Getting ready to graduate? 5 tips for new creative workers

The week in Creative Money - 23 April, 2021

Creative Money aims to have an open conversation about finances in the creative industries. 

It was founded in July, 2020 in an attempt to address a frustrating lack of relatable financial guidance for creative workers and is written by me, Matt Parker, a music journalist and lecturer.

Hello! This week I’ve written a new post (Getting ready to graduate? 5 tips for new creative workers) with the aim of offering a few pointers to new arts graduates preparing to enter the creative industries.

Hindsight is 20/20, of course. I did not do all of these things, but I certainly wish I had – and I graduated into the (comparably friendly) credit crunch, not the worst recession since 1709…

I’m also in the process of running some workshops for creative students, looking at ways to prepare financially and transition to life outside of education. It’s often treated as a ‘between’ period and overlooked when you think about how much advice is out there around picking courses, or after that, starting careers.

On reflection, I learned a lot in those first few years of treading water after education. I got bad jobs, I lost jobs (redundancy), I signed-on, I scrounged up cash from selling my stuff, I made endless applications, I interviewed for roles for which I was wildly unsuited, I interned and eventually I landed a great job. That time did far more to shape me and my approach to my work and lifestyle than anything I learned at university.

I’ve attempted to boil down some of the key questions (including some info on how and when you actually repay your student loan – a mystery to many of us) below. If you know anyone in their final year, please pass it on to them.

Read the new post: Getting ready to graduate? 5 tips for new creative workers

Otherwise, you’ll find the usual funding opps and news round-ups below. I hope you find something useful. If you do, give this a like and share it – it’s super helpful in getting it out there, particularly as I am still stubbornly offering minimal social media posts...

Until next time,


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What do you need to know this week?

  1. Part-time music teacher discusses how she is aiming for early retirement (Times Money Mentor/The Frugal Cottage)

  2. Find out if your bank is funding climate chaos here (Bank Green)

  3. Penguin Books publisher Katy Loftus on leaving London (The Bookseller)

  4. TV worker? Track the time you actually work in the name of better rates (The Time Project)

  5. GPs to prescribe financial advice to patients with long-term conditions (The Guardian)

    And finally…

Grants and funding opportunities for UK creative workers


A new programme benefitting seven London-based artists with two years of support through rent–free studio space, professional development opportunities and a bursary of £1,000 a year. Deadline: 26 April, 2021

CLOSING: British Fashion Council Changemakers Prize

Open to anyone working in UK fashion. The three winners will receive a mentorship package that offers support to continue their work within the industry and a cash prize of £5,000. Deadline: 30 April, 2021.

Girls I Rate #GetHeard A&R competition

Entrants must be women aged 16-30 who can submit a track that they have written or composed. Prizes include bursaries of up to £3,000, ICMP scholarship and the chance to get your music heard by decision makers from PRS for Music, BMG, YouTube and DownTown, among others. Deadline: 31 May, 2021

All Stories Mentorship scheme

A free mentorship programme for underrepresented children’s book writers. Fourteen mentorships are available, each delivered by a freelance editor, from September 2021 to February 2022. Must be unpublished to apply. Deadline: 31 May, 2021

OPENING: Unscripted TV Skills fund

A new fund going live on 1 June 2021 which will address skills gaps and shortages in unscripted television across the UK and build a bigger pool of off-screen crew and talent in the nations and regions. Deadline: TBC, opening 1 June, 2021

PageMasters Publication Fund

£500 in-house production budget for a new or existing publication or zine focusing on themes of gender, race, disability, care, class, politics and/or art. Deadline: 1 June, 2021

Society of Authors Sunday Times Young Writer Of The Year Award

Prize of £5,000 is awarded for a full-length published or self-published (in book or ebook formats) work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, by a British or Irish author aged 18-35 years. There are three awards of £500 each for runners-up. Deadline: 22 June, 2021

Elan Valley Creative Wales Fellowship Award 2021-22

Offers established creative practitioners, based in Wales, a chance to experiment and develop their practice, while giving them time away from usual commitments in a beautiful, inspiring setting. The Fellowship includes six months’ accommodation within a one-year period, and a £9,000 bursary. Deadline: 25 June, 2021

Society of Authors Contingency Fund
Helps writers, illustrators, literary translators, scriptwriters, poets, journalists and others, whose author-related activities make up a substantial amount of their annual income. Grants range in value from £500 to £2,000. Deadline: ongoing

ArtCry grants
ArtCry is setup to provide a rapid turnaround of funding for art works responding to current events. Grants of up to £5,000 with a panel of artists, activists, creators and producers making decisions on applications within a week. Deadline: ongoing

Help Musicians Hardship Fund
The third phase of one of the major support funds for musicians is now open and will support successful applicants with a monthly top-up until March 2021. Deadline: ongoing

Actor's Children Trust hardship grants
ACT continues to pay Corona-crisis grants of £300 per family per month towards food and bills, as well as specific grants for children’s costs.  Please use the contact form so we can check your eligibility as an actor under ACT’s criteria. Deadline: ongoing

Royal Variety Charity Financial Assistance grants
The Royal Variety Charity is uniquely positioned to provide financial assistance to anyone who serves any facet of the Entertainment Industry. Deadline: ongoing

The White Pube Writers Grant funded by Creative Debuts
£500 given out monthly to a working class writer based in the UK. This grant has been set up to support writers of all ages who are early in their careers and would benefit from this no-strings attached financial support to help them in whatever they like. Deadline: ongoing

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