Creative YOU

Creativity is everywhere. Opportunity is not.     

We are part of the solution. The secret is in our name. Every year Creative Youth Network gives thousands of young people a taste and thirst for the arts and culture and the joy, life-skills and opportunity they bring.   

But we want more.   

Creative YOU is our campaign showcasing how we, you and the engaged, emerging and amazing young creatives we support, come together. 

We want to reveal how, together, we are ambition, quality, cultural democracy and social mobility in action. 

Every young person deserves the right to access creativity and development opportunities in the creative and cultural industries.

It all starts with education.

If all young people have access to creative subjects in school, then talented young people from all backgrounds can pursue their passion, develop crucial skills needed in so many industries and improve their wellbeing.

1. Pledge

Add your name and join the many people passionate about bringing creativity back into our schools.   

With all the pledges we’ll be reaching out to headteachers in Bristol and the South West. We hope this will encourage local academies to give more space to creativity in their curriculum.  

Bristol, being the creative city we know and love, can pave the way for other regions to do the same, showcasing the true value of creativity.  



2. Sign up

Join us by signing up to our newsletter where we share best practice of how to support young people. 

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3. Find out more

Join us by reading and sharing our CreativeYOU report which shows how our work brings opportunities for creative expression and enables young people to explore their talent, regardless of background or circumstance.  

Download our Creative YOU report


It's no secret that race plays a big part in the careers of people of colour. We interviewed several young people, who are all at different stages of their careers, to discuss how their race has affected them along the way. 

First, a little context – at the peak of the 2020 BLM Movement, many businesses took a pledge to hire a more diverse workforce in the coming years. But despite the plethora of pledges, progress in Diversity and Inclusion across many organisations has been painfully slow. That's why diversity champions, Race Equality Matters want to ensure #ItsEveryonesBusiness with their latest campaign – because tackling race inequality is everyone’s business.

Tackling Race Inequality in organisations can be a lonely and fruitless battle. Sometimes, despite best efforts, change is often minimal or too slow.

– Race Equality Matters statement

In the UK, there are structural and historical biases that favour certain individuals and exclude huge numbers of prospective employees. These biases in the workplace can affect young people when it comes to choosing a career path.

Race Equality Week is a UK-wide initiative uniting thousands of organisations and individuals to address race equality barriers in the workplace. To support this initiative, we spoke to young people about their inequality concerns and experiences across various business sectors.

From Nursing to Becoming a Business Owner: Sweedie's Story, aged 25

We had the opportunity to talk to a small black business owner Sweedie, who owns and runs her own nail, hair, and lash salon in St Pauls. We asked why she decided to leave traditional employment and open up her own business, even though the odds were stacked against her. Here's what she had to say: 

“I used to be a trainee nurse, and that environment is not for the weak... The senior nurses would give me and other black nurses scut* work while the white nurses got the more exciting work. I can't lie, the patients would treat you like their personal slaves in some cases, and it was dehumanising... I couldn't hack it and I wasn't doing what I enjoy, so I took a gamble on myself.”

Sweedie isn't the only person to express concerns over racial disparities in healthcare. There have been many surveys and studies looking into the racial abuse healthcare workers face on a daily basis from their seniors and patients, including the 2022 Ethnic Inequalities in Healthcare report. During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, an RCN survey also found that only 43% of black, Asian, and minority ethnic RCN members said they felt they had adequate personal protective equipment, compared to 66% of white British nursing staff.

Even opening up this store was a battle... We get leaks all the time from the people upstairs and when we get someone to come in, they're dismissive, try to charge us a lot more than quoted, and don't even fix the leak properly! I feel like I have to scream to be heard and taken seriously as a black woman.

*'Scut' is medical slang for the non-clinical tasks that do not require medical expertise.

Pre-Employment Discrimination

There is discrimination and bias at every stage of an individual’s career – even before it begins. Networking and getting into spaces as an ethnic minority is extremely hard, as many young people do not have links with the industry that they want to get into, or have role models in their life they can aspire to be like. Even after that, the recruitment process is another hurdle ethnic minorities have to get over.

“With a name like ‘Qunayi Hu,’ I think employers know what race I am, which can be to my detriment, and they won’t even give me a chance to show my ability.”

– Quanyi, 22

Lack of Representation in the Creative Industries 

We asked 17-year-old aspiring film director, Nomonde, if they think their career choice will be affected by their race:

Not really, I’m hard working so I think I can go into film based on my merit, but I do worry that I will be the only black person in the workplace or team, and that makes me hesitant and uncomfortable.

– Nomonde, 17

In the UK, 14% of the working-age population is from a Black or Minority Ethnic background, which is not reflected in the majority of workplaces, with many ethnic minorities concentrated in lower-paying jobs. For young people like Nomonde who want to get into the film industry, there is an extreme likelihood that she will be the only black person at her workplace, as only 2.22% of writers, directors, and producers are black in the UK. 


Many businesses overlook the intersectionality that many black people experience. Melissa is a 25-year-old trainee accountant. She is black, a woman, neurodivergent and dyslexic – and has found the professional workspace a hard place to talk about her accessibility needs.

When I first started my role, they downplayed the number of emails I had to write, knowing I was dyslexic. Because I already felt out of place being the only black person on my team and being new and having a lot of questions, I felt like I would be a burden to ask for software and equipment to help me with my dyslexia.

– Melissa, 25

How does Creative Youth Network Support Young POCs to Achieve their Career Aspirations?

There is an insistent need to make sure companies and businesses are hiring diverse workforces. Not only does it give more opportunities to everyone, but it fosters a healthy environment with a diversity of thought, experience, and skill. 

At Creative Youth Network, we are committed to providing equal opportunities for people of colour. We have various services that help young people get into the career or training they want – and our careers support aims to level the playing field for youth from all communities and backgrounds, so that no career aspirations feel out of reach. 

For those young people of colour that have arrived in the UK alone or experienced the challenges of the asylum process, our Young Leaders Group and Migrant Young Women’s provision offer additional opportunities and support for those facing the specific challenges of forging a new career path in the UK. These groups empower young refugees and asylum seekers to develop their leadership skills and enhance their educational and career prospects.

Explore our Careers Support

 Young Leaders group

We understand that peer-to-peer support is crucial, so we also provide young people of colour with a dedicated forum to voice their opinions and concerns with other POCs in safe space.

LEARN MORE ABOUT Unity Youth Forum

How can we help?