-Cademy and News UK. Through this, I gained Rebekah Brooks, CEO of News UK, as my mentor. I went to the London Offices to meet her. This opportunity led to gaining work experience in an advertising agency in London, The&Partnership. I had an amazing time in London as I was able to widen my network- being from the Northwest this can be difficult to do.

Finding Work

Unpaid work experience is popular within the creative and digital industries. Such work is not accessible to students who are less fortunate financially and students are not compensated for their efforts. What are your opinions on unpaid work experience programmes, and how do you think they may be improved?

I believe that unpaid work does lead to unfair advantages. It limits options to just those from wealthier backgrounds and allows for nepotism to take place. In the larger cities, there are also a lot of unpaid experiences. This further disadvantages those from less financially fortunate backgrounds as the cost of living is higher there. The way this can be improved is by all work experiences being paid for, which seems to be changing in recent years thanks to programmes like the Ad-Cademy.

How might young people enhance their prospects of finding work?

Get involved with as many opportunities as you can. In addition to your studies, you can take other courses and network in your spare time to enhance your CV.

What are the advantages of taking a short course alongside your course at the University Of Central Lancashire?

It’s a flexible way of gaining more experience and knowledge alongside studying. I would highly recommend courses such as the Ad-Cademy. It helped me with networking opportunities that I may not have gained through studying alone.

The Application Gap

University Of Central Lancashire | Creative Jobs | Creative Industry

Mia & Ally | University Of Central Lancashire

Do you believe that the creative employment market is more accessible to young people in large cities, and how do you think it might be improved across the UK?

I’d say it definitely seems more accessible to young people in large cities, with the two main hubs for the creative industry being London and Manchester. Across the UK, it could be better if more agencies were located in smaller areas. Or if local areas were more aware of the creative industries. I do think remote working is helping to improve access though as you can now work anywhere!

Do you think the creative industries are diverse, and how do you think they can close the gender, LGBTQ+, and ethnic minority applicant gaps?

I would say the creative industry is getting better at having representation from different backgrounds. However, to close the gaps we need to see more diversity amongst the higher ranks. Not only does it show that progress is possible for those from diverse backgrounds, but they are also the people in power to hire others.

What advice would you provide to aspiring creatives or students interested in working in the creative and digital sectors in the future?

I would say be curious. By staying curious and seeking opportunities you can open doors that will only increase your chances of finding work in an increasingly competitive industry!


If you want to apply for the Ad-Cademy course, you can simply register here.


We hope this post has given you some ideas on how to get into the creative industry!