More than half a million Australians now work in the creative sector, making it one of the fastest growing and most dynamic segments in the national economy.
Creative professionals now outnumber mining sector employees by three to one. Gone are the days when a creative career was seen as foolish, or unrealistic. Creative careers are very much the currency of the future.
Our local hub of creative media education, the SAE Institute in Byron Bay, is keen to offer our local creatives the chance to grow their employment opportunities by offering a 2017 Northern Rivers Creative Media Scholarship program.
Lee Aitken is the general manager for SAE Southern Campuses, which includes six in Australia, and three outside Australia, in Auckland, Jakarta and Capetown.
As industry educators, Mr Aitken sees the valuable role creatives have in the national GDP.
‘The creative industries in 2014 were valued at $33 billion and they are expecting the entertainment media market to grow to $39.8 billion in the coming years.
We are seeing a focus towards digital industry, the increased growth of a creative economy, and that’s where our courses are skilling people – for that future. It’s providing people for skills in the future that we don’t know how to define in some instances. In many instances we are training people for jobs that haven’t been created yet.’
The $8,000 scholarships will be made available for up to 50 students commencing a diploma course at SAE in Byron Bay in February 2017.
That includes a Diploma of Screen and Media (Digital Media Production), Diploma of Music Industry (Electronic Music Production) and Diploma of Music Industry (Sound Production).
‘We recognise that the northern rivers is a creative media hub,’ says Mr Aitken. ‘It produces award-winning creative projects on a regular basis, and there are significant employment projects in the area. We know study options are limited in regional locations, so we want to support locals in that creative community and we recognise the value in having them do their study here at home.’
Scholarships are open to all local residents.
‘Whether you are a school leaver or a mature person, it’s open to anyone who is residing in the area or has the intention to reside in the area,’ says Mr Aitken.
One of the key strengths of the Byron SAE campus is its engagement in local industry.
‘I see community engagement as vital,’ says Mr Aitken. ‘It’s important to be involved and to be listening and working in the creative culture – and it’s important for our students to have work experience.
‘We have strong industry liaison as its the core of what we do. That relationship with industry and that connection makes the employability of the student much higher.’
Mr Aitken believes that the scholarships will offer support to students who are faced with challenges around access and equity.
‘That is part of the reason we value the regional campus and want to make sure it’s accessible for local students.’
Applicants can submit online or contact SAE by phone or email and speak to a course adviser. ‘Applicants do not necessarily have to have a portfolio or a show reel. We recognise that not all students have been exposed to creative means. All applicants participate in an interview because it’s about motivation and aspiration,’ says Mr Aitken.
A scholarship information session will be held at Byron Bay SAE campus on 19 January, 4–7pm. Applications for scholarships close on Monday 23 January 2017.
For more information visit www.sae.edu.au/scholarships.