Creative Pathways


FIVE YEARS AGO WE STARTED A PROJECT AT HAUTLIEU SCHOOL CALLED ‘CREATIVE PATHWAYS’. THIS WAS AN ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT that recognised the extent to which ‘creative workplaces are marked significantly by insecurity, inequality and exploitation’ (Banks & Hesmondhalgh, 2009, p. 415) and how ‘the creative sector is fragmented and there are few large employers with the resources to provide work placements and experience.’ (Ball, 2012) It was felt that this was a situation which required ‘new models for employer engagement,’ (ibid) to create ‘an education and careers system that inspires, equips and nurtures current and future generations to work in the creative industries and the broader creative economy.’ (Creative Industries Council, 2016).

MW: [00:35:41] I think it is so important for media because when you go out you’re thrown into university and you need to use this software, you need to contact these people, you need to do this, this and this – which you didn’t learn in the classroom, you have to learn through experience.

MM: [00:35:52] Which is actually where it comes from – this project is about a disconnect between the classroom and the workroom.

MW: [00:36:10] So that would build the bridge I guess? For the disconnect – because you could still learn a lot of the practical things that you need to learn to pass your exams and find out what you want to do when you’re older. But when you get put into it . . . [pause] . . . you need . . . [pause] . . . it would have helped . . . [pause] . . . well it did help me so much!

[Meg, Creative Pathways Placement student]

In Jersey, this meant building closer links between education and industry (the work room and the class room). As the present Jersey Digital Skills Strategy (2018) recommends: ‘intervention will be needed in both schools and in the provision of post-secondary opportunities’ (p. 10) for projects aimed at engaging ‘pupils in skills that they are currently not receiving on the curriculum’ (p. 12) and ‘bridge the gap between the skills being taught in school, and those needed in the work place.’ (ibid)

To that extent we have set up a framework of engagement, called Creative Pathways. This specifically looks to foster useful, positive and productive links between a range of local creative and media organisations and the Performance Technology Faculty, at Hautlieu School, (Media, Photography, Music Technology, Drama, Music). As a result, we are now placing approximately 3-5 year 13 students each academic year with local media and creative organisations in a structured work placement opportunity.

The placements involve individual students spending 1 afternoon a week, every week for about 6-8 weeks. The work placements are structured and supported in a similar model to Trident placements, with relevant health and safety, child protection and parental consent forms appropriately in place to create a robust system of support and intervention. Each placement is a personalised and tailored programme that matches individual student needs to a specific career aim with an appropriate provider. For example, we have worked with among others: ITV Channel, JEP, Jersey Live, the Photographic Archive, CCA International Art Gallery.

Each participant is interviewed before, during and after each placement to ensure effective monitoring and quality of provision. The interview process also allows for feedback and evaluation which is then analysed and mapped into the next programme of action. For example, in this document, Meg Winton, who is now a third year Journalism student, at Bournemouth University, talks about her placement at the JEP. In her interview, she makes it clear that the placement experience was a determining factor in her choice of university course and ultimately was the first decisive step in her future career development:

MW: [00:44:57] If I chose the wrong degree it would just be so much stress and I was so close to doing a combined honors with English and History, like so close to doing it, and I just knew I would be miserable now. Like I would have hated it and would be like applying to uni a year later and like wasting all that money in a year that I didn’t need and stuff. I knew that I wanted to do journalism after I saw like all the journalists at the JEP doing journalism and just doing the things I’ve always wanted to do sort of thing. So I definitely, like that career, which is like probably, that process sorry which is probably the most stressful parts of being like a teenager was made a lot easier by being in an environment which I related to and I wanted to be in. So yeah doing English and History now would just be the worst thing in the world for me (laughs)

This interview forms part of a small scale qualitative Doctoral study for The Centre for Excellence in Media Practice, at Bournemouth University and is part of a rich stream of data supporting and arguing for the value of this form of pedagogical action. This programme of intervention also forms part of an on-going programme of professional development, for both staff and students, in our Faculty, which is evidenced through our action planning and target setting documentation, as well as in our review and evaluation meetings.

In summary, we are always looking to set up and deliver meaningful and positive interactions for a small number of creative and media students to make the most important decision of their lives from an informed and measured point of contact with a potential local employer, and as a result, start the most important journey of their lives: that of becoming the person that they aspire to be while in Key Stage 5 education:

MW: [00:44:19] 100 percent . . . I think it’s definitely like a journey of stuff because I’m not the same person I was.


  • Ball. (2012). Creating Growth: A Blueprint for the Creative Industries. London: Confederation of British Industry,.
  • Banks, M., & Hesmondhalgh, D. (2009). Looking for work in creative industries policy. International Journal of Cultural Policy, 415-430.
  • Creative Industries Council. (2016). Create Together. UK: Creative Industries Council.
  • Marchmont Observatory. (2018). Digital Skills Strategy: Industry and Government Working towards a prosperous future 2018-2023. Jersey: Digital Jersey & University of Exeter.