How can we create better employment pathways for young producers? Why should the cultural sector be investing in young, diverse producing talent to ensure long-term sustainability?

On Wednesday 4th November, Poet in the City brought together a network of organisations from across the UK creative industries to respond to issues being faced by producer training programmes including lack of sustainable pathways into employment and leadership roles for young people, challenges faced by institutions in recruitment of young producers, and ensuring young people and those from already underrepresented backgrounds don’t fall through the gaps as we move forward through this current employment crisis together as a sector. 

We were joined by over 40 organisations and colleagues from across the sector including Emergency Exit Arts, Beatfreeks, Arts Council England, Contact Manchester, Regent's Place, Wellcome Collection, You Produce, Sound Connections, Big People Music, Trigger Stuff, British Library, Roundhouse, National Theatre, London Transport Museum, Westminster Abbey, and StanZa Poetry Festival.

We discussed the significant issues experienced by young and early-career producers, as well as the challenges faced by arts organisations surrounding training and recruitment, collectively exploring solutions and tangible actions to take forward to create positive change in these areas. 

Core issues outlined: Awareness raising and signposting to opportunities - no shared understanding or consistent definition of 'producer' across the industry resulting in lack of awareness of producing roles outside of the creative industries; restrictions around funding; issues around recruitment; lack of diversity within the sector, especially in leadership roles creating cycle where young people don't feel welcome to pursue careers beyond training schemes; responding to needs of different age-groups at different career stages, 16-25 age bracket can be a barrier.

Our key aims for the taskforce are:

  1. Connect across sector and build a network to share advice and establish best practices.
  2. Partner and develop projects nationally.
  3. Evidence the issues faced by training programmes and disconnect between talent development and direct employment into the sector. Change this.
  4. Change the way organisations and institutions hire young producers and build connections to create better opportunities. 

We're looking forward to working together with our partners nationally and cross-sector to develop and create opportunities and sustainable career pathways for young producers in the arts.

If you are interested in joining the taskforce or just want to find out more email Catherine Nicholson on [email protected]