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OUR PUBLICATIONS > Make a job, don’t take a job: Building the creative society

OUR PUBLICATIONS > Make a job, don’t take a job: Building the creative society

CCE Research

Make a job, don’t take a job: Building the creative society

February 1, 2011

Author: Barbara Gunnell and Martin Bright

Institution: A New Deal of the Mind

Full reference: Gunnell, B. and Bright, M. (2011) Make a job, don’t take a job: Building the creative society. London: NDotM.

Summary of key findings

This report proposes that ‘Make a job, don’t take a job’ should become the rallying cry for the creative sector. It argues that for this sector to play its key role in the recovery of the UK economy it is essential that ways are found to harness the enterprise, inventiveness and vitality of young people. The report notes that the creative sector has traditionally had a far higher percentage of freelance workers than in the economy as a whole. It observes, however, that schools and universities fail to foster entrepreneurial ambition and that there is a lack of advice or encouragement for young people leaving schools and universities to start freelance enterprises. The report welcomes the launch of the New Enterprise Allowance but is critical of the requirement for applicants to have been unemployed for six months. It suggests that rules on working and claiming benefit reflect limited understanding in government departments and job centres of freelancing, self employment, short term contracts or other ways of working that predominate in the arts and creative sector.

The report makes a number of recommendations to government on practical support measures for creative entrepreneurs, such as space and advice:

  • The authors call for easier access to business advice and mentoring and proposes that a nation–wide call for mentoring in the creative sector would be a valuable addition to the Government’s Big Society.
  • The authors review reports of gains to creative micro-businesses through ‘clustering’ and cite examples of ways in which empty or under-used commercial premises or public spaces have been imaginatively used to help new creative businesses work alongside each other, proposing that government should facilitate and encourage such developments.
  • It suggests a DWP proposal to set up “work pairings” linking young unemployed people to sole traders could potentially be applied to artists and craftspeople and recommends making available loans, grants and tax relief to encourage freelancers, sole traders and micro–businesses in the creative sector to take on additional staff.

The report concludes that a small investment in these measures could pay huge dividends to the UK – socially, culturally and economically.

Research Questions & Methodology

The authors’ brief was to investigate the practical frameworks which support and encourage creative talent and enterprise. The report offers a critical analysis of the current policy background and draws on a range of reports on employment conditions in the sector. It makes some comparisons with the effects of the Enterprise Allowance Scheme that operated from 1983–91.

Go to the journal article.