These tips were provided by Tom Wilcox, founder of Counterculture Partners, a company that helps cultural, creative and third sector organisations to plan, manage and thrive. They provide practical help through strategy, finance and specialist consultancy services.
Opportunities in the creative sector are broad but it's a very competitive market. These top tips will help you develop the skills and attitude necessary to break into, and succeed within, the creative sector.
1. Try and get relevant practical experience in the field you are interested in by doing work experience or an internship. The more experience you build up the better, and employers are more likely to take you seriously
2. Think about other skills that you can bring to the table that are invaluable to the arts. You may wish to consider, for example, the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) qualification which offers foundations in accounting and bookkeeping.
3. Training budgets are very low in the arts sector. If you can get training from a major employer early in your career take the opportunity while you can. Some people get stuck in lower-level jobs in the creative industries and can’t progress because of lack of professional qualifications and training.
4. Make sure you are aware of what’s going on in the sector. Visit theatres, galleries or other arts organisations regularly, and read industry magazines such as Art Monthly or The Stage, depending on what art form(s) you want to work in
5. Don’t give up at the first hurdle. The arts sector is highly competitive and perseverance is essential in order to get your foot in the door
6. Invest in your own CPD (Continuing Professional Development). Once you break into the sector, always invest in new training and skills in order to keep yourself ahead of the game. Don’t underestimate the importance of keeping your knowledge up-to-date
7. Be open minded and understand and appreciate the artistic and social value of those that work within the creative sector
8. Build up contacts within the arts sector; don’t be afraid of introducing yourself at artist events, exhibitions or talks. Sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know