Small Talk: It’s vital for start-ups that we nurture creative talent

 

Conflicting interpretations of the figures published by exam boards in recent weeks have prompted much debate over the current state of Britain’s education system.

While many have been cheered by the news that more students than ever secured their first choice of university, others have expressed alarm as GCSE grades dropped for a second successive year, plummeting by a record margin.

A worrying trend that has emerged reveals an unhealthy bias in the education system, and threatens to suffocate economic growth if not adequately addressed. Data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) shows university students are shunning arts and humanities courses in favour of more practical subjects they see as more likely to burnish their employment credentials.

More young people are taking science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) subjects at A-level while applications for Stem degrees are up by 4.4 per cent this year, and by more than a quarter in the past five years.

Ever since annual tuition fees were tripled to a minimum of £9,000 last year, one parent in 10 now advises their child to choose a vocational course, such as law or accountancy, to give them a better chance of a job.

This tilt towards the Stem subjects does an injustice to creative study, and unfairly implies the arts make a lesser contribution to the economy. At the root of the problem lies a distorted interpretation of the economic value of creative industries, as well as what is needed for a well-rounded economy. The irony of this perception is that it is entirely contradicted by the performance of the creative industries, which generate £70,000 a minute and account for 10 per cent of exports.

This misguided view undervalues one of the main strengths of the UK’s education system, recognised the world over for the richness of its creative and artistic traditions.

Nor does it ring true to say that the arts are incompatible with business. Research by Oxford University last month showed that, far from limiting their career options by opting to study the likes of history or English, arts graduates work across the economy’s key sectors. One need only look at the chief executives charged with running FTSE 100 companies – 34 per cent of whom have an arts background.

More often than not, a creative background is invaluable in business, prompting innovative and original thinking of the kind not encouraged by scientific study. Sir Jonathan ‘Jony’ Ive, an Essex-born design graduate, is now described as the most valuable Briton after helping turn Apple into the world’s most successful tech company.

My social enterprise, School for Creative Startups, was established to encourage those with an artistic bent to use their talents to set up businesses that will fuel the UK’s creative economy. We run programmes in London and Kent but intend to expand elsewhere.

There’s a broad international demand for British products and services across sectors that depend on the creative industries. The strength of Britain’s creative industries means that the UK is in a unique position to cater for the world’s needs, whether by supplying writing staff for Hollywood blockbusters or designers for fashion houses.

By diminishing the importance of the creative industries, we do a disservice to people with a natural inclination towards the arts and humanities. Whether due to pushy parents or a result of the Government’s obsession with pursuing Stem subjects, not enough time is afforded to encouraging young people to adopt a career that would allow them to flourish.

Instead, there’s an expectation that people should pursue vocations in which they are unlikely ever to excel. By pushing too many young people towards careers that only serve the economy rather than help it to expand, Britain is heading towards a skills imbalance that will prove damaging in the long run.

Of course we need the service industries, but we also need the designers, architects, ad men and composers who provide the products that encourage people to invest in British industry.

Doug Richard is founder of School for Creative Startups. For more information on the Kent programme visit: www.schoolforcreativestartups.com/kent/programme/ or growforiteastkent.com.

New well has Nostra Terra on right trail

Aim-listed Nostra Terra Oil & Gas has had a good summer. The explorer kicked off drilling at its seventh well in the Chisholm Trail prospect in Oklahoma earlier this month, and is expected  to announce a new well in another American  state soon.

At the Chisholm Trail, Nostra Terra works with operators across 21 potential locations in the Hunton formation in the area, and this seventh well effectively doubles the potential size and opportunities of its prospect there.

Every well the group has drilled in the area has exceeded expectations. It is in a new oil formation for the group – the Mississippi Lime formation, which is known to be oil rich . Investors hope it will improve cash flow, which will help the group fund new wells.

Small Businessman of the Week: Duane Jackson,  founder, KashFlow

I grew up in children’s homes in the East End of London and left school at 15 with no qualifications.

I ended up serving a five-year prison sentence for drug trafficking. On my release, I couldn’t get a job. So, since I’d taught myself computer programming as a teenager, I decided to use those skills to become a self-employed web developer.

All the software I looked at to help me do my invoicing and keep accounts was utterly awful – clunky, confusing and used lots of jargon. So I decided to write a web-based app for my own use. Eventually I realised every other owner-manager of a small business had the same problem, so I started making my own product available for others to use – and KashFlow was born in 2006.

I was fortunate in my timing: web-based software has now become the norm, and revenues have doubled year-on-year. I can see lots of other small-business areas that would benefit from the same approach: remove the jargon, and make it easy to use with no training.

David Prosser is away.

Sport
premier leagueLive: All the latest news and scores from today's matches
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
News
politics
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Data Analyst/Planning and Performance – Surrey – Up to £35k

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker