Ep. 16 – Creative Skillset and Hiive

With Simon Barros of Hiive

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Whatever your position in the creative industries, all will agree that possessing up to date training and experience is vital, in order to keep developing one’s skills and talents. With creative industries spanning anything from Fashion and Textiles to Radio, or even Animation, knowing what training to undertake can be a minefield.

Trainers and educators themselves also require guidance on structuring, developing and advertising their courses and indeed to connect with those needing to be trained!

Creative Skillset is a UK wide strategic skills body working with the UK’s screen based creative industries to develop skills and talent from classroom through to boardroom. Today I’m joined by Simon Barros who is the coordinator at Hiive, which is a professional network for creative people set up by Creative Skillset.

Scott Ledbury: Thank you for joining me Simon. First things first, in a nutshell how does Creative Skillset help creative talent and businesses out there?

Simon Barros: Well, I suppose in a tweet you would say that ‘Creative Skillset is all about empowering the UK creative industries to ensure it remains competitive in a global market’ and it does so in various ways. Accreditation by Tick, we have another service called trainee finder, we also do careers in schools activities, we also distribute funding and finally we have Hiive which is our network for professional creatives.

SL: And you also help trainers and educators themselves too, don’t you?

SB: Yes we do. We have information and careers guidance on the website and on Hiive. For example for a young person looking for information you can check out the Creative Skillset website or you can also go on the Hiive website onto the ‘Job Roles’ section. How ever if you are a careers advisor and want to find information for your kids in school then go onto the Careers Swarm on Hiive which is Hiive.co.uk/careers and there’s a ton of resources on there all about schools and resources.

Simon Barros of Hiive

SL: So you’ve got a great encyclopedia for example of job roles on the website so it really is a wealth of information?

SB: 100%, although we are primarily focused on screen based industries but there are other sectors covered. Historically we did cover those sort of areas but there is loads of information and in-depth knowledge about what the job roles are but also further reading about how to get into that job role and this is mirrored on Hiive. The only difference on Hiive is that in the TV section you can input your skills. For example if you are organised or have a positive attitude it will actually bring up a set of job roles that are tailored to you. So that’s the difference between the two but they are both kind of mirrored.

SL: If you’re fresh out and starting your career and you’re not quite sure the next step to take you have resources on there, is that right?

SB: Yes, exactly that. I suppose its for anyone really if you’re just curious have a read but primarily its for people perhaps before they go the university route or the apprenticeship route or even start a job.

What are the sorts of roles are out there? I meet many people especially at careers like this when people are like ‘I want to be a film director, I want to be a film-maker’ and thats absolutely brilliant but there are so many other people doing the same things so perhaps finding those unorthodox routes to getting in is the way forward and on Creative Skillset and on Hiive the array of job roles are there and there are skills shortages. Stuff like accountants in TV, they’re really needed and no one ever mentions that so there are unorthodox routes of getting in and it’s all about thinking outside the box.

“Perhaps finding those unorthodox routes to getting in is the way forward and on Creative Skillset and on Hiive the array of job roles are there and there are skills shortages.”

SL: Training and support is one of the key strands of Creative Skillset so talk us through how the Tick accreditation works. Is that about courses meeting a certain criteria?

SB: There’s information out there that says when you come out of university you’re not quite work ready. So Tick ensures and it’s a stamp of approval from industries that that course will prepare you for the world of work. By doing that we get industry people who are specific to that area. For example if its a film directing course or film production course we will get film directors and producers to come down who are in the industry. They assess the syllabus, assess the learning plan, whether or not they get the tick is another thing, but that’s how it’s assessed. That improves it’s strength and it’s viability of what it is and there’s a stat that if you do a ticked course you are 3 times more likely to get a job within that creative area of study than you are with a none Tick course.

SL: So the core of it is that those courses have links to those industries and jobs rather than being these isolated courses that anyone can run, so Tick accreditation is key in that sense?

SB: People say ‘I’ve done a film-making course and 80% of it was theory based’ you have to have some kind of practical experience. So that’s what the Tick covers, making sure they are work ready when they come out of the course.

SL: Expand on the trainee finder scheme then Simon, so what’s all this about?

SB: Simply it’s a scheme where we get a database of emerging professionals from either TV or film and they’re on this database and we link them up with production companies and the companies can get a discount or an allowance when they get paid, a training allowance. It’s less strenuous on the production’s pocket and also a good chance for people on the database to get so real life experience on some real big productions.

SL: So you’re the coordinator for Hiive, a new online resource and I’ve had a quick look and it’s a wealth of buzzing, sorry for the pun…a wealth of information on there. What is Hiive all about?

SB: I like to say Hiive is essentially the LinkedIn for creatives. So you can find a job, you can find a course, read up on articles, find out about job roles, pitching for briefs. We have a number of briefs on at the minute and they are constantly changing. Essentially when you create a profile it’s a digital portfolio and you can sell yourself. At the end of the day we all know it as much as we try to hide away from it, it’s ‘who you know, not what you know’ but we are trying to change that with Hiive. So show off what you can do and get hired and get on in the industry.

“Hiive is essentially the LinkedIn for creatives.”

SL: So you have 90,000 creatives on there. Is that a combination of the talent and then linking the talent with the production companies looking to hire that talent?

SB: So let me stop you there. We are actually up to 122,000 today and yes it is for individuals and training providers and employers. Although Creative Skillset’s remit is screen based, Hiive has a remit for the whole of the creative industry; design, performing arts, the music, the fashion. So any sort of production company or any sort of employer whether it’s small business or a big business they can use Hiive to find creative talent via our massive pool.

SL: Finally, just general tips for creative young talent looking to open the door on a creative sector career, general tips, personal attribution really and tips for young people making that first step.

SB: It’s all about thinking outside the box and I hate that term, it’s quite broad, what does that mean? Essentially when you’re applying for a job there’s hundreds if not thousands going for the same job as well. As well as doing that – reach out to companies, going to their offices, politely stalk people on LinkedIn and Twitter and say ‘Can I take you out for a coffee?’ don’t ask for a job take them out for a coffee ‘You’re 3 or 4 years ahead in your career, I want to get to where you are, I want to find out how you started out, what tips and advice you would give me’. I think if you were to knock on a few doors you might get some work out of it.

SL: Fantastic, thank you very much Simon.

SB: Cheers thank you!