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Craft Journeys: inside careers in craft

Our Craft Journeys profiles give practical advice about forging a career in the craft sector, from established professionals working in a wide range of roles and disciplines

Craft generates £3.4 billion for the UK economy each year, with the contribution of the wider creative industries now growing at twice the rate of the UK economy. In 2017, Nesta published The Future of Skills: Employment in 2030, which found that current occupations predicted to decline due to automation could instead adapt and grow if new skills, particularly those associated with creativity, were combined with existing skill sets.[1]

Despite evidence that job opportunities in the craft sector will continue to grow, the schools we work with tell us that students and their parents often worry that pursuing creative subjects might not lead to a job. Challenging this misconception is a real challenge for the creative industries.

A first step for the Crafts Council is our Craft Journeys series: a set of career profiles exploring different routes into the craft sector. We wanted to highlight the diverse range of jobs in craft; from pattern cutter to studio ceramicist, jewellery designer to fashion historian. We also wanted to share practical information that would help young people choose the right pathway for them, whether that’s a University degree or an apprenticeship. Our new batch of profiles includes Fashion Historian Amber Butchart, ceramicist Sam Andrew, and rug maker Jacqueline James— you can download the full set in the sidebar on the right.

For Studio Potter Matthew Warner, an apprenticeship helped him to develop his career. ‘An apprenticeship will give you the opportunity to experience all aspects of working in craft, the good and the bad, and to discover if it really is the career you want, without making too much of a financial commitment.’

Pattern Cutter and Designer Maker Jasmine Carey talks about her education and career path, including a Fashion BTEC and Clothing HND. She says advises young people to ‘do your own research into the craft that you are interested in. If there is a craft that you think may be the career for you try some short courses to see if you enjoy it.’

A common thread running through all the Craft Journeys is the satisfaction and reward that a creative career can bring. Jewellery Designers Tatty Devine commented that ‘It’s a beautiful life being able to make a living out of something you love doing — there are never any ‘Monday mornings’ when you are doing something you love.’

If you're a teacher or careers adviser, or a young person interested in a career in crafts, we'd love to hear what more we can do to support you— email us here.

[1] https://www.nesta.org.uk/report/the-future-of-skills-employment-in-2030/

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