Levelling Up: Creative England’s Chris Filip: “I’ve created a network who want to work with me because I always ask ‘How can I help you?’ and I deliver on my promises.”

Chris Filip, programme manager at Creative England, talks on building a network, taking a long-term approach to experience, and the value of seeing the wider context

What is your job role and how would you describe your typical day at work?

I am a programme manager for Creative England’s bespoke Creative Enterprise programme, developed with National Lottery funding from the BFI. As part of the non-profit group Creative UK, we create opportunities for creative entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

Together with the Creative Enterprise team and our partners, I design and deliver a number of business support and funding programmes, including the New Ideas Fund, the Evolve Investor Readiness programme, and the Games ScaleUp programme.

A typical day at work begins with reading emails and reviewing new applications we may have received, then catching up with the news from our policy and press teams, before starting on my day-to-day tasks. These usually involve communicating with the different members of the team and our programme speakers, as well as designing support sessions or giving feedback to our Project Coordinators and delivery partners such as Ukie.

What qualifications and/or experience do you need to land this job?

In my case it was my past work supporting game developers and businesses to grow, and my wider experience in the games industry. My role specifically focuses on building programmes that give opportunities to practitioners in the English regions outside of London.

Having worked with Game Anglia in the East of England I have an understanding of the challenges facing the games industry outside of London, and my experience designing and delivering sessions at the Tentacle Zone showed my ability to help businesses to grow.

Taking a long-term approach to gaining experience and growing your network also helps. I started working in the UK games sector four years ago, with zero connections, but in that time I’ve created a network of individuals and organisations who know and want to work with me because I always ask ‘How can I help you?’, and I deliver on my promises.

My contacts also include emerging voices in the sector, who are exactly the type of people I’m looking to engage with in my new role.

If you were interviewing someone for your team, what would you look for?

Our team works with the screen industry outside of London, so I would look for someone with experience of supporting creative businesses across the wider UK landscape. I would also consider how their knowledge can add to the team,  for example a background in VFX or immersive. Lastly, I would value a passion for the creative sectors and the ability to join the dots. While our work is specialist and we often speak to people very focused on particular disciplines, it is also important that we can understand the wider context of the creative and screen industries, as well as our role within it.

What opportunities are there for career progression?

If you have a look at the CVs for our company’s employees, you will be hard pressed to find a typical progression trend. I really appreciate the breadth of the company’s mission, scope and influence, which allows me to explore my interests and develop my skills.

As programme manager, I can gain experience across different areas including project management, marketing, events, business development, stakeholder engagement and content curation.

All of these are transferable skills which can allow someone in my role to pursue whatever career route they seek, across any creative sub sector. This can range from leading or managing partnerships, to creative consultancy and business development, or curating and delivering large-scale events.

About Chris Wallace

Chris is a freelancer writer and was MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer from November 2019 until May 2022. He joined the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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