Getting started in a career in the creative and media industries can be tough. It’s a competitive world and staff jobs are few and far between. Increasingly, new entrants have to break into the arts or journalism as freelances and many will remain so for the rest of their careers.

Young people are ripe for exploitation. Unscrupulous employers will try to pay as little as they can get away with.

For those fresh out of university, drama school or journalism college, there are a whole load of skills needed to be able to launch yourself into your dream career. That is why a group of young musicians, writers, actors and journalists attended a social event organised by the Federation of Unions (FEU).

FEU Training is a project supported by the Union Learning Fund, a government-backed scheme run by unions. It provides a range of free workshops and courses and a suite of online learning resources aimed at freelances in the creative industries. To take part you need to be a member of the National Union of Journalists, Equity, Musicians' Union or Writers' Guild.

Frances Dredge, project leader, said: "You can be the best actor in the world or the most talented musician, but you will not have a successful career unless you are able to market yourself and negotiate contracts that do not rip you off. You will need to deal with everything from filling in a tax form to having the motivation to get out of bed in the morning when things aren't going well."

Adebayo is an entertainments journalist, he used to produce a magazine in Nigeria, now he wants to learn how to launch one here to appeal to the Nigerian community. Sian is a percussionist, she is in a number of original bands, including She Drew the Gun, does covers work and teaching. She wants to learn effective ways to market her talents. Alessandro, a singer-songwriter, wants to learn about copyright and negotiating contracts. Hannah, who teaches singing and is in the band Kid Karoshi, wants to acquire some business skills; she is yet to fill in her first tax return.

After an introduction to FEU training, Frances arranged the young union members into groups and handed out a sheet with the following topics: listening, marketing, sales, networking, quick reactions, presentation, negotiation, IT, time management, developing ideas, being assertive, managing money, promoting change, resilience, brand building, strategic thinking, writing, solving problems, motivation, goal setting, making the first move, sensitivity, reviewing, creative thinking, adaptability, organising information and promotion.

Each group chose a topic, discussed it and then shared their thoughts with the rest of the group. Frances said: "And the good news is, we can help you with all of these things."

More info

Go to our digital learning centre for a range of online courses and information and look out for updates of our venue-based workshops.

Business skills training
for creative freelances