“I agree it was crass,” Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden tweeted on Monday, adding that his staff were not involved in the advertisement, which was part of a “partner campaign encouraging people from all walks of life to think about a career in cyber security.”
Reactions to the advertisement dovetailed with broader criticism that officials have not found ways to communicate effectively with workers facing tenuous employment during the pandemic. Fatboy Slim, a popular British DJ and music producer, said that the government was “throwing the arts under a bus.”
The anger came after beta version of a quiz developed by the British government to help people prepare for career changes became the subject of gallows humor among arts workers last week. The Department of Education quiz asked 50 questions to help respondents decide what careers might best suit them.
But those who took the quiz were often perturbed by the suggestions. This reporter took the test last week and was advised to consider a new career in boxing or as a soccer referee. On Twitter, other users shared images of recommendations that they become lock keepers or airline pilots.
The ballet advertisement, published on the website of training firm QA, appeared to suggest that a ballet dancer named Fatima could soon have a job in cybersecurity, although she did not yet know it.
It was part of a campaign dubbed “Rethink. Reskill. Reboot” — part of CyberFirst, a program launched in 2019 by Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre that encourages young people to get training for careers related to technology.
But for many in the British creative and arts industries, it was interpreted as a further sign that the government did not support them amid venue closures and dwindling opportunities.
Others retweeted the image with a hashtag for “Save