ERIC Festival is a revolutionary new type of careers fair. Forget boring stalls, free pens and recruiters in suits – think stages, entertainment and relevant content. We spoke to the co-founders Mae and Samantha about their inspiration behind the careers fair and how to get your dream career in the Creative Industries.
Where did the inspiration to put on ERIC fest come from?
ERIC was an idea born from our own experiences. Mae and I grew up together, and we always both had very clear passions – Mae wanted to work in fashion and I wanted to get into TV. However, the older we got the more those dreams seemed impossible, which doesn’t make any sense. Surely, the older and wiser you get the more you learn how to position yourself to be able to do the things you want? But with the creative industries, that’s never the case. You hear about these people who made it as film stars, or musicians who are selling millions of records, but you never actually hear about the attainable jobs behind the scenes, resulting in a world that seems totally inaccessible from the outside – because all you’re hearing about are the million-to-one-shot jobs.
Mae and I encountered this and many other barriers ourselves. But the main barrier is that the creative industries are totally and unnecessarily opaque to someone growing up who has no connections within those industries. So, we decided to do something about it by providing the resources, information and motivation that young people need in a non-traditional career fair environment. Something like ERIC Festival is long overdue – the number of people who say to us ‘I wish this had been around when I was at younger and trying to get a job’ is mad!
What are your current roles in the creative industries?
We’ve been running a video production company for the last three years, but before that Mae was an accountant and I was working in a tech startup, so we haven’t always been creative! We love working in video production though, you meet so many people from every walk of life.
What is the most challenging aspect of organising a careers festival like ERIC fest?
The most challenging thing would be the financials – but that’s the same in every business. Aside from that, there aren’t really any challenges! Everything about ERIC is enjoyable, even when it’s stressful!
What other creative roles or people do you work alongside for ERIC fest?
We work alongside so many creative people and companies, it’s at the core of what we do. Our favourite people to work with though are our audience who are the creatives of tomorrow. We have an incredibly strong ethos that the festival is run for young people by young people. This means that we are constantly working with our audience to come up with ideas and innovations to put in the next festival.
Mae and I learn so much from the students at Big Creative Education (one of our key partners), who are always there when we need focus groups, ideas for the interior decoration, which speakers they’d like to see – it’s so important we make sure the festival stays young and on trend. We also work closely with Hiive who have an amazing creative audience and The h.Club Foundation who give us the insanely creative and impressive The Hospital Club to do our events in.
Where would you like to see ERIC fest in 5 years’ time?
We’re working towards a big 2 day event in the centre of the UK that will be part music festival, part creative culture show, part creative careers fair. We want to hold one every year outside like an actual festival, people can stay overnight if they want or just come for one of the days and it would essentially be somewhere people can go to understand more about the creative industries, see the latest creative products and listen to some amazing music – all for free.
Creative education should be free and accessible for everyone. That’s how we are hoping to tackle the lack of diversity issues as well as the rise of nepotism and other problems in the creative industries. We have big plans!
What 3 main skills are needed to do your jobs?
Confidence (often blind or bordering on insanity!) and focus are very helpful. You have to believe in what you’re doing and be a dreamer but always have a degree of focus to make sure you don’t get carried away. Much harder to do than it sounds!
I know it isn’t really a skill, but support is a key ingredient to putting on ERIC Festival. If Mae and I didn’t have each other, we would definitely not have made it this far!
What advice do you have for young people trying to crack the music industry?
Networking is so important – don’t be afraid to ask people out for a coffee! Even people who work in the music industry love to be taken out for a free coffee! Also, everyone has an ego and the majority of people will love it if someone asks them to give them some advice. Flattery will get you everywhere! And finally, don’t be afraid to stand out. It’s an incredibly competitive market, so go the extra mile when you’re designing your CV, or sending over a cover letter.