McLaren and Creative Access Career Development Bursary accelerates in 2023 

60% increase in applicants reveals impact of cost of living on underrepresented talent

Sixty-one people working in the creative industries will receive vital funding for equipment, training, driving lessons and travel costs to support their career progression in the sector, thanks to  the annual Career Development Bursary.

The Career Development Bursary launched in 2021 by Creative Access x McLaren Racing aims to support talent from underrepresented communities aspiring to work or further their career in the creative economy but who are currently held back from doing so because of their financial status.   

 Increased demand  

Demand for the Career Development Bursary has more than doubled, year on year (2022-2023), receiving over 500 applications compared to 2021 when it received just over 200 and awarded 25 individuals. The 60% increase comes when the cost-of-living crisis is having a huge financial impact on people across the country, especially those from already marginalised groups. 

Research has shown that workers from ethnic minority backgrounds are disproportionately affected by the crisis, with more than a third unable to cover their essential monthly costs.

Due to the crucial need for funding, Creative Access and McLaren Racing increased the amount of money available and, in doing so, more than doubled the number of people able to receive the bursary compared to last year. The successful recipients are located across the UK and work, or aspire to work, across the breadth of the creative industries, including publishing, TV and film, theatre, visual arts, music, fashion, and technology and gaming.   

 How the Career Development Bursary will be used    

Each successful applicant will receive a grant between £250 and £1000, which must be used to enable them to progress in their chosen creative career. The most common request was for funding for driving lessons. Many applicants stated that driving was essential in their industries, such as journalism and film. Still, with learning to drive costing an average of £1,350, according to the RAC, this is prohibitive to many trying to break into the industry. Many applications came from people living outside London, seeming to highlight the impact of rising travel and rent costs. The other most notable request was for equipment, specifically laptops and Macbooks.   

Funding was also requested for the following: 

  • Training and courses   
  • Essential equipment such as cameras, microphones, lighting, and digital software
  • Commuting costs
  • Care costs 
  • Living costs   

Shannon Rewcroft, an actor based in Yorkshire, said: “This bursary is unbelievably helpful. It allows me to invest in my creative practice and enables activities that wouldn’t have been possible before. As well as the financial support, being awarded this bursary has been re-energising, giving me confidence and focus to move ahead and make exciting plans for 2023!”

This is the second bursary from the Creative Access and McLaren Racing partnership, formed in June 2021 under the McLaren Racing Engage alliance, which aims to diversify talent in motorsport.  

Bibi Hilton, CEO of Creative Access, says: “With the cost-of-living outstripping earnings, particularly for those trying to live and work in London, our Career Development Bursary has never been more critical.   

“Last year’s successful applicants went on to do amazing things with the funding they received. From this, we can see how equipment like laptops and cameras, help with travel costs, and driving lessons can make all the difference to someone looking to break into or progress in the creative economy.   

“We’re proud to have been able to help more than double the number of people this year, and we can’t wait to see what they do next. There are too many talented people missing out on opportunities to develop their careers and share their knowledge and experiences and, ultimately, enrich our creative industries because of financial barriers and we’re working hard to address this imbalance.”   

 Kate O’Hara-Hatchley, Head of Diversity, Early Careers and Development, commented: “McLaren Racing are thrilled to support the second Career Development Bursary alongside Creative Access.  This is a significant step in our commitment to ensuring that everyone, irrespective of background and financial status, has equal access and opportunities in all creative industries, such as those at McLaren Racing. We are excited to continue to help open more doors, break down barriers and inspire the next generation.” 

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