Creative Access and McLaren Racing announce recipients of second annual Career Development Bursary

Posted on January 19, 2023

60% increase in applicants reveals impact of cost-of-living crisis on career progression of those from under-represented groups   

Creative Access, the leading social enterprise in progressive career development and support, and McLaren Racing have today announced that 61 people working in the creative industries will receive vital funding for equipment, training, driving lessons and travel costs to support their career progression in the sector.  

The now annual Creative Access x McLaren Racing Career Development Bursary is in its second year, aimed at supporting talent from under-represented communities aspiring to work or further their career in the creative economy, but who are currently held back from doing so because of their financial status.   

Increased demand

Demand for the bursary has more than doubled, year on year (2022-2023). Receiving over 500 applications in comparison to 2021, when it received just over 200. This 60% increase comes at a time when the cost-of-living crisis is increasing financial pressures for people across the country, especially those from already marginalised groups. Research has shown that workers from ethnic minority backgrounds are being disproportionately affected by the crisis, with more than a third unable to cover their essential costs each month

Due to the crucial need for funding, Creative Access and McLaren Racing increased the amount of money available and in doing so, more than doubled the number of people able to receive the bursary in comparison to last year. The successful recipients are located across the UK and work, or aspire to work, across the breadth of the creative industries including publishing, TV and film, theatre, visual arts, music, fashion, and technology and gaming.   

How the bursary will be used   

Each successful applicant will receive a grant between £250 and £1000, which must be used to enable them to progress in their chosen creative career. The most common request was for funding for driving lessons. Many applicants stated that driving was essential in their industry, such as journalism, film and TV, but with learning to drive costing on average £1,350, according to the RAC, this is prohibitive to many trying to break into the industry. Many applications came from people living outside London, seeming to highlight the impact of rising travel and rent costs. The other most notable request was for equipment, specifically laptops and Macbooks.   

Funding was also requested for: 

  • Training and courses   
  • Essential equipment such as cameras, microphones, lighting, and digital software
  • Commuting costs
  • Care costs 
  • Living costs   

Shannon Rewcroft, who is an actor based in Yorkshire said: “This bursary is unbelievably helpful. It allows me to invest in my creative practice and enables activities that wouldn’t have been possible before. As well as the financial support, being awarded this bursary has been reenergizing, giving me confidence and focus to move ahead and make exciting plans for 2023!”

Glenda Gaspard, an architecture graduate and artist from London, explained: “This bursary is supporting me in taking the next steps to grow my creative practice. Not only has it opened the door to more resources, it’s also unlocked a new level of confidence in me. It’s an incredible feeling to know that your visions are believed in and backed by others!”  

This is the second bursary from the Creative Access and McLaren Racing partnership, formed in June 2021, under the McLaren Racing Engage alliance, which aims to diversify talent in motorsport.  

Bibi Hilton, CEO of Creative Access says:

“With the cost-of-living outstripping earnings, particularly for those trying to live and work in London, our Career Development Bursary has never been more critical.   

Last year’s successful applicants have gone on to do amazing things with the funding they received. From this, we can see how equipment like laptops and cameras, help with travel costs, and driving lessons can make all the difference to someone looking to break in to or progress in the creative economy.   

We’re proud to have been able to help more than double the number of people this year, and we can’t wait to see what they do next. There are too many talented people missing out on opportunities to develop their careers and share their knowledge and experiences and, ultimately, enrich our creative industries because of financial barriers and we’re working hard to address this imbalance.”   

Kate O’Hara-Hatchley, Head of Diversity, Early Careers and Development, commented:

“McLaren Racing are thrilled to support the second Career Development Bursary alongside Creative Access.  This is a significant step in our commitment to ensuring that everyone, irrespective of background and financial status, has equal access and opportunities in all creative industries, such as those at McLaren Racing. We are excited to continue to help open more doors, break down barriers and inspire the next generation.”