A new scheme offering bursary support of £1,200 each for individuals who are currently underrepresented in the creative sector has been launched in a bid to rebalance its workforce.
Launched by Creative Skillset, the Diversity Fund (England) will offer up to 900 of such bursaries to people who are female, Black Asian and non-white Minority Ethnic (BAME) or disabled.
As long as they have one year’s experience in a creative field, the fund will pay for up to 80% of the costs of their training or professional development, so their careers can go up a level.
The fields on offer, and where short courses are available, include advertising and marketing, publishing, photo imaging, games, fashion and textiles, VFX, radio, animation and TV/Film.
Across the creative industry - populated by these sectors - a gender imbalance persists while representation of BAME people is as low as 5.4%. It is under 1 % for people with disabilities.
As a result of the latter group being the most underrepresented, they will be offered the largest bursary – up to £1,600 per individual.
Gary Townsend, executive director of operations at Creative Skillset, reflected: “We are absolutely committed to breaking down barriers to enable talented people, wherever they are from and whatever their background or circumstances, to progress in their chosen field.
“Through this new targeted investment for individuals, we can now open doors to more people than ever before to help grow and support creative skills, talent and businesses.”
But the group cautions that up-skilling individuals who are under-represented is still “just one element” of the challenge that faces the creative industry in diversifying its workforce.
Recruitment and workplace practices still need to be made more inclusive, for example, and up-skilling should be continuous, if diversity is to take hold among the industry’s top brass.
Creative Skillset added that applications for the bursaries can be made online until February 2015, with qualifying people invited to contact the group for help in making their application.