NCVER2019 – GRAD SHOW Resources









There are currently thousands of students studying in creatives arts courses at TAFE and VET intuitions, but what happens when study ends for these innovative artists? The creative arts have rarely been place for predictable employment, but new technologies and the ‘gig economy’ mean that creative professionals are even less likely now to be traditional employees. They are much more likely to enter a world of the ‘new normal’, working in unrelated part-time or casual employment while pursuing their creative practice professionally. They will wear multiple hats, juggling employment with freelancing and accidental entrepreneurship to get by, often without any fundamental education in small business or freelancing to support them.

This lack of ability to embrace the new economy is ironic given the rapid growth of the creative industries in the last five years. The digital revolution and demand for innovation across all areas of industry mean that the Australian creative industries sector is growing 40% faster than the Australian economy as a whole. Creatives are the engine room of this astonishing growth, but often unprepared for the realities of working after graduation.

In her presentation GRAD SHOW, creative industries specialist Monica Davidson outlines her research about the first year of working life in the creative industries after study in the arts, and share some practical ideas about how educators and policy makers can better prepare graduates for a life of freelancing, employment and entrepreneurship in the gig economy of creative industry.


Australia’s Creative Economy: Definitions of the Segments and Sectors, By Higgs, P., Cunningham,S., Pagan, J.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries & Innovation (CCI), Brisbane © 2007

The Australian Government’s Creative Industries Innovation Centre (CIIC) was a wonderful organisation that worked with over 1,500 creative enterprises from 2009 to 2014. They facilitated research reports including Valuing Australia’s Creative Industries, which showed that the creative industries made a direct contribution to GDP of $32.8 billion in 2011/12, more than the contribution made by many traditional industries. You can also download their book Creative Business in Australia, for free.

The Creative Economy in Australia  This factsheet is an output of an Australian Research Council Linkage project (LP160101724) led by Queensland University of Technology in partnership with the University of Newcastle, Arts Queensland, Create NSW, Creative Victoria, Arts South Australia and the WA Department of Culture and the Arts.

Freelancing in America 2018 (5th Annual Report)
More than one in three (35%) Americans freelanced in 2018. The freelance workforce grew from 53 million to 56.7 million, or 7%, in five years – the non-freelance U.S. workforce meanwhile grew just 2%.

Can the universities of today lead learning for tomorrow? The University of the Future, EY Report, published 2018. Does higher education need a new paradigm to serve Australia’s needs in the Transformative Age? We have entered the Transformative Age and, much like the Industrial Revolution before it, we can expect fundamental shifts in how we live, work and learn.

2018 Graduate Outcomes Survey National Report (JANUARY 2019) The QILT survey program, including the 2018 Graduate Outcomes Survey (GOS), is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training. The 2018 GOS was primarily conducted as a national online survey among 102 higher education institutions including all 41 Table A and B universities and 61 Non-University Higher Education Institutions (NUHEIs). A total of 120,564 valid survey responses were collected across all study levels.

The Beyond Graduation Survey (BGS) was conceived by Graduate Careers Australia (GCA) as a detailed investigation into the activities, outcomes and experiences of graduates from Australian higher education institutions several years after the completion of their studies. The BGS, which resurveyed respondents to the Australian Graduate Survey (AGS) three years after course completion, represented the first ever large-scale longitudinal study of higher education graduates in Australia.

How universities can make graduates employable with connections to industry, by Duncan Bentley, Deputy vice-chancellor, Swinburne University of Technology (February 27, 2018).

Preparing graduates in art and design to meet the challenges of working in the creative industries: A new model for work, by Linda Ball. Article in Art Design & Communication in Higher Education 1(1), April 2002.

Creative labour and graduate outcomes : Implications for higher education and cultural policy, by Bridgstock, Ruth S. & Cunningham, Stuart D. (2016) Creative labour and graduate outcomes : Implications for higher education and cultural policy. International Journal of Cultural Policy, 22(1), pp. 10-26.

Will a Robot Take Your Job? About 35% of current jobs in the UK are at high risk of computerisation over the following 20 years, according to a study by researchers at Oxford University and Deloitte. Type your job title into the search box below to find out the likelihood that it could be automated within the next two decades!

The Sponsor Effect: Breaking Through the Last Glass Ceiling, by Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Kerrie Peraino, Laura Sherbin, Karen Sumberg.

About the Business Connect Program in NSWRead more about how to sign up as a creative here!

Download our Facts and Stats of Creative Industry here for more information about the Future of the Industry.

What are our recommendations?

To better prepare students from Creative Arts and Culture Training (CUA) for their life after graduation, we recommend the following:

  • Connect Sponsors and Placements: connect students to real-world experiences by helping them find industry placements, mentors and advocates (sponsors) in their creative industry;
  • Teach Freelancing by Experts: Find creative practitioners who are working as freelancers to teach the skills needed to students, by brining together accredited training modules and real-world experience;
  • Encourage Creative Options: Creative practitioners of the future will be ‘slashies’, juggling multiple kinds of work and employment situations. Create an environment where creativity can become innovation and new employment/freelancing models can be discussed;
  • Reward Failure: Creative practice is a process of failure – and learning. Rewarding failure and turning it into a learning experience, and measuring outcomes rather than completion, is the way forward;
  • Invent the Future Together: Teachers and students of today have no idea what the future looks like – and students know it. Don’t pretend to know the future. Implement a positive approach of learning on both sides, combined with imagination, creativity and innovation.

Would you like to speak to us about Future Proofing for Creative Industries in your organisation?

Please email to discuss your requirements and we’ll get back to you!