Crafting Futures

A study of the early careers of crafts graduates from UK higher education institutions

Hunt W, Ball L, Pollard E |   | Crafts Council | May 2010

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This study explored the value of craft education to the economy through the experiences of craft graduates as they moved from higher education into work. The timing of the research, during the economic downturn, offered unique insights into the impact of recession on their working lives and the strategies they employed to continue to work towards their goals.

Key findings:

  • At the time of the survey nine out of ten craft graduates were in paid work, the majority in creative jobs and in or close to achieving their career goals.
  • Three out of five craft graduates had worked in the creative industries and in their field of expertise since graduating.
  • Thirty-seven per cent of craft graduates had worked freelance since graduating and at the time of the survey 15 per cent were still doing so.
  • Twenty-six per cent had started a business during their early careers and 19 per cent currently had their own business.
  • Portfolio careers are well established, with 50 per cent of craft graduates in multiple jobs at the time of the survey, typically combining employment with self-employment, study or developing their creative practice.
  • Teaching represents a significant career choice for craft graduates: 41 per cent of craft graduates had experience of teaching in their early careers and 25 per cent were teaching at the time of the survey.
  • Fifty-three per cent of graduates were the first generation in their families to go to university (proxy for socio-economic class). Yet, these graduates appeared to be just as successful and satisfied in their careers as those from more privileged backgrounds.

Read the report summary