It’s been a strange year for the world. We’ve all faced life-changing challenges, we have overcome them with determination and courage. But even as we see light at the end of the tunnel, it continues to be a devastating time for job seekers everywhere, particularly those wanting to pursue a career in the creative arts.

I work in Cornwall as a freelance creative writer. In 2020, I graduated Falmouth University, and like many of my peers, I hoped to leave my studies and fall straight into my dream job. Sadly, the world had other plans.

With the arrival of Covid-19, the world came to a standstill, and in the creative sector, the work all but dried up. Performances were cancelled, venues closed, literary festivals (and any kind of festival!) put on hold. Like many, I felt that my creative opportunities had all but disappeared for the time being.

As I live with someone who is high-risk, we were both forced to shield for the past year, and it has taken its toll on our work lives. Unable to leave the house, I spent most of lockdown working on writing projects that had been on the back burner during my studies. However, without a steady income, I was eventually forced to apply for universal credit. And it was the best thing I ever did.

My work coach immediately recommended me to the Real Ideas Organisation, a social enterprise that helps unemployed young people by providing courses and opportunities related to their chosen career – and as long as you’re out of work, it’s all completely free.

There are various courses available from the creative arts to gaming to hospitality. As a writer, I enrolled on the Emerging Creatives course, and alongside a small team, we spent six weeks designing and creating an entrepreneurial project which we later presented to professionals in the industry.

The course allowed me to improve my professional skills and self-confidence in a safe and friendly setting with others like myself, some of whom have become good friends in such a short space of time. At the end of the course, I was awarded digital badges that have been extremely useful in applying for jobs, as they are recognised by all employers.

But the best part of this course, in my opinion, was not even the course itself, as beneficial as it is. It was the wonderful people that I have met along the way, and the staff at Real Ideas, who have been an incredible support before, during and after the course. My mentor, Kate Rogers, has gone above and beyond to get me back into work. Through weekly phone calls and emails, she has recommended job opportunities related to my skills and helped me to apply for further courses, which have been fully funded by the Government. I am currently working on my TEFL, which will allow me to teach English to foreign students from the safety of my home.

Joining the Real Ideas team has been an extremely beneficial opportunity for me, and I would recommend it to everyone. The team are so friendly, supportive, and respectful of everyone’s individual skills and experience, and I cannot thank them enough for their involvement in restarting my career.

You can find a link to my website here!