Navigating a creative Industries career

Navigating a creative Industries career in post Brexit Britain. With recent the unveiling of the Government’s 10 pillar modern industrial strategy, and the renewed focus on education and skills, there has never been more responsibility placed on young people to ‘step up’ and help build trade across all industries, and on UK business – from big corporations to SMEs, to provide the means to do so.

Simon Elliott, Managing Director of Diversity, one of Nottingham’s leading CRM and creative agencies comments on the bewildering array of career paths being presented to graduates and school leavers today attempting to plot a career course in the creative industries, in Post Brexit Britain.

For any young person, their age 16+ decisions of whether to opt for college, university, apprenticeships or employment is a daunting one.  However, for today’s young people, the choices are even more perplexing. They are making the same tricky career decisions as previous generations but in the context of total economic ambivalence and uncharted business territory for us all.

For twenty years the government has encouraged as many 18-year-olds as possible into university places. Now with a massive shift in strategic thinking, there is a target of creating 3 million apprenticeships by 2020, championing a much more technical and vocational skill set.

Simon commented:

“This is no bad thing, creating a good balance of vocational and theoretical learning is important, but there has been a swift swing in approach which both education and business must react to.

At Diversity we have always believed that a close relationship between business and education is essential in developing young people with the right skills and aptitude to succeed in their chosen career.

Businesses really need to take the driving seat, and start working more closely with education to make what is being taught in the classroom relevant to the business world.

It is important for students to make the connection between classroom learning and real life business scenarios, and be able to apply their learning in the wider world.”

Simon Elliot

Simon Elliot

Diversity has a long-standing relationship with Nottingham Trent University, where the team has been instrumental in helping to develop the academic course work of undergraduates, to include real life examples of work within the CRM and creative industry.

Now with the new emphasis on more education and business partnerships, Simon is keen that more is done to help make young people aware of the wide selection of opportunities and that they are given sound career advice which will stand them in good stead for years to come.

Apprenticeships are typically seen as the domain of big businesses in manufacturing and engineering industry, however, modern apprenticeships cover a wide variety of industries including marketing and media industries, with the diversity of the roles increasing every year.

In the UK, SMEs account for 99% of private sector business and can offer valuable training for both graduates and school leavers. Young people are ambitious and want to work on big brand names. It is often only through working with SMEs that these aspirations are realised early on in their career.

At Diversity, the team has several junior members of staff who have joined the business and are now working on some of the UK’s leading brand names including Interflora, Boots and Dulux.

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The Diversity team

Riah Skeldon, Diversity CRM Director started with the business aged 25, as an Account Executive and has found that she’s really benefitted from the enhanced and accelerated learning she’s gained through working within an SME.

Riah commented:

“Working within an SME the opportunity to work outside your specific job role can happen frequently. This allows you exposure to the wider business and the possibility to gain new skills and insights that would be restricted in large corporations due to the departmental approach.

The beauty of a working with an SME that has as much drive and passion to succeed as you is that you grow along with it. ‘Moving up the ranks’ quickly is a great benefit but being part of something and contributing to the success of a business is incredibly rewarding.

Commercial acumen and a bigger picture understanding is something I have been grateful to learn. Initially this is something you think you have but it becomes clear very quickly that there is still so much to be learnt when in a ‘hands on’ environment of an SME. For example, my understanding of the once avoided subject of financials became much more acute when faced with managing financial transactions on behalf of the company. This was even apparent in my early years as an Account Executive when selecting which suppliers to work with”.

For young people considering career options within the agency industry, they now have two excellent career paths – the university route which is becoming more vocational and hands on. Additionally, and depending on whether they take an intermediate or advanced level apprenticeship this is now a real alternative career pathway leading to a wide range of jobs including marketing, advertising, CRM and PR.

Simon added:

“We are delighted with the more vocational approach – entrepreneurialism is alive and well in the UK and through more partnership working with education, we will fill the yawning skills gap.

A more integrated approach to businesses and education offers the best opportunities for young people, and given the right advise will help make their career choice more accessible, while building a skilled and talented workforce for the future.”

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