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Creative Access and McLaren Racing announce first recipients of new Career Development Bursary to help overcome financial barriers to career progression

Posted on January 28, 2022

Creative Access, the leading social enterprise in progressive career development and support, and McLaren Racing today announced the first 25 people from the creative industries to receive funding through the Creative Access x McLaren Racing Career Development Bursary, which launched in Autumn 2021, as part of McLaren Racing Engage.

The Bursary is a new fund aimed at supporting talent from under-represented communities who aspire to work, or further their career, in the creative economy, but who are currently held back from doing so because of their financial status.

The bursary received over 200 applications showing how funding is urgently need to support people from under-represented groups in progressing their creative careers.

Each successful applicant will receive a grant of between £250 and £1000, which must be used to enable them to progress in their chosen creative career. The majority of applications were to fund driving lessons, with applicants citing being able to drive as critical to break into or work in the film industry as filming locations are often in remote areas. Funding was also requested for:

  • Essential equipment such as cameras, lighting and photo editing software
  • New laptops – many applicants talked about trying to edit films or create content using dated or broken laptops
  • Re-location costs
  • Training courses

Erica, a documentary filmmaker from Glasgow was awarded funding to purchase a laptop as her existing one is 6 years old, no longer fit for purpose and holding back her progression within filmmaking. She commented: “Receiving the bursary has been immensely beneficial to me as a documentary filmmaker – I’m excited to put the fund to good use in supporting my creative audio-visual work this year.”

Jordan, from London, needed funding to enable him to launch his creative freelancing career, he says: “Receiving this bursary has honestly been a switch up for myself, it’s now put me in a position of me being able to support my own visions and bring my creativity to life. It’s sparked a motivation within myself that I didn’t have prior. I’ve faced some levels of imposter syndrome along the way, this a big step into tackling this and I have Creative Access to thank for it.”

Aisha, an aspiring filmmaker currently studying in Edinburgh, was awarded funding for vital equipment to help her break into the industry. She says: “This bursary means I’ve been given a chance, by providing me with equipment I would not otherwise to have access to. For this, I’m so grateful, and excited to start on my journey in filmmaking.”

Research carried out by Creative Access to coincide with the Bursary launch, with more than 1,900 people working in, or looking to pursue, a career in the creative industries, revealed the crucial role the bursary will play in enabling people from under-represented groups to access and progress in the sector:

  • Over three quarters (77%) have not applied for a job due to the associated high living or commuting costs
  • A third (35%) have refused job offers because of financial obstacles
  • Almost half (47%) of people surveyed said financial barriers have ‘greatly’ impacted their career progression.

The Bursary is the first initiative from the Creative Access and McLaren Racing partnership, which was formed in June this year under the McLaren Racing Engage alliance, which aims to diversify talent in motorsport.

Josie Dobrin, CEO of Creative Access says: “We received an overwhelming number of applications for our first Career Development Bursary showing how critical funding is to enable people from under-represented communities to access careers and progress in the creative economy. Funding to purchase a laptop or camera equipment or driving lessons can make all the difference to someone looking to break into our sector and develop their skills or even reach the location where they have been offered a role. Whilst we are pleased to be able to support these 25 applicants, the response we received and our recent research shows how we need to be doing more to support people with funding – as well as career opportunities – to improve representation and inclusion.” 

Rebecca Constable, Director, People Experience, McLaren Racing, said: “We’re thrilled to be helping 25 individuals with this bursary. We hope this funding will remove the barriers which might have otherwise prevented them from enhancing their skills, obtaining much-needed equipment, and ultimately reaching their creative career goals.

“Seeing such a high volume of applicants makes it clear just how vital the funding is to so many people and we strongly believe that financial status should not be something that holds back the next generation of creative talent. We look forward to seeing how the successful applicants develop and progress in their careers and we hope to be able to support many more people on their journeys through further McLaren Racing Engage initiatives, in the future.”

Additional results from the Creative Access survey include:

  • 76% of 18 – 25 year olds and 79% of 26 – 35 year-olds have not applied for roles due to financial pressures and 69% of 18 – 25 year olds have not taken up a role
  • The most common financial pressures impacting career progression are cited as unaffordable living, commuting and relocation costs – this increases to 61% for those from under-represented socio-economic backgrounds
  • 80% of people who identified as having disabilities did not apply for a role and 59% did not take up a job offer because of financial barriers
  • Financial status also prevented 82% of people from under-represented socio-economic backgrounds from applying for roles and 58% from taking up a job offer

About Creative Access

Creative Access is a leading social enterprise combining an unrivalled network of talent from communities under-represented in the creative economy, with progressive career support and development. Our mission is to enable people from communities that are under-represented to access, progress and reach leadership in publishing, film and TV, music, the arts, theatre and beyond. Since it was founded in 2012, Creative Access has place 2,194 individuals in paid internships; supported 58,773 candidates with employability skills; set up mentoring for 2,261 young people and delivered 3,319 hours of inclusive employer training.

About McLaren Racing: McLaren Racing was founded by New Zealand racing driver Bruce McLaren in 1963. The team entered its first Formula 1 race in 1966, since then McLaren has won 20 Formula 1 world championships, more than 180 Formula 1 grands prix, the Le Mans 24 Hours at its first attempt and the Indianapolis 500 three times. McLaren Racing currently competes in Formula 1 globally and INDYCAR in the US. 

The team will contest the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship with Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, and the 2022 INDYCAR Series with Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist. McLaren was the first F1 team to be certified carbon neutral ten years ago and has successfully retained the Carbon Trust Standard Award, most recently in February 2021. They were also the first team to be awarded the FIA Institute’s Environmental Award in 2013, which they have consistently maintained at three-star level.

In 2022, McLaren Racing will enter a new category of motorsport when it enters a team into Extreme E, the innovative all-electric off-road racing series that highlights the impact of climate change.

About McLaren Racing Engage: In June 2021, McLaren Racing launched McLaren Racing Engage, a strategic alliance with four expert partners to drive forward a programme of collaborative initiatives to diversify talent in motorsport. The four partners are: Women’s Engineering Society (WES); EqualEngineers; The Smallpeice Trust; and Creative Access.

The alliance will drive a shared agenda to: 

  • Promote STEM and F1 as an accessible vocation to under-represented and under-privileged groups
  • Foster a diverse and inclusive culture within McLaren’s workforce and communities by providing accessibility to young people and under-represented groups
  • Advance meaningful and sustained change for McLaren Racing as an employer, and F1 as a sport and industry

McLaren Racing Engage will advance the team’s diversity, equality and inclusion agenda as part of its broader sustainability programme, including its commitment to F1’s WeRaceAsOne platform.