Creative industries toolkit

For employers

Creative industries


Maximise engagement with a wide range of prospective applicants.

Are you reaching the widest possible pool of talent? You could look to explore partnerships with Further Education colleges or target geographic ‘coldspots’. Watch the video for more top tips or read our full guidance below.


Recommendations for developing a socio-economic strategy. Activities at each level are related, but distinguished by scale, detail or commitment.

Commit to broadening your recruitment pool by reaching out to education providers (e.g. FE colleges and schools) as well via non-school routes such as community and arts-based organisations for all ages.

Deepen as well as widen your talent pool. It’s important to stay in touch with applicants throughout the process – under-represented groups may need more support, as they are taking a bigger risk. Once they have taken the step to engage with you, its important you actively maintain that contact.

Connect with social mobility charities who can help you design, deliver and evaluate your outreach work.

Take advantage of the many existing mechanisms for outreach to schools – don’t re-invent the wheel.

Join efforts with other creative organisations and local networks aiming to achieve the same objectives.

Develop a clear overarching strategy for outreach work, and if applicable, with your partnering organisation involving:

  • a strategic plan setting out clear and measurable targets that benefit the target audience
  • activity focused on achieving specific outcomes for pupils (e.g. awareness of certain roles/professions, presentation, teamwork and problem-solving skills)

Maximise the opportunity of any activities (eg cultural) that you’re running with disadvantaged groups or in coldspot areas by thinking of participants as potential future staff – and treat them as such


Recommendations for optimising your approach. Activities at each level are related, but distinguished by scale, detail or commitment.

Target activities at people of all ages, based on their talent and potential, regardless of background.

Focus on social mobility ‘coldspots’ (areas of low social mobility) whenever possible (deprived areas, of traditionally low social mobility).

Involve ALL employees, in the design and implementation of the outreach programme. By matching your staff to participants, they can offer support to help them continue to access your talent recruitment process.

Ensure success measures are overseen and owned by senior colleagues.


Deliver complementary activities such as mentoring, artist-led workshops and work experience together, rather than separately.

Draw on teachers’ views of what will benefit pupils most through surveys, questionnaires and career fairs.

Explain to outreach participants how they can enter your organisation and manage their expectations about what is required.

Seek to develop sustained relationships with activity participants.

Ensure all work experience opportunities include a diverse range of applicants who are properly remunerated for their work.

Ensure these opportunities are widely advertised, endorsed by your outreach partners and paid at least the Living Wage.


Develop guidance (e.g. case studies) that wider influencers can draw on, including teachers and parents.

Deliver activities in collaboration with other employers and the Further Education/ Higher Education sectors.

Include a plan for digital activities, to promote engagement and build a talent pool engaged with your business. Factor for those facing digital exclusion.

Provide specific opportunities for participants to maintain engagement:

  • a pipeline of activities, communications and learning
  • genuine pathways into your organisation

Analyse data to examine how participation converts to appointment, and how this varies between groups.

Ringfence internships for applicants from under-represented groups, including those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.


Use your strategic plan to identify key impact metrics and measure against these (use our scorecard for ideas).

Collect data on participant’s characteristics, to assess whether you have successfully engaged with the diverse range of participants you were looking to target.

Gather feedback from participants to understand:

  • whether they feel they have benefited from outreach
  • if they would recommend it to peers
  • how activities can be improved
  • whether they felt included as part of the organisation

Provide feedback to participants on how they performed and advice on potential next steps in their career.


Use your strategic plan to assess the impact of activities against outcomes at all stages of the process.

Track participants to understand how engagement with your organisation has affected outcomes. And whether they progress into roles within your organisation or sector.

Share lessons from your outreach work with other creative organisations and the wider sector.

“Coming from a lower socio-economic background, I know how hard it has been to see myself in the visual arts sector especially when career routes are opaque or invisible. If Rochdale Art College had not reached out to my school I may be in a completely different place now. I encourage employers to use the toolkit, especially the Outreach section to move beyond ‘who do we know’ and you will be surprised at who is interested in your organisation and the benefits this can bring to your business.”
Julie Lomax, CEO a-n The Artists Information Company