Government ridiculed for advert suggesting a ballet dancer should retrain to work 'in cyber'

Joanna Taylor
Monday 12 October 2020 11:00
news
(Twitter)

People are sharing hilarious parodies of a government-backed advert that appears to urge a ballet dancer to retrain in IT.

The CyberFirst ad was released last year as part of a campaign encouraging people to "rethink" their careers and consider a job in the digital sector.

Although the government supported the campaign and their logo appears on the ad, some have sought to distance themselves from it.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden tweeted that the advert is "crass" and not associated with his department.

The government has been under pressure to provide increased financial support for the arts and culture sector, which has been hard hit by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. But they have stirred controversy by suggesting that some workers should retrain and seek employment elsewhere.

Recently, chancellor Rishi Sunak sparked backlash by telling ITV News that people "in all walks of life" have to "adapt" to the new job market. Artists and entertainers responded by sharing the results of a government questionnaire designed to suggest possible careers to fit a person's skill set.

Sunak's comments were not specifically aimed at people in the arts and culture sector – and nor was the CyberFirst campaign. But as people working in one of the most impacted industries, it is primarily artists and entertainers who have taken to trolling the government over their implication that some people need to forgo their current careers and retrain.

This latest Twitter storm is indicative of the arts and culture sector's frustration with the government. But it was not released by the government in response to pandemic-related job losses, as some social media posts implied.

It is also indicative of the poor taste of this particular ad. QA, who ran the campaign along with the government, have been contacted for comment on the controversy surrounding it.

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