Deputy PM Nick Clegg pledges to tackle "big problem" creative industry class barriers
A campaign has been launched by the UK government in conjunction with the creative industries to open up access to jobs in the creative industries for people from less privileged backgrounds.
The Opening Doors campaign has Channel 4 and Random House on board, which have both hosted careers events for people across the country, and Dragon's Den judge James Caan joined deputy prime minister Nick Clegg to launch the drive on Wednesday.
New YouGov research revealed young people from less privileged backgrounds struggle significantly more to break into their chosen industry than those from higher social grades. A third of young people in the 16-25 age group from higher classes are already working in their chosen industry, compared to just five per cent from less privileged backgrounds.
Drive: Deputy PM Nick Clegg said Britain has a "big problem"
Deputy PM Nick Clegg said: "We have a big problem in this country. Every year employers are closing their doors to talented young people. This is a terrible waste of talent and potential that could be otherwise boosting our economy and driving growth in our business.
"In good time this would be tragic. In tough economic times, it is unforgivable. Today I'm on a mission to ask companies, large and small, to open their doors to the incredible talent out there and sign up to our campaign."
Earlier in the year Creative Skillset launched a Higher Level Apprenticeship in advertising and communications to offer young people a way into the advertising industry, a move welcomed by agencies trying to improve diversity within the industry.
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Last week, the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) announced a pilot scheme for a newly developed Advanced Apprenticeship in Journalism, in partnership with the London Evening Standard, The Independent, i, Independent on Sunday, BBC Radio and Lambeth College.
Chief executive of the NCTJ, Joanne Butcher, said: "The apprenticeship scheme provides an alternative route into journalism for those who want to benefit from learning while they work. We hope this initiative will be another way of improving diversity, making journalism accessible by supporting people who prefer to earn while they learn."
A recent report from the NCTJ highlighted lingering problems within the UK journalism industry around ethnic and class diversity.
UK and Ireland CEO of recruitment and employment specialists Adecco, Peter Searle, said businesses need to change their approach to the job market to tackle diversity barriers.
"Businesses need to change their recruitment practices to reflect the social diversity of the UK today," he said. "A key issue facing all businesses is the rise of the 'lost workforce' - a generation of young people who sit on the periphery of employability.
"At Adecco, we work closely with our clients to help them understand what the barriers to entry are for this passionate and aspirational generation. Without action, many organisations will lose the opportunity to access this future talent pool."
The Opening Doors campaign has signed up 150 companies so far with a commitment to offer fair and open access to jobs regardless of background, 57 per cent of which have increased contact with disadvantaged schools since joining up.