Time to champion creative skills
Higher Education

Once again, this summer’s exam results revealed a drop in the number of young people studying arts and design subjects at GCSE and A-level.  

As a creative agency, this makes our hearts sink. Our sadness is only slightly tempered by the corresponding increase in interest in A-level business studies. 

What does this mean for the future of marketing and advertising, not to mention the rest of the UK’s booming creative industries?

In a wider business context, this trend runs counter to insight from the World Economic Foundation and Universities UK that creativity and innovation will be core skills needed for work in an AI powered future 

Creativity and innovation can, of course, be applied in any role – you don’t need to be a designer. But art and design courses provide a vital space to learn how to think visually, spatially and creatively. Surely, we should be encouraging more young people to take these subjects alongside academic studies? 


What do young people think about all this?  

We’re lucky enough to work with Ravensbourne University London one of the UK’s most dynamic new universities, dedicated to delivering industry-ready talent to the creative and digital industries. 

Just ahead of the August exam results we collaborated with market research specialists 3Gem on a survey of young people across the UK, asking about their interest in creative careers. 

The good news is that 75 per cent of 18-25 year olds are interested in creative jobs, with one in five expressing an interest advertising and marketing careers in particular. TV and film (33 per cent), Design (28 percent), Fashion (25 per cent), Music (23 per cent) and Games (22 per cent) were also popular choices for respondents. 

The problem is that many don’t know where to start. Only a quarter have ever been given the career guidance they need at school, college or university. Many are unaware of essential new digital roles that are becoming available, such as UX designer or VFX editor.  

The insight struck a chord with the creative media; reported in Design Week, Broadcast, Televisual, The Drum, Decision Marketing, Attire Accesories and Arts Professional. We were thrilled that Design Week took the cause further and asked the industry for their views earlier this month. Their responses make for a heartening read 

As Andy Cook, VC of Ravensbourne has previously written “Creative degrees can deliver skills and employment… it’s time that creative skills are better championed.” 


To find out more about Speed’s work in HE and creative industries, please contact:  

Chris Baker, Senior Account Director