Lauren Creed is the Senior Learning Manager, BBC Proms, London Orchestras & Choirs and BBC Ten Pieces (job-share)
It’s been an incredibly tough year for young people, with the constant changes, home schooling and cancelled exams – the here and now is uncertain enough, never mind the future. That’s why last week’s National Careers Week felt like an important moment for us, as an East Bank partner, to celebrate what rich potential there is amongst young people in East London and provide a space for them to be optimistic and curious about their futures.
Our East Bank education projects and involvement in East Careers Week is all part of the BBC’s commitment to continuing the legacy of its Maida Vale music studios for a new generation with a move to Stratford’s East Bank. Our first East Careers Week (1-5 March) – a free programme open to schools and individuals aged 15-18 years-old – aimed to offer insights and experiences into a range of exciting creative, digital and STEAM careers. Across an online programme of 16 workshops and webinars from 10 organisations, young people were invited to explore careers across a whole host of sectors including construction, fashion, broadcasting and engineering.
As East Bank partners, alongside our East Bank partners UCL, UAL's London College of Fashion, V&A and Sadler's Wells, we were especially keen to showcase the diverse range of skills and careers that make up our industries and inspire young people to explore the many different pathways open to them. At the BBC we know that to make great content for our audiences, it takes fantastically diverse teams comprising all sorts of different skills, experiences and interests. East Careers Week was a great opportunity for us to showcase how that richness is evident even in the making of just one programme: the BBC Introducing London radio show.
BBC Introducing supports emerging artists across the UK and showcases their music across over 40 BBC radio shows, BBC Sounds mixes and live at music festivals. Presenter Jess Iszatt and Team Assistants Hana Staddon and Katy Hills, from the Introducing London show, hosted a webinar exploring all the elements that go into making the show and we discovered that there’s much more to it than sitting in a studio recording the live show! The team attend gigs to discover and meet new talent; build relationships with the local music community like youth organisations and venues; provide support and guidance for artists; listen to lots of music from the Introducing Uploader to create features and mixes; and manage lots of administration and compliance to ensure everything runs smoothly. It was clear from their webinar that to enjoy and excel in their careers, having enthusiasm for the industry, good organisational skills and being able to work well in a team are vital skills needed for their jobs. These are the kind of transferable skills that we know are valuable whatever job or sector young people want to explore. For this reason, BBC Bitesize careers site marked National Careers Week signposting a host of resources exploring ‘skills for work’, alongside resources exploring job roles, industries and tips and advice.
As part of the week’s programme, UCL’s Special Collections team were on hand with a ‘Speaking about your strengths’ session, to guide young people in identifying their strengths and talking about them in an industry-relevant way. Other East Bank partners looked even further into the future, at what skills and careers were emerging for young people to aspire to. One such session was UAL’s London College of Fashion ‘Future Careers in Fashion’, where a panel of experts from a range of sectors including journalism, design, manufacturing, retail and gaming talked about their journey into fashion and their projections for the diversity of jobs in the sector emerging for the next generation.
More than 700 students from east London schools took part in a range of online talks, webinars and workshops held during the five-day event. The feedback from students and their teachers has been very positive giving young people an insight into the career opportunities that exist in the creative industries.
East Careers Week was born out of last year’s consultation, led by the BBC and LLDC, with a fantastic network of partner schools from across Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Waltham Forest. The consultation provoked a number of interesting conversations around schools’ appetite for creative careers programme and, together with LLDC’s youth steering group consultation, has informed development of this week to best meet the needs of local young people and provide a pilot to develop in future This is just the beginning of a more collaborative way of working with schools to better support teachers embed high-quality careers provision and make the most of their proximity to an exciting new development of high-tech, creative and knowledge driven organisations on the Park.