Skills and training
Unlike a traditional job, there are no entry requirement for a position that you build yourself. Obviously there are exceptions that vary sector-by-sector, so it's worth researching your specific job role (or as close to is as you can find) in our job role database before you commit.
For example, on-set film technicians working with lighting equipment require electrical qualifications, and for many of the roles that require working in hazardous environments, you will need basic first aid certification.
New entrants with graduate degrees have been steadily increasing in the creative industries since 2003, up to 78% in 2014, compared to 32% in the wider economy. Permanent employees are 4% more likely to have a degree, however. On top of that, 28% have been educated to a postgraduate level.
Interestingly, there has been a massive uptake of creative media degrees, up from 24% in 2003 to 51% in 2014, now a firm majority. So, if anyone says that your degree won't get you a job, you can point them to our statistics.
Although only 1% of the workforce are apprentices or ex-apprentices, this number is set to grow quickly, with a massive push for the programme and an increasing demand from employers in recent years. Plus you can be self-employed while you're in education. A win-win, really.
If you start out as a nomad without your own desk, you'll run into the first hurdle of freelancing. Whereas most offices will provide you with a desk, a computer and a reasonably comfy chair, you'll now be expected to provide you own equipment. Whether that's a laptop to design on, recording equipment for radio or even just basic tools for creating costumes, props or sets.
It does vary from industry to industry, of course. In advertising, it's customary to offer freelancers a hot-desk (a desk reserved full-time for transient staff members), as well as a phone and company email account, where appropriate. And in some VFX roles you'll be offered a workstation, depending on your responsibilities.
Your first contact with a client should involve a discussion about the tools you need to work, and whether you'll be expected to join them in their office or work remotely. When this involves travelling, you then have to question if your rate can cover your travel and accommodation expenses, if they're not covered by the company.
This can seem complex, but it pays to set out your ground rules early on. If it's not feasible to purchase, maintain and insure your own tools in your sector, make sure rental costs are part of your initial pitch so that you can do your best work, with the equipment you need.