“Open your doors, you’ll learn so much from the young people you let in”
- Rem Conway, founder and director of Conway Academy and previous BBC Apprentice who spoke at the Discover! Creative Careers Week launch
In November 2019, over 500 employers from across the creative industries opened their doors and welcomed thousands of local students into their organisations to give them vital, hands-on experiences and insight across the various roles that exist within their workforce.
The week kicked off at a launch event at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery where over 100 local students attended a day of activities to meet the various museum departments, from restoration and archives to marketing and events. The Birmingham-born, Bafta award-winning writer and filmmaker Debbie Isitt shared some of her own career journey as part of the launch, telling us “you have to go and find and support people – go get them and do they fly? Yes they fly”.
Discover! events took place across every region of England, with young people having the opportunity to visit workplaces across all aspects of the creative industries, giving them a chance to find out about the huge variety of roles available and the routes into them. The week lifted the lid on so many potential career paths, inspiring the students to explore and pursue jobs that they hadn’t even heard of beforehand.
This is just a glimpse into what took place:
As part of the week, over 100 theatres welcomed students on backstage tours and workshops with various departments including technical, costume, stage management, creative learning, marketing and front-of-house. Theatres included the National Theatre in London, Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, Leeds Playhouse, Blackpool Grand, Cast in Doncaster, The Bristol Hippodrome and more.
In Newcastle, XSite Architecture ran a full day of activities in the Ouseburn Valley where they introduced architecture and demonstrated the design process in action. Following a tour in the morning, students discovered how their own school had been designed using tools such as digital surveys, interactive 3D computer modelling and design concept and process.
Students across England visited several National Trust properties to meet the various teams working across their heritage buildings, countryside sites and regional offices. Properties included the White Cliffs of Dover, Wentworth Castle and Gardens, Bodiam Castle and Goddards House and Garden, where students were introduced to various roles across conservation, estate management, marketing, events, IT and more.
At Leeds Museums the team ran three days of activities specifically designed for students with special educational needs. Through interactive workshops and career taster sessions, the students were introduced to all the job roles in the museum sector, from archaeologist to digital engagement officer.
“I liked the leather workshop as it was interesting to see how different leather products are made and the tools used", said a student at Cockpit Arts, where students met makers from across various disciplines including leathermakers, marblers and weavers, before taking part in hands-on workshops.
Studio visits, marketing and writing workshops and talks were among the range of activities on offer from across the film, TV, VFX, animation and games industries which introduced around 5,500 pupils to a diverse range of careers available.
One participant hailed the experience as “amazing” and said "having the chance to visit a massive TV production company is something I never thought I would get to do. I have really gained an insight into the industry".
Pupils developed ideas for a marketing campaign for the film Jumanji on a day with creative agency Feref, Sony and MPC. A visit to Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden included the Harry Potter studio tour, the production company Kudos arranged talks by creatives on some of its best-known shows and more events were offered by the BBC, Channel 4 and Sky.
In Manchester, pupils visited the set of Coronation Street and learned about screenwriting. In Leeds, pupils wrote their own scenes for Emmerdale which were then performed for the visitors by actors from the show.
Other companies taking part included Pinewood, Elstree and Three Mills Studios, Gaston’s Cave – creator of Peppa Pig, Blue Zoo, who are behind the upcoming TV adaptation of Paddington, Bankside Films, Lionsgate, Molinare TV & Film and Framestore. ScreenSkills also joined forces with Access: VFX at WorldSkills Live in Birmingham.
Games visits included to the National Videogame Museum in Sheffield and companies such as Konami, Ubisoft and SEGA. In London, students attended a full-day workshop with the Academy of International Extended Reality where they explored the potential of virtual and extended Reality (VR and XR) across all aspects of our lives. Watch their highlights film from the day here.
Make sure you watch the Discover! Creative Careers Week film to find out more about what took place and hear from some of the participants. If you’re interested in taking part in future Discover! events, sign up to the Creative Careers Programme newsletter.