Invitation to take part: Improving Diversity in Craft Businesses with Cockpit

by Sep 20, 2022Charity partners, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Heritage crafts, News

Cockpit Studios logo

Calling all craft businesses. The craft world has a diversity problem – let’s change that.

Craft businesses are invited to get involved in a new project to help improve diversity in the craft workforce. Our vision is a future industry where anyone, from any background, can get in and get on. Help us make it happen.

Between October 2022 and July 2023, we will work with five businesses to explore and develop new approaches to improving workforce diversity.

The opportunity is open to companies with three or more employees, working in any craft discipline, and based anywhere in the UK. This is a chance for you to get support to reflect on your business practices and put in place new approaches to ultimately grow and strengthen your business.

Want to take part? Let us know by 3rd October 2022 – all the details are below.

Commissioned by the City & Guilds Foundation, the project is delivered by Cockpit and independent consultant Sara Whybrew. For more information, contact

The details

The City & Guilds Foundation has commissioned Cockpit and consultant Sara Whybrew to run a project to explore the barriers and opportunities to greater diversity in the craft workforce.

Between October 2022 and July 2023, the project will explore current understanding of equity, diversity and inclusion, identify existing good practice, and explore how we can overcome barriers to improve diversity.

We are seeking five craft businesses to take part. You can be based anywhere in the UK and working in any craft practice. You simply need to be open to reflecting on your approach and prepared to be bold about trialing new ways of working.

We will ask you to:

  • Engage openly, allowing us to interview staff, including the Managing Director (or equivalent) about your ways of working
  • Give us access to any relevant policies or procedures. Examples here may include policies on dignity at work, equal opportunities, staff wellbeing, or staff development
  • Share your approaches to recruitment including examples of your hiring methods
  • Be prepared to try out time-limited interventions* and help evaluate their impact
  • Inform recommendations for taking equity, diversity, and inclusion support to scale

* we mean ‘interventions’ in the broadest sense – including changes to operating cultures and behaviours or specific programmes of activities and/or actions.

Our approach will be exploratory. We want to find out what support might help craft businesses further open their doors to a new and diverse pool of future talent.

This project will also seek to improve understanding, and adoption of, inclusive working cultures to aid ‘good work’ practices. We will share anonymous findings to inform funders and policy makers.

Participating companies will be asked to give time initially between October 2022 and January 2023 with further input to be negotiated in early 2023.

Want to get involved?

Please put in a short Expression of Interest by 5pm on Monday 3rd October. This should state:

  • Why you would like to participate in this project (max 400 words)
  • The craft discipline your company specialises in
  • The number of employees/workers you currently have
  • Your geographical location
  • Contact details for the main point of contact

Please send this by email to Sara Whybrew at Please also get in touch with Sara if you have any questions about the project in advance of submitting an Expression of Interest.

We aim to notify interested businesses of our final selection by Monday 10th October.

Thanks in advance for your interest in this project.

About Cockpit

Cockpit is London’s leading centre for contemporary craft. Bridging the gap between talent and opportunity, we empower makers to succeed creatively and commercially.

Established in 1986, we are the UK’s largest, most diverse cluster of makers and the country’s only craft business incubator, recognised on the NatWest SE100 index 2022 of top-performing social enterprises.

Home to 160 makers, practicing in over 20 different disciplines – from ceramics to fine jewellery, handweaving to bespoke tailoring – we equip talented people with the tools to succeed: specialist studio space and equipment, in-house business coaching and public showcases. We work with hundreds more makers through careers programmes, outreach, training and consultancy in the UK and internationally.

Creativity, innovation and business success are fuelled by diversity. At Cockpit we foster an inclusive, ambitious culture where all aspects of diversity are seen as fundamental to achievement. Recognising that talent is everywhere but opportunity is not, over three decades our mission has been to break down and overcome the barriers standing in the way of creative success.

Find out more about Cockpit on their website.

About Sara Whybrew

Sara is a cultural sector skills and workforce development specialist with over 20 years’ experience. She has created and run high profile careers and youth job creation initiatives including the multi-million-pound Creative Employment Programme and the award-winning Discover Creative Careers Week. Sara has previously held roles at Arts Council England and Creative & Cultural Skills and is currently leading the pilot for the Flexi Job Apprenticeship Scheme in Screen Production at ScreenSkills. Sara is passionate about diversifying entry into work across the cultural industries.

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