As a young professional first starting out, pursuing a career in the creative industry can come with a certain stigma in my experience. A sense that perhaps it is more of a hobby than a real job. Or the idea that you may be compromising your individual potential and future trajectory. Although, this is far from reality as government figures have proven. Creative industries in the UK contributed £111.7 billion to the UK in 2018. That is equivalent to £306 million every day.

Growing up in Newham, one of the poorest boroughs in London, I always felt creative subjects at school were underfunded. Students who excelled in those areas were left feeling a bit lost when it came to progressing into higher education. They struggled to see clearly how their education in creative disciplines could be progressed further or how their skills might be able to be applied. Personally, it is why higher education didn’t feel like a natural next step for me after school. I was ready for more hands-on and real-world experience.

Determined and curious to carve out my own path, I decided to jump straight into an apprenticeship rather than going to university. I joined Brave Spark, a creative production agency based in central London, as a junior editor and haven’t looked back since. You could say in the past two years I’ve successfully managed to undertake my own creative degree. One which has allowed me to work on national TV and digital campaigns for global brands like Hitachi, Trivento, and WorldRemit, stand on the same stage as English actor Andy Serkis and play football with Arsenal players. Last month I even came face-to-face with a wild bull. A big part of my job is to constantly find solutions to problems that will have a real impact on what people feel, think, or do and that is a powerful position to be in as an editor. Regardless of your background, previous education, or level of seniority.

Higher education is not for everyone and for me, the biggest payoff is knowing I took an alternative path into the creative industry and gained a lot in return. Not only am I able to work on projects that continue to test me in ways I would have never imagined, but I am also defining who I am as a person in an industry I originally struggled to see a clear path into like many others. If you are a young professional looking to kick-start your career in the creative industry my advice would be to follow your passion. Find a way to use your creative eye, to act on your creative ideas, and to share your creative energy because the world needs it. Arguably more now than ever before in times of such uncertainty.

Words featured on The Drum.