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Posted on 21st march 2018 by THE ERIC TEAM

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Perhaps it comes down to the argument on whether ‘creativity’ can ever really be taught to us, or is it just the conventionally unconventional career paths a lot of creatives seem to embark upon that makes the recipe of success in the creative fields a little challenging to follow? Are these reasons why traditional degrees may not be the solution? I could sit here and spit out rhetoricals all day, but maybe it would be a better use of my time if I give you some reasons why the standard education route may be more suited to plan ‘B’ and not ‘A’:

  • Work experience in some instances can mean more than the degree - at least it did in my own experience. Take it like this, I did a degree in Environmental Geoscience and now work in the broadcasting/music industry. Why the career change? That’s a story for another time. Point being, although my degree was ‘nice to see on the CV’, it wasn’t what got me the job. Contacts and skills I picked up during work experience placements at record labels, radio stations and editorial companies were far more valuable. You can see that my degree doesn’t even seem relevant to music! It was my interest in music shown directly through actively seeking out work experiences which served me well, showing employees I had the passion for the music industry. Bottom line, the creative industries love to see the ‘go-doers’. You may have all the passion and knowledge in the world for spoken word but if you’ve never attended a writing session or open mic night, you seem just as interested in the art as your dog does. See my point?

  • E.T. phone home - Briefly mentioned above, contacts mean a lot in this industry. I’m not trying to say you can land that creative assistant job with Saatchi & Saatchi so long as you know the creative director, despite having the number of brain cells equivalent to a plank of wood. But it cannot be denied that a good bit of advice or word put in from the right person may just make that job search that little bit easier - more than anything, they can tell you when they have a job opening before it’s gone online!

  • What is your dream creative job exactly - if you have a really niche job of your dreams, maybe a degree in that area isn’t available. It may be best instead to learn from someone already in the field through hands-on experience. Paid work experience, internships and apprenticeships are all great ways to learn more artisanal skills - if you’d like to be a potter, leather-worker or a silversmith, learning on the job is obviously much better than learning the theory in a uni lecture hall.

  • Degrees don’t guarantee a job - it’s right to think that a degree will never be a bad thing under your belt, but it’s wrong to assume that gaining a degree will automatically guarantee you success in the job market. Degree specificity is thrown out the window when it comes to the real world of employment - in other words just because you have a ‘creative degree’ will not mean you’re guaranteed a creative career. As I walked into my first job in a media agency, I soon found out that my colleagues had a plethora of degrees from different areas between them, where I would’ve assumed they all had some variations on media and marketing. It could be argued on the flipside that work experience doesn't guarantee a job either, although I personally believe you have a better chance of landing on a job after 3 years of testing the waters in a few creative avenues and meeting lots of people in the industry. But that’s personal preference, really.

Whether you’re on team degree or team non-degree, this comes second to the perseverance and resilience needed in gaining any job in reality. And I think we can all agree on one thing - if you want to be a doctor, engineer, lawyer or anything along those lines, ignore this article and get a degree. Unless you’ve studied to be a surgeon, you aren’t coming anywhere near me with a scalpel.

Written by Natasha Moore

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