Heritage Crafts’ Jay Blades launches Discover Creative Careers

14th February 2023  |  ANNOUNCEMENTS

Discover Creative CareersHeritage Crafts is partnering with ScreenSkills and over 20 other partners on Discover Creative Careers, which has been awarded over £1 million from the Department for Culture, Media & Sport to inspire young people from 77 target areas across England to pursue a career in the creative industries.

Discover Creative Careers is an industry-led programme that is working to ensure there is a larger and more diverse intake of talent via a broader range of routes into the creative industries. Launched in 2018, it aims to ensure skills shortages and gaps are filled by a skilled workforce from all backgrounds and parts of the country. Since the initial pilot programme launched with £2 million seed funding from Government, Discover Creative Careers has reached over 120,000 young people and, via continued additional support from Arts Council England, has successfully shifted to a hybrid delivery model.

Heritage Crafts Co-Chair Jay Blades MBE launched the programme at an event held at Derby Museum of Making on Wednesday 8 February. Jay’s passion for helping young people break into the creative industries stems from his own personal experience of growing up in poverty and overcoming many barriers throughout his life, before establishing a hugely successful career in furniture restoration.

The creative industries are collectively worth around £116 billion to the UK economy and account for 2.3 million jobs. The investment from DCMS will enable long-term and targeted engagement between industry, educators, and careers professionals, creating an industry-led and sustainable talent development pipeline across all sub-sectors.

Alongside a year-round online programme that’s open to all, Discover will deliver focussed engagement opportunities for young people aged 11 to 18 and the people that inform their career choices, across 77 priority areas across the country, based on the Department for Education’s Opportunity Areas and Arts Council England’s Levelling Up for Culture Priority Places.

Programme activities will include regular online career insight events featuring top names from across the creative industries, termly lesson plans and film resources for teachers made in collaboration with industry. It will also provide training for careers advisers, support employers to create their own opportunities and boost the Discover Creative Careers website which features a careers finder and central hub of information for students, parents, carers, educators and careers professionals (the single largest of its kind in the UK).

The new stage of the programme will also see the return of its flagship event, Discover Creative Careers Week from 13 to 17 November 2023. Discover Week is a call to arms for the creative industries to open their doors, physically and online, to introduce students from all backgrounds to the various job roles that exist. Businesses will be encouraged to invite students from local secondary schools to meet their employees and enjoy interactive careers workshops, tours, talks, challenges and other hands-on experiences.

Jay Blades MBE said:

“I believe that it’s important to create opportunities for everyone, from every background to ensure a brighter future for all. It’s all about passion and a willingness to learn. If you have those two things, you’ll be golden.”