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Why Fatima’s next job should NOT be in Cyber

The government have launched another barrage on the creative industry – Quelle surprise. In their latest display of crass misjudgement, one part of the new CyberFirst campaign features Fatima, a ballerina. It reads: ‘Fatima’s next job could be in cyber (she just doesn’t know it yet)’ accompanied with yet another hogwash slogan, ‘Rethink. Reskill. Reboot.’ 

But this is much more than a PR headache. The damning subtext screams: ‘Fatima, your pointe shoes are no longer bringing in money for us. We’re sorry (ish), but you’re going to have to become more useful. So, what we’re asking you to do is quite simple. All you need to do is spurn all aspirations of doing something you love. Instead, you need to do something more fund-worthy like CyBeR. Oh yes, pandemonium has broken loose in the job market—oopsy—well, anyway good luck!’

Particularly tone-deaf is the discounting of the team behind the campaign. Hair? Makeup? Photographer? Lighting technician? Graphic designer? Not sure any of those jobs fall under the misty and illustrious title of ‘Cyber’. Forceful divisions were created between the government and the arts a long time ago. But have we not learnt our lesson? Annihilating culture will disrupt the very fabric of society. We’d have no books to read, no music to listen to, no performances to see, and no films to watch. 

Downing Street has acknowledged that the campaign hit a bit below the belt and have taken it down. We must concede, government apologies are scarcer than jobs in cyber. But they clearly know nothing about cyber, because once on the internet, always on the internet. Progressive youths—our masters of first-rate sarcasm—have made the campaign a viral meme: 

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Jokes aside, how would one even go about getting a job in cyber? Well, adverts for positions on say you need to be qualified. And getting qualified requires time and money. Even if we found the time and the money, the education system doesn’t tend to facilitate discipline switching. At fourteen, children are forced to make transformative (and often uninformed) decisions on what subjects to take and what to drop for GCSE. At sixteen, children select three subjects for their A levels. At eighteen, some go onto undergraduate study if they can fulfil the entry requirements, which usually means getting a good grade in that subject at A level. It seems that the government is playing a game, and creatives don’t want to play. 

As the Local Government Association claims ‘local creative industries can be the cornerstone of recovery for our communities and local economies from the impacts of Covid-19’. Bringing in £10 billion a year to the UK economy, the creative industry shouldn’t be sneered at nor exploited. Yet the utility of the creative industry is not just financial, it is social. Entertainment has stabilised what has been a very wobbly year; it has given us solace and hope in these dire times and it will continue to do so beyond them. Every Fatima contributes to the culture that houses the best parts of our national identity. We need you, Fatima, 2020 is not your Swansong. 

Fatima ripping off her dancing shoes and picking up a software manual would be a very shoddy end to the Nutcracker. So, here’s another slogan for you, Boris. Leave. Fatima. Alone. 

Image Credit: Harmeet Singh via Strategy Online