Creative Education and Employment

On Tuesday, the BBC reported results of their recent survey, which suggested that creative subjects are being squeezed in secondary schools, with many reducing timetabled lessons, facilities and their number of specialist staff. Jez Bennett, a local Head Teacher interviewed for the article, talked openly about having to cut lessons for financial reasons and was aware of some schools no longer offering GCSEs in arts subjects including art, drama and music. The full article can be read here.

Jez Bennett went on to say that “these subjects taught a wide range of skills much in demand from employers, particularly collaboration, creativity, self-expression and control”. It should also not be over looked that arts subjects allow students to flourish when they may struggle in more traditional academic subjects. Another concern is that many people who would thrive in the booming creative industry, would not have a pathway available to make those important career decisions.

As a business that relies on the individual and collective creativity of its team, the idea that future emc design employees will have less creative training is a concern. A current University graduate could have as many as 8 years of creative education, consisting of 2 years at GCSE level, 2 years at A Level, a 1-year foundation course and a 3-year undergraduate course. In contrast, students not offered GCSEs in the arts could see this reduced to as little as 3 or 4 years, assuming that schools unable to fund GCSE arts will also not be unable to fund A Level arts. This may result in new graduates only having started their creative education at foundation or even undergraduate level.

John Kampfner, from the Creative Industries Federation tells the BBC “that some schools were reporting that art subjects were now seen as softer options.” Going on to say that “there’s nothing soft about subjects that create the talent that creates the fastest growing sector of our economy.” On twitter, @Citypublishing got in touch with us to say that “with the rise of AI and robots we may actually need creativity and the arts more, not less, if we want to enable coming generations to have meaningful & satisfying jobs.” That sentiment was echoed last week at Bett 2018, where there was huge focus on the growing role of Virtual Reality and interactive and digital learning in the classroom. Something that will not be possible without nurturing future creative talents from an early age.

Here at emc, we have steadily grown over the last 27 years and now have over 30 employees, supporting John Kampfner’s comments that creative industries continue to grow our economy. Of our team, 93% hold a GCSE in a creative subject and 87% have gone on to earn a degree in a creative subject, which goes to support our belief that jobs are available for those willing to study the less traditional, more creative subjects.

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