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Programmes help young people find jobs in cultural sector

  • Date: 29 November 2012
  • Area: North
Aimi Walton stands in shadows in front of pipes

Freedom Studios Creative Apprentice Aimi Walton in a publicity shoot for 'The Mill - City of Dreams'. Credit: Tim Smith

More than one million young people are currently unemployed yet some cultural and creative employers are finding it hard to recruit the employees they need. If young people are unable to enter the cultural sector then there is a risk of losing a generation of talent.

Among the schemes to help combat this issue are the Arts Council's Creative employment programme and an initiative across the north of England where the Arts Council is working with the Department of Work and Pensions and Jobcentre Plus.

The Creative employment programme is designed to support up to 6,500 new apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships and paid internships across the sector. It aims to provide unemployed people aged 16-24 (graduate and non-graduate) with paid opportunities to gain access to on the job training, skills and experience, linking to one of the Arts Council goals of creating fairer entry routes into the arts and cultural sector and increasing workforce diversity. The National Skills Academy, the delivery arm of Creative & Cultural Skills, has been appointed as the national provider for the programme.

Young people in the north of England in particular are struggling to find paid employment and the Arts Council is working with the Department of Work and Pensions through the Jobcentre Plus network to address this. By promoting the benefits that local companies would gain from offering paid work and apprenticeship opportunities to young people, such as new ideas and an injection of energy and enthusiasm, it is hoped more companies will take part.

Bradford-based theatre company Freedom Studios experienced tangible benefits from employing apprentices. The organisation increased its use of social media and developed its digital strategy by taking advantage of their apprentice's knowledge and enthusiasm for digital technology.

Another young person worked in the marketing and cultural development team at Customs House in South Shields, achieving a Bronze and Silver Arts Award during his placement. He enhanced his knowledge of the arts and cultural sector, delivering workshops in schools, as well as developing his own creative business by creating stage sets for a production by its youth theatre.

Horse and Bamboo Theatre Company in Rossendale received funding through the Future Jobs Fund to provide a job for a young person who had been unemployed for almost two years. Having gained experience across all the organisation's activities, he was subsequently offered the role of a general assistant when the funding expired.

More information about the Creative Employment Programme can be found here.

Organisations who are interested in recruiting a young worker and benefitting from a package of practical and financial support through Job Centre Plus can find more information here.