Creative Access & McLaren Racing announce recipients of third annual Career Development Bursary  

Posted on January 30, 2024

Demand increases from young working-class creatives for funding as UK rent and living prices continue to soar 

Creative Access, the leading social enterprise in progressive career development and support, today announced that 37 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 as part of its collaboration with McLaren Racing. 

In 2021, Creative Access partnered with McLaren Racing as part of the team’s flagship DE&I programme, McLaren Racing Engage, which was launched to open pathways into motorsport careers. Now in its third year, the Creative Access x McLaren Racing bursary supports 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.  

Barriers to the creative industries 

Recent Creative Access data found that 82% of those working or aspiring to work in the creative industries in 2023 named the cost-of-living crisis as a significant barrier to accessing roles (Creative Access Financial Barriers, 2023) and recent ONS data reveals that the number of working-class creatives has halved since the 1970s. This is despite 52% of British people identifying as working-class (British Social Attitudes report, 2023).  

While the Bursary is open to all ages looking to develop their career, the majority of 2023 applicants came from entry-level career stages. And 68% of applicants came from lower socio-economic backgrounds highlighting the impact and lack of accessibility to the creative industries for young people in particular.   

How the bursary will be used   

Each successful applicant will receive a grant between £250 and £1,000, which must be used to enable them to progress in their chosen creative career. The most common and significant request was for equipment funding such as tech and software, seconded by driving lessons.   

The successful recipients are located across the UK and currently work or aspire to work across the breadth of the creative industries including publishing, TV, film, theatre, visual arts, music, product design, fashion, technology and gaming. 55% of applicants came from London, indicating the density of creative jobs in the area paired with the effects of the high cost of rent and living in the capital.  

Funding was also requested for: 

  • Commuting costs 
  • Care costs 
  • Living and rent costs  

The sectors with the most requests were:  

  1. Film, TV, radio and audio production 
  2. Music, theatre, dance and visual arts 
  3. Book, newspaper and magazine publishing  

Timotej Baca, who is a freelance videographer based in Northern Ireland, said: “Receiving the Creative Access x McLaren Racing bursary is massive, with the rise in cost-of-living I’ve spent the last year developing and writing projects. With the bursary I can now buy an industry-standard camera to restart my freelance career.” 

London-based film and TV electrician, Mariam Hayat, explained: “As a South Asian woman, I look pretty different to other film and TV electricians – but now my tools look the same as theirs thanks to this bursary! I’m so excited to start a career as a practical electrician and work on my own creative electronic projects using the professional equipment I’ve bought.” 

Bibi Hilton, CEO, Creative Access says: 

“Individuals from groups under-represented in the creative industries often face financial barriers to progression. So, we are very pleased to be able to award funding from our Career Development Bursary for the 3rd year in a row, made possible thanks to generous support from McLaren Racing.  

This funding really does make a critical difference with 80% of those who received funding last year saying it’s enabled them to access new opportunities and move forward in their careers. We can’t wait to see the impact this funding will have for this year’s successful applicants.” 

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

“McLaren Racing is delighted to be supporting the Creative Access Career Development Bursary for the third year running. The McLaren Racing Engage alliance aims to tackle address systemic inequalities in our industry to ensure we can become one of the most inclusive teams in sport. We have seen great impact to date, helping to break down the barriers and open more doors within the creative industries. The scheme is an integral part of McLaren Racing’s commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, a key pillar of our Sustainability Strategy ensuring that everyone, irrespective of background and financial status, has equal access and opportunities.”