While the employment industry has been plagued with tales of closures, job losses and sudden unemployment, a report by the financial times has suggested that the creative sector has experienced a period of significant growth; in 2012, creative industries accounted for 5.6% of the total number of jobs in the UK. This is obviously excellent news for anyone who would rather chew off their own limbs than spend their working life chained to a desk – until recently, the idea of a ‘stable’ job was anything based in an office environment, but the recent acceleration in the culture, media and sport sectors has made a creative life seem more possible. In celebration of these results, we’ve compiled a list of three interesting and exciting jobs, with top tips on how to get them.
A retail based position, the role of visual merchandiser is to plan and execute in-store and window based displays, and to show the product in the best light possible. Often, props and lighting need to be considered and sourced, and the work has to be completed within a fairly tight timeframe; displays are frequently based around store promotions, worldwide events or a given theme.
As well as being naturally creative, a visual merchandiser should possess any number of the following skills:
- The ability to understand elements of design and have a good idea for colour.
- The ability to think ‘outside the box’ to create eye-catching and thought-provoking displays.
- An interest in, or have a qualification covering art and design.
- A willingness to travel and work in various locations.
- Have excellent communication skills.
- Be aware of current trends within fashion, design and culture.
There are often no formal qualifications required when applying for a role as a visual merchandiser, but relevant courses include anything in art, design, fashion or retail, and an employer will look favourably on anyone who has completed one. Retail experience is usually considered fairly important, and a lot of people start by simply assisting with in-store displays while working in other positions.
Useful websites include:
Museum or Gallery Curator
While organising displays is also a key part of the role of museum or gallery curator, there’s so much more to this incredible job. Combining history with modernity, a curator works with artifacts and works of art to educate the public and preserve wonderful pieces for the future; while the role may vary due to the size of the organisation, many duties remain the same. People hoping to work in this field should be able to tick several skill boxes:
- Research and communication skills.
- Accuracy and attention to detail.
- An interest and extensive knowledge of one specific subject area.
- Creative vision and an understanding of design.
- Political awareness, and a basic historical knowledge.
- The willingness to travel, and a flexible attitude to working hours.
Unlike the job of visual merchandiser, a museum or gallery curator should possess any number of very specific qualifications. A good honours degree in the specific area of interest is an absolute minimum, and usually a postgraduate qualification is also required; work experience and voluntary roles in the same field also count for a lot, so even if it’s unpaid, it could help you get a foot in the door.
Useful websites include:
Possibly the most creative of all, the role of craftsperson is to work to produce items of use or artistic value in their chosen medium; often their skills are also utilised in the repairing of old or antique items in the same field. There are several different areas to work in; fibre and textiles, glass, leather, metal, ceramics and wood, but the entry requirements and personal skills are largely the same:
- Artistic design skills, from crochet and knitting to weaving, carpentry and metalwork.
- A good sense of colour and aesthetic value.
- A sense of organisation and motivation.
- An interest in the history of design, and traditional skills.
- If you’re planning on becoming self-employed, a basic knowledge of business and finance practices.
While the role of craftsperson can be largely self-taught when it comes to practical skills, a degree in art and design, fashion or textiles can be useful, as can independent training programmes in various subjects. Often, working as an apprentice for an existing designer, or undertaking voluntary work in a studio or workshop can help you to build up the experience and knowledge you require to become a great craftsperson.
For more information, look at the following websites:
- The Institute of Carpenters
- City and Guilds Training – Various Subjects
- The Knitting and Crochet Guild
- The Guild of Metalsmiths