STUDENTS OF THE FUTURE HAVE THEIR FINGER ON THE CREATIVE PULSE

16-18 year olds set to explore creative courses in spite of an absence of careers guidance and support from ill-informed parents and schools

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  • 70% of 16-18 year olds cite they would like to pursue a career in the creative industries
  • 62% of UK students feel they have not been made aware of a future within the creative industries by teachers or career advisors
  • 47% pressured to select a career path to please parents

With the UCAS deadline looming, new research exploring the future of the creative industries, from leading VFX academy Escape Studios, highlights how students are turning their back on traditional careers and their parents’ wishes in favour of the burgeoning creative industries.

Half (49%) of the future workforce have a strong desire to join the UK’s fastest growing industry, now worth a massive £91.8bn GVA to the UK economy1– more than the automotive, life sciences, aerospace and oil and gas sectors combined. Despite this, our research shows that a quarter (24%) of parents / guardians would actively prevent their child pursuing a career here, and 60% of students weren’t offered it as a legitimate option by career advisors.

Creativity vs. main stream education
In spite of the tenacity of the future workforce, our research shows that support is lacking within the classroom. According to our survey, 52% of students surveyed, aged 16-18 years old, weren’t made aware of career options within the creative industries by teachers or career advisors. An endemic issue, research indicates this has affected other age groups too, with 67% of 19 and 25 year olds agreeing they also didn’t receive adequate careers advice, education about this sector. Moreover, 68% said they didn’t feel they had a good understanding of the careers available within the creative industries.

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The lack of advice and support offered in schools means that 65% of 16-18 year olds haven’t considered taking qualifications in the creative industries. The good news however is that 70% of the same age group cite they would like to pursue a career in the creative industries, once leaving education for good.

Escape Studios current student Shanae Bedford comments; “Whilst deciding to study animation and visual effects there was a feeling of uncertainty in making this choice. During secondary school, I alongside a number of my peers felt unconfident to undertake courses in the creative industries as these were not deemed a ‘traditional route’ by teachers and career advisors. At school there was a lack of information about employability in the creative industry, leaving students vulnerable and lost when choosing their options.”

Parental pressure
Alongside a lack of support at school, we are also seeing some uncertainly in the home. So, what’s causing this parental strife? Research reveals that a quarter of parents worry that careers in the creative world lack longevity, whilst 37% believe it to be too competitive and 21% view it as underpaid.

Whilst half of students (47%) feel pressure to select a ‘traditional’ career, it seems they’re sticking to their guns, with interest in mainstream vocations taking a backseat. Instead, the next generation is beginning to choose creativity over healthcare (17%), education (15%), science and agriculture (14%), accountancy, banking and finance (13%) and business consultancy and management (10%).

The future is creative
Between 2010 and 2016, the creative industry grew by 44.8% and so it is unsurprising that student interest and the desire to know more about these industries has increased too. Cutting-edge courses taking centre stage for students include game design (37%), visual effects (VFX) (33%), game art (23%), coding and animation (21%) and motion graphics (20%).

Whilst both sexes are keen to showcase their creative juices in the industry (males 56%, females 44%), it seems that gaming is still a male-dominated arena. Almost twice as many male students (50%) would consider a career in game design, compared to just 27% of females. This disparity is supported by trends identified by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), which finds only 23% of the wider games industry contains women2.

Dr Ian Palmer, Director of Escape Studios comments; “The spotlight is definitely shining on the creative industries, with innovation fuelling this sector forwards and new jobs being created every year. We’re thrilled to see that such a high percentage of UK students are showing an interest. However, it’s concerning to learn the workforce of the future feels they are lacking the right kind of support while in secondary education and at home. At Escape Studios, we are keen to create an environment where new talent can thrive and look to us for guidance. If we are to support continuing success of the UK creative industries we need to take a bottom up approach to nurture future talent. Creating an environment to inform students and their parents of career opportunities in the creative sector and provide more support for careers advisors.”

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