The creative industries have a long way to go to create a truly diverse workforce representive of modern society. I interviewed Creative Access, a company that offers paid internships to those from a BAME background and are determined to break this pattern.
How did Creative Access begin?
Creative Access was born out of the 2011 British census, which showed that that over 40% of Londoners are non-white. Simultaneously Creative Skillset’s 2012 employment census showed that ethnic minority representation across the creative industries had fallen to just 5.4% of the total workforce. The absence of diversity in the creative sectors is not only bad for our society but is also bad for business, which thrives on having a diversity of ideas and opinions. As a result of this, Creative Access was founded in 2012. It provides opportunities in the creative industries for young people from under-represented black, Asian and other non-white minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME). In just three years we have placed over 460 interns across 12 creative areas, with book publishing being one of our leading sectors.
What new initiatives and events are being worked on?
Creative Access is constantly evolving and responding to feedback from both interns and media partners. We have recently introduced a buddy system for new interns, an intern clinic for anyone dealing with issues throughout their internship and training for those who have completed their internship, but want support with the next phase of their career. We are also trying to encourage as many of our partners as possible to promote permanent roles with Creative Access so we can encourage our alumni to apply.
Have you seen an improvement in diversity in the workplace?
Things are slowly changing. One of our interns at Hachette, who has recently been offered (and accepted) a permanent role with the company, recently said: “There's a fair few Creative Access alumni here in the building and month by month I'm noticing the spectrum of colours beginning to change towards a more accurate representation of the demographic of people that pick up a book.” In the last three years, Creative Access has placed over 90 interns in publishing companies. Our media partners include Bloomsbury, Kogan Page, Hot Key Books, Harlequin, Hearst, Pan Macmillan, Little, Brown, Hachette, Hodder & Stoughton, Headline, Octopus, Inpress, Sweet Cherry Publishing, Pluto Books, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Orion, Walker Books and Faber & Faber. We also work with a number of literary agents including Jo Unwin, Alexander Aitken Associates and Furniss Lawton.
How do publishers find out more and join?
To find out more about what we do, you can head over to our website.
Any publishers who would like to take a Creative Access intern should contact Josie on firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do people from a BAME background register?
We are always looking for bright new candidates to join our growing network. We would actively encourage any young people from a BAME background to check out our full range of opportunities and register with us here. You can also follow us @_CreativeAccess on Twitter.
What advice would you give to someone looking to work in the industry?
Our advice to anyone looking to work in the industry would be to research your sector inside out. The creative industries are extremely competitive, so if you want to succeed, you need to make sure you are equipped with as much knowledge as possible. You don’t need to have paid work experience to enhance your CV; you could write a blog, organise charity events or create your own films which you upload to YouTube. We would also suggest that you get a mentor. There is nothing more valuable than getting regular advice and guidance from an industry professional who has experience in your chosen field.
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