Each week, we’re speaing to different companies about their work with marginalised communities. This week, Outreach Officer, Lauryn speaks to Fraser Hutchinson, Creative Access’ Head of Partnerships, about staying optimistic whilst looking for work in the arts and setting yourself apart in the recruitment process.

Hello! Who are Creative Access and what is it you do for them?

F: Creative Access is a not-for-profit social enterprise working to support talented people from groups that are under-represented in terms of ethnicity, socio-economic background and disability, or facing significant barriers to employment, to not just enter the creative industries, but to thrive when they get in. In my role as Head of Partnerships I work to widen the reach and impact of Creative Access by bringing in new employer partners and developing and deepening existing partnerships.

Creative Access aims to diversify the creative industries with their unique approach to recruitment. Why does the company believe this is so imperative to achieve diverse workplaces in the arts?

F: Our vision is to see a day when the UK’s creative industries truly reflect our society. By their nature, the creative industries should speak to the society they represent. But it also makes business sense and affects the bottom line – there are many reports out there that show the more diverse an organisation is the more profitable it becomes. However, it’s important to say it’s not a check-box exercise – it’s not just about recruitment. We take a wholehearted approach that covers recruitment, candidate support, and employer training. We want our partners’ diversity and inclusion policies and strategies to be as holistic and integral as possible – it should be more than just words!

What would be your advice for young people trying to stay optimistic whilst looking for work in the creative industries right now?

F: The creative industries are slowly bouncing back after a really hard year – the number of job listings and Positive Action recruitment on our site is increasing every month, and that feels heartening after a long, hard time for the creative industries and for job-seekers. We would love to support young people as they look for work. There’s a good section on our site here – which shows how we might be able to help – we run CV consultations, and application assistance, as well as industries masterclasses, and lots more. Stay in touch, we would love to help!

It’s taken me years to see my racial identity and experiences as an advantage in the creative industries. In your experience working for Creative Access, is now a good time to be a young POC, LGBTQ+ person, or disabled individual in the arts?

F: Employer partners are definitely starting to look at the make-up of their workforce and are (sometimes slowly) putting diversity strategies into place, creating more opportunities for under-represented communities – we do have a long way to go though! Your identity and experiences will always be able to set you apart in terms of just how you portray yourself in your job application, e.g. “as a black woman in Wembley I have been involved in XYZ which affords me an excellent understanding of XYZ etc.” You can bring in your own skills and experience and background, e.g. “as a disabled man I understand the challenges of XYZ, and I feel passionate to…” Use your covering letter to show why you have an advantage over the next candidate!

Thanks, Fraser! Lastly, what’s your fave thing about your job?

F: I love the variety in what I do. Because Creative Access works across the whole of the creative industries (or creative economies more broadly) it means we really do work across all areas of the creative economies, including journalism, publishing, film, tv, government, media-buying, galleries, museums, and everything in between. That breadth of knowledge and breadth of work allows us to have a real 360 view of what works and allows us to continue to embed best practice and understandings across all our employer partners. But it also means that the more partners we work with, the more young people from under-represented backgrounds we can support to get into work (and thrive when they get there), and that means a huge deal to me.

Stay tuned every Tuesday and Thursday for more resources and help!