Creative Access was established in 2011 with the ambition of finding opportunities for young people from BAME backgrounds to access paid internships in the creative industries. Digital Theatre is one of their media partners and last month we welcomed our first intern. Marissa Anthony, now four weeks in, reflects on her experience.
Since graduating from Sir George Monoux College in 2013 where I studied English Language & Literature, Film Studies, and Communication and Culture, I have wanted to work in the creative sector. Whether it be writing blogs from time to time or creating content for a company website or social media, being able to think creatively and put that into my work has always been important to me.
I have had many different jobs including customer services and various admin-based roles and even assisting with events, and through these different roles I’ve experienced many things. My first role as a Customer Services Assistant taught me patience and how to deal with difficult situations in the workplace; it was there that I learnt that I was suited to a more creative environment. That was two years ago now and it’s only in the past year that I have felt like I’m on the right path… through my work I have found a cause that I’m passionate about which is employment for young people, especially those who have decided that University wasn’t a viable progression for them.
Prior to becoming the Business Development Trainee at Digital Theatre Plus, I worked in Business Development/Administration for Cockpit Arts; an arts charity that focused on small businesses and self employed individuals in contemporary craft. Working with people whose self expression is essentially their livelihood inspired me to be more open with my own self expression. It also taught me vital lessons in independence and how to have the confidence to develop an idea into a viable business. Many of the businesses I worked with were doing it all by themselves; from the social media and marketing to the day-to-day running of an organisation. It was there that I saw the dedication required to make something out of nothing and make it successful.
I first heard about Creative Access through a colleague at Cockpit Arts who previously worked at the Roundhouse. Creative Access works specifically with young people from BAME backgrounds to find them placements in the creative industries. The amazing thing about this is that a lot of these placements wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for Creative Access. I had a look at the website and I wasn’t disappointed. Suddenly a lot of opportunities I had dreamt about were now within reach, however it wasn’t until a month after my previous job came to an end that I saw the opportunity for a Business Development Intern at Digital Theatre Plus. The job description was clear and I was confident that I had what it took to succeed if given the opportunity.
Working with Creative Access and Digital Theatre Plus I feel a healthy mix of support and independence that makes me excited for each challenge. As part of my training I have a line manager who is responsible for my daily tasks and a mentor at Digital Theatre Plus whom I can go to for advice and work with on more long term professional development exercises, including developing a successful marketing project. Creative Access have also been very supportive from the initial application stage through to present.
As if that wasn’t enough, I am also in contact with fellow interns who work at different media companies all over the country. For me, the main benefit of this is being able to talk to other interns in a similar situation to me. They are supportive and can understand some of the challenges I may be facing, including dealing with the responsibilities of a new job. I particularly value the way in which we're able to give each other advice in certain situations; sometimes advice is better coming from someone in a similar situation to you.
Creative Access Masterclasses are a monthly occurrence where we are treated to talks and workshops with industry experts from some of the media companies that work with Creative Access, they often address a lot of the issues we (the interns) face as BAME individuals in an industry that is only just now becoming more diverse. Each month there’s something new to look forward to as well as a chance to meet up with fellow interns. Previous classes have been held at Google and HarperCollins and the next one (which I’m very excited about) will be held at the House of Commons and will focus on politics and the media. These classes serve to broaden horizons and inspire new ways of thinking, something of which you can never have too much.
If you were to ask me where I see myself in five years' time I’d tell you that I’m not entirely sure, however, I do feel a lot closer to getting there than I did this time a year ago. Ultimately my ambition is to work in Business Development, specifically with small businesses. I would also like to do more about getting young people into employment in the creative industries, which is something that is already within reach as I’m working with Creative & Cultural Skills to become a member of an advisory board for apprenticeships and internships.