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Mapping pathways to creative careers

This strand of the Connect2Aspire toolkit addresses young people interested in creative careers. The underlying research in Connect2Aspire suggests that the challenges met by these young people revolve around two aspects: choice and access. First, choosing a creative career is a complex process, in which young people ponder how they can best match their talents to yet very elusive creative domains and concrete professional roles. Additional choices related to education and training pathways add to this complexity. Second, even after having chosen a potential career and often trained in the desired direction, access to the creative industries is difficult, in particular for underrepresented and disadvantaged groups.

This toolkit component addresses the first core challenge by offering a playful workshop-based experience where young people can explore potential creative career choices, pathways and associated sets of skills required. The workshop format that involves creative industries professionals offers tackles as well the second challenge, in that it offers a platform for exchange between young people and creatives as well as an insight into the industry and skills needed.


This workshop-based experience has been designed based on research on young people and access to creative careers, with a special interest in the role that museums can play as spaces for training, inspiration and mediation with creative industries professionals and spaces. The study captured the views of 265 young people who attended a training or careers information event offered by the Victoria and Albert Museum. To learn more more about the research, please download the working paper:

Working Paper #3. Museums and young people’s creative careers choices [PDF download]


This section offers guidelines and materials for involving young people in a game-like workshop-based experience where they playfully choose one persona and fill out cards while they advance on a careers map, under expert facilitation. The experience is designed to help young people reflect on their career aims and the implications of their potential choices in a playful, relaxed atmosphere with plenty of time to share and listen to stories from peers, under the guidance of a facilitator. The research conducted in the study suggests that an effective strategy is to involve young people alongside creative professionals/employers, to facilitate a dialogue meant to shed light on perceived skills gaps between what young people can offer the creative sectors and what creative employers believe might be the core required skills.

Downloadable workshop materials include:

Workshop guide

This document offers guidelines for a workshop designed to engage young people in active dialogue with creative professionals. [PDF download]

Differently, the workshop can also be implemented to involve young people interested in creative careers (without inviting creative professionals/employers); in this case the workshop guide can be adapted, and the downloadable materials below can be used as such.

Careers map

Printed to A0 or A1 (depending on number of participants), this map can be used collectively to pin young people’s cards as they advance on a career pathway. Printed to A2 or A3, the map can also be used individually allowing each participant to complete it and take it home.

[PDF download]

Persona cards

Printed and cut to the size of play cards, these will be used by young people to first identify a persona to embody throughout the workshop, associated with a colour code. They will then be handed out cards of the same colour corresponding to landmarks on the map, which they can use to jot down notes, ideas and reflections as they advance on the careers map, and pin them at the corresponding hotspot. [PDF download]

Persona profiles

The detailed descriptions of each persona, which can be used to give context to the features of each, help identify or support either the preparatory or the post-workshop reflections and reporting. [PDF download]

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