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. 

sign up 


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


An apprenticeship is a paid job combined with structured theoretical learning, to achieve a recognised qualification. We spoke to young people who are currently undertaking or have recently completed an apprenticeship to understand how this type of qualification has supported their career progression.

During an apprenticeship, the employee learns and gains valuable experiences to develop their career – it has the benefits of suiting a range of learning styles and giving young people a real taste of the workplace. Alongside on-the-job training, apprentices spend at least 20% of their working hours completing classroom-based learning with a college, university, or training provider. This means that they are supported by tutors as well as their workplace managers. 

Apprenticeships are an alternative to college or university, although you can still enter an apprenticeship after completing further or higher education too. Apprenticeship schemes are fully funded by an employer and the government. This route means that you can get straight into working and gain the experience many employers look for. By opting to take an apprenticeship you won’t have to take out a student loan to fund your studies, so you shouldn’t have to accumulate any debt. This is particularly appealing during a cost of living crisis, which has seen significant numbers withdraw from higher education due to financial concerns.


During National Apprenticeship Week, we asked some apprentices about their experiences of apprenticeships in different fields.


I went to university to study International politics before doing an apprenticeship in marketing. I don’t regret going to uni, but I wish there wasn’t such an overwhelming emphasis on going to university

Chantel, 21

Just over 200,000 (201,360) 18-year-olds got a place at university in 2022 compared to 122,290 starting an apprenticeship, 31.5% of which were under 19 (38,480).

From September 2020, 16-year-olds have also had the option to take T-Levels, a new more vocationally focused alternative to traditional A-levels. Those completing T-levels may wish to go onto an apprenticeship afterwards to further develop their skills, as the two formats of learning are more aligned. 

However, many feel that there is still an overwhelming emphasis to follow academic routes and go to university, which remains the more popular choice. Just over 200,000 (201,360) 18-year-olds got a place at university in 2022 compared to 122,290 (of all ages) starting an apprenticeship, 31.5% of which were under 19 (38,480).

Perhaps there’s still a perception that apprentices are more geared towards trades like plumbing and mechanics, as well as being seen as a less established format of education.

You may be surprised to learn that there are now actually over 600 different apprenticeships to choose from! With options within Arts & Media, Business and Healthcare, there are some options that you wouldn’t necessarily expect.

Fun Fact:

Did you know you could become an Animal Care or Equine Groom apprentice if horses are your passion! 

Apprenticeships actually date back to 1563 – at this time, it was made law that nobody could practice a trade or craft in England without serving at least seven years’ apprenticeship. Luckily, lots has changed since then. Modern Apprenticeships were introduced by the government in 1994, so the contemporary framework has been established for almost 30 years. These days you can expect to spend no longer than five years completing one, with many options lasting between one and two years. 

I chose the apprenticeship route as I believed it to be the most suitable career route for me. When leaving sixth form going to university was highly encouraged but personally, I did not see myself as particularly academic and therefore wanted to get stuck into working and getting experience on the job.

–  Caitlin, 19


Some career paths don’t necessarily need you to go to university, especially those which are very practical and need on-the-job training. For example, many people think that you need to go to university to go into the healthcare sector however, the NHS provides apprentices at various levels to help get a foot in the medical professions. These apprentices include registered nursing degree apprenticeships, pharmacy services, healthcare science practitioner, dental nursing and so much more!


If you’re not the academic type and benefit from visual and practical learning, apprenticeships could be a good choice for you.


By doing an apprenticeship I have gained transferable skills that I can use in several various industries all while earning money and getting work experience.

– Zoe, 23



According to government stats, apprentices who had completed more than 15 months of their placement reported an 88% satisfaction rate in 2021. With 91% feeling that their apprenticeship had prepared them well for what they wanted to do next, 94% were in employment when surveyed and 83% credited their promotions to experience gained during their apprenticeship.


Being an apprentice at Creative Youth Network was essential to my career progression. I severely lacked work experience and connections, it perfectly bridged the gap between university and the workplace. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity provided.

– Vic, 25

 Vic was a marketing apprentice for CYN, which gave her all the skills and experience she needed to progress to become a marketing exec at a Bristol-based marketing agency, within 3 years of starting out in the industry!

One of my main reasons I love being an apprentice is because I get to learn, earn and do! I learn from the experts and get to put my knowledge of marketing into my place of work!  At the end of my apprenticeship there is an opportunity of taking on a Job role in what I love doing, which is also amazing! 

– Beth, 18

 That’s not to say that going to university is a bad thing, but the key thing to take away from this article is that you need to find what is best for you and your career goals. University is still a great option if you are going into academia, want to learn to be independent, and exploring who you are, which are things that can be more difficult with an apprenticeship. 

Thinking of applying for an apprenticeship?

To start an apprenticeship, you'll need to be:

  • 16 or over
  • living in England
  • not in full-time education

You can apply for an apprenticeship while you're still at school but you'll need to be 16 or over by the end of the summer holidays to start the apprenticeship.

If you’d like to chat about your options then our Step to Future engagement workers are here to help.

How can we help?