The Creative Society is an arts employment charity that helps young people into jobs in the creative and cultural industries.
The Speaker’s Parliamentary Placement Scheme is providing nine month paid internships in MPs’ parliamentary offices in London. There are 10 positions available with MPs from 4 political parties: Conservatives, Labour, SNP and Plaid Cymru. The Speaker’s Parliamentary Placement Scheme aims to tackle the culture of unpaid internships by providing a nine month paid work experience placement designed to open up Parliament to people from disadvantaged backgrounds who are interested in politics but who would not be able to afford to work without a wage.
The Scheme is open to people of any age (no younger than 18), from all walks of life and every nation and region in the UK. In previous years, successful candidates have ranged from school leavers, to those in their mid-50s, and they moved to London from many different parts of the UK.
Successful candidates will spend their time getting to understand parliament by working with an MP in their office from Monday – Thursday. They will spend their Fridays in different departments in the House of Commons to gain an insight into how Parliament functions. Each intern will work in 2 departments, rotating halfway through the scheme. Examples of departments they could be working in are the House of Commons Library, Governance Office and Visitor Services. The scheme also provides interns with: a chance to find out how business interacts with politics through a series of corporate away days hosted by the scheme sponsors; a change to learn more about different career paths in politics through series of Masterclasses ; and a personal career coach to help with finding employment at the end of the scheme.
The Scheme gives successful candidates a detailed understanding of how the House of Commons operates, providing them with work experience in the political sector along with the experience of working as part of a team in a small office environment. The aim is to equip participants with the skills and knowledge necessary to secure full-time employment after the scheme. Many of the interns previously on the scheme still work in the House of Commons as Parliamentary Assistants or in other departments.
The Scheme is due to start in September, date TBC. During the first two weeks, successful candidates will be provided with tours of the House of Commons and introductory talks on the workings of it, as well as training in Microsoft Office, including introductions to Word, Excel and Outlook to equip candidates with a basic working knowledge.
Successful candidates will need to complete a comprehensive security check in order to gain full access to parliament.
The Speaker’s Parliamentary Placements Scheme welcomes enquiries and applications from everyone and values diversity in its workforce.
The Speaker’s Parliamentary Placements Scheme is an initiative currently led by Dan Jarvis MP with strong support from the Speaker of the House of Commons.
Speaker’s Parliamentary Placement Scheme: Parliamentary Intern
Wage: £9.40 per hour (London Living Wage).
Contract: 9 months.
Location: Portcullis House, Westminster, Central London.
Reports to: MP and in their absence, a member of staff within the MP’s office.
Hours: 37.5 hours/week (some evening work may occasionally be required) .
Duties and Responsibilities
Please note that this list is not exhaustive and duties will vary depending on the MP office successful candidates are assigned to. To get a better idea of the differences between the offices, please visit our Meet the Interns page and click on their profiles, which contain a description of their working week. All successful candidates will be office based and the role will revolve heavily around general office administration.
- Scanning and logging correspondence
- Answering calls
- Greeting visitors
Knowledge and Experience
How to apply:
Please save the documents in pdf format and write your name in the document title. You will find out whether your application has been successful during the week commencing TBC.
First round interviews will take place in Somerset House, London, during the week commencing June 26. For the first round, skype or phone interviews are available for candidates living outside the London area.
Second round interviews will be held in Westminster during the week commencing July 10. Candidates will be interviewed by the MP they would be working with. Places on the scheme will be confirmed after this interview.
Approximate Start Date:
TBC, likely start date week commencing 25 September 2017
If you have any further questions about the role that our FAQ page does not cover then please contact the firstname.lastname@example.org
It is one of the buzzwords of modern political rhetoric, but we need to redefine the concept for the digital age to ensure they provide real training and jobs, writes The Creative Society’s Martin Bright for The Guardian.
Politicians love talking about apprenticeships. Like “hi-tech” or “entrepreneurship”, it is one of the buzzwords of modern political rhetoric. The great thing for politicians is that these terms carry with them almost no electoral risk. Who could possibly object to a party that encourages entrepreneurs to take on apprentices – ideally at a hi-tech hub?
The reality is much more mundane. Apprenticeships remain hugely bureaucratic, and this makes them a massive turn-off for the small, dynamic startups that the government is trumpeting as the future of the UK economy. Show me the hi-tech entrepreneur who would willingly spend time navigating the prehistoric National Apprenticeship Service website, for example. The rigid, one-size-fits all application process is fine for large companies with well-resourced HR departments, but hopeless for small firms with specific, detailed needs.
Very few of the politicians who bang on about apprenticeships have any experience of what it means to hire one. An exception is Robert Halfon, the Conservative MP for Harlow in Essex, who was promoted to minister without portfolio after the election. Five years ago, Halfon put his money where his mouth is and hired an apprentice for his Westminster office. This was no easy matter as there isn’t any formal training or job description for the role of parliamentary assistant (one of the reasons it is so easily colonised by those young people privileged enough to work an unpaid interns).
Inspired by Halfon, we set up the Parliamentary Academy, Westminster’s first school for apprentices, in 2011. Whenever I heard an MP challenging UK businesses to take on apprentices, I contacted them to ask if they had considered doing so themselves. The excuses were predictable: they had already spent their staff budgets, had no desk space, had no one to manage someone so young and inexperienced.
But a few brave pioneers showed they were unafraid to recruit outside their usual “friends and relatives” networks. Senior figures threw their weight behind the scheme, including Matthew Hancock and Nick Boles on the government side and Ed Miliband and Sadiq Khan from Labour. There have been some astonishing success stories. Hancock’s apprentice, Beth Prescott, stood as a Conservative parliamentary candidate against Yvette Cooper. Alice Hannam, an apprentice in the office of Liberal Democrat Mike Crockart, former MP for Edinburgh West, landed a job with Gordon Birtwistle, apprenticeship ambassador in the coalition government.
And yet, the nonsense continues. Over the past five years more than 2m apprenticeships were started. All the main parties made generous promises about the numbers of apprenticeships they would create if they won the election. The government has pledged to create 3m more funded by a cut to the welfare cap and removal of housing benefit from jobless 18- to 21-year-olds – but where will it find the companies to take them? It remains unclear how the extra numbers will be achieved without extra investment in careers guidance and incentives for employers (especially as take-up is falling year-on-year). The government’s own figures show that 40% of apprenticeships are taken up by over-25s already in jobs. This is not a solution for the 16% (743,000) of young people who are unemployed.
Simon Bunney, who runs the Parliamentary Academy, points to a fundamental issue: “The problem is similar to lots of areas of employment in the 21st century, including jobcentres and careers advice – how do you adapt them to a post-industrial society where the majority of employers are small?” Apprenticeships, as they stand, are a solution to an industrial or even pre-industrial problem.
The Richard review of apprenticeships, published in 2012, recognised that too many were being taken up by people already in work and that the whole concept had to be redefined for the digital age. We are delighted the new business secretary, Sajid Javid, will be taking on a Parliamentary Academy apprentice. I hope he will make it easier for small companies to take on young people. The buzzwords need to be replaced by real jobs and training for the next generation.
‘Manifestos fail to fix young jobseekers’ woes so we need steps that work’ writes The Creative Society’s Martin Bright for The Guardian.
April has just started work at the Creative Society, the youth employment charity I set up just before the last election. She is a talented design student who found herself out of work after her last internship came to an end. April is already proving a useful addition to the team, helping on projects doing everything from office admin to web design, social media and blogging. She should never have been unemployed. “I’d done work experience, internships, applied for dozens of jobs and still couldn’t find anything. The jobcentre was a last resort.”
For April, 23, the central problem is the institution of the jobcentre itself: “You have to forfeit your pride once you enter the building. Advisers rarely help you find work in the field you’re qualified in and there is a strong emphasis on taking anything, which in the long-term does nothing to solve the issue of unemployment. The emphasis on a short-term fix is a useless system.”
With an election coming, both Labour and the Conservatives are threatening to increase sanctions on young jobseekers, with both parties promising to remove benefits from those who refuse to take jobs or training. This approach is unlikely to address April’s concerns about the short-term “take anything” culture of the jobcentre.
There are some smug politicians on the right who talk as if we are entering a golden era of full employment, and some on the left who seem to suggest the jobs recovery is based entirely on zero-hours contracts, part-time working and fake self-employment. But with the publication of the manifestos, the truth is that the major parties are stumbling over each other to agree on the diagnosis and even some of the cures.
The consensus is as follows. The school careers system is busted and needs a thorough overhaul. Apprenticeships should be boosted as a career path for those who do not wish to pursue the academic route (and some who do). Benefits for 18- to 25-year-olds must be replaced by a time-limited “allowance” after which claimants must get a job, sign up for training or take part in some sort of activity that makes them useful.
The coalition’s answer to concerns about the quality of careers guidance was to abolish the unloved Connexions service. As a result, provision from schools and local authorities is patchy and confusing. The Lib Dems have proposed an increase in mentoring while Labour wants to introduce “a new independent system of careers advice, offering personalised face-to-face guidance”. These worthy aims do not add up to a policy. Everyone seems to think that apprenticeships are the greatest thing. Ukip likes them so much it wants to allow some children to start doing them at school in place of GCSEs. The Greens want to expand apprenticeship funding by 30%. Labour wants to offer one to everyone who qualifies. For the Tories, apprenticeships are the universal panacea and they have promised to abolish national insurance contributions for companies taking on young apprentices.
And yet, so much of the rhetoric surrounding apprenticeships is a smokescreen. The quality of the qualifications is variable and the paperwork for employers still too burdensome.
Meanwhile, the arms race to target young people on welfare continues. The Tories will oblige anyone who has failed to find jobs under the government’s work programme to do work experience or community activities. Labour will take young people out of the benefits system altogether, but their new youth allowance would be dependent on taking up training courses.
Organisations such as mine know there is a real risk that young people will simply slip out of the system, leaving them no access to advice, training or jobs and making them vulnerable to the unofficial and criminal economy.
Meanwhile, young people such as April know that the jobcentre is an institution unsuited to the needs of the 21st century – an industrial solution for a digital age.
The Liberal Democrats can take some credit for some serious thinking. The party has recognised that jobcentres need to take a longer-term approach and measure success on how long a claimant stays in work after he or she has left benefits. But what the Lib Dems mean by a “tailored toolkit” for jobcentre advisers is anyone’s guess.
There is an important distinction to be drawn in politics between mature, well-informed agreement and groupthink. I would gladly swap a little of the consensus for some genuinely radical ideas to fix what April calls this “useless system”.
This article was published on 21st April 2015. Click here to read the original on theguardian.com.
This Is It! Brings you the 9 step guide to preparing for your first week at work.
Pre-Preparation: If you tend to be tardy, set yourself the goal of waking up an hour earlier than you usually do for a week. If you’re an afternoon sleeper, I’m talking about those of you who sleep the day away (your youth away), set yourself the goal of waking up at 7:30 every morning: it will hurt you to the core of your stomach and break your spirit, but the rewards are great.
Make sure you map out at least two time effective routes to work, and keep an eye out for road works and spots on your journey prone to traffic. Great apps such as city mapper and bus times for live bus arrivals are useful travel aids. For those who aren’t so technologically advanced, a quick look at Google maps and a jot down of landmarks (Mc Donald’s) along your journey from point A to B should do the job.
Coming to terms with juggling your work load can be a daunting experience. There will be times when you have to drop one project in favour of another so the skill of prioritising tasks is a coveted one. The term ‘Time Management’ sounds rigid and regimental but it doesn’t have to be, to do lists are a must for an organised schedule and workflow. If not for the sheer byproduct of productivity, the to do list is the key to keeping sane through hectic days.
Purchase two notebooks (your employer will probably provide you with one, in that case smashing- that should save you a whopping £2, you can grab a snack with that or if you’re feeling fancy a bottle of Voss water in celebration of organisation) use one for idea generation and notes, and the other strictly for scribbling down daily tasks. Nothing feels better than crossing off completed tasks, you’ll feel a rush of accomplishment.
The months of unemployment have taken its toll on your confidence, not to worry! You aren’t alone in this way of thinking, but we’re here to tell you, your mind is tricking you. You can be your own worst enemy at times; you take everything on board making a mountain out of a molehill. Don’t let your new job become one of those issues, it’s a time of learning and progression, you might not be working to a pace you would prefer. You may have a lack of confidence when taking calls or have a hard time understanding directions as clearly as you feel has been asked of you. Hum and huhs echoing through the office are most likely not directed at you, you’re probably not as terrible as you believe. Believe us! If your work ethic isn’t up to scratch you’ll know about it. Take those mental notes of self –analysis and formulate a strategy to improve upon the skills you feel aren’t your strong suits. Don’t fear asking questions, be transparent with your areas for development- they aren’t weaknesses. If you feel like you can’t complete something on time or you’ve made a mistake that could be detrimental to a project if not addressed, speak up! It’s better to sort things out in the early stages than wait for the problem to build up; you’ll receive a harsher reprimand for not being open and honest about the situation.
A lot of self-doubt comes from lack of affirmation. It may come as a shock, especially for uni leavers, or first time job seekers to not receive commendation for every project completed. The desire for approval has been ingrained from an early age, the institution of education is built on it, but you’ve reached the real world now. View the silence instead as an unspoken seal of approval.
“To establish true self-esteem we must concentrate on our successes and forget about the failures and the negatives in our lives” Denis Waitley
Those of us who have had terrible times in former employment carry baggage with us. Be it a boss or line manager that rivals a character from ‘Horrible Bosses’ to an environment not compatible with our personality. The effects of these experiences can linger on with us into our new employment. You must recognise and remind yourself that your new employment is a fresh start, a new working culture with new employees. You can take this chance to reinvent yourself, become the person you didn’t have the confidence to be in your previous job. This doesn’t mean losing yourself or becoming a carbon copy of fellow employees, it just means being the best you can be.
Many companies offer training opportunities for their staff. If you didn’t ask at interview, take the opportunity to ask in your first week. Jot down a list of things you would find beneficial to learn i.e. coding, marketing etc. You’ll be surprised by what’s on offer a larger company means a larger training budget, so don’t be afraid to ask. If you don’t ask you don’t get!
‘The early bird catches the worm.’ It’s a saying we all know so well but tend not to adhere to. We’ve all been there: woke up on time, dare I say 20 minutes early, and you still end up reaching work late. The key culprits tend to be taking a long luxurious shower reminiscent of an herbal essence ad, and lack of preparation the night before. Yes! You’ve over stretched your eating out budget for the week because your laziness got the better and you didn’t do that oh so simple task of preparing lunch for the following morning. Let’s not get started on your wardrobe selection. Those 90′s babies familiar with Cher from clueless will remember her highly envied virtual wardrobe, but let’s be honest only the 1% can afford such a lavish gadget. Unfortunately us poor mortals have to suffice with laying out our clothes the night before. Iron your shirts, pack your bag, charge your phone and for the love of god make sure you have clean pants for the morning- if you have to hand wash the night before, get scrubbing!
Have breakfast! These are the words you’ve heard yelled at you a myriad of times by your parents-they weren’t wrong in their demands. We all get that mid afternoon sluggish feeling, our concentration seems to diminish, and without breakfast our minds often come to a halt. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day; it’s the fuel you need to rev your engine. Without it, your body is running on empty, the energy and nutrients received through breakfast activate your mind and body for a prosperous day.
You want to be chummy with everyone especially the support staff as they know how the office runs. Don’t be a snooty pants with the false illusion that your role is more important than anyone else’s. Everyone plays a part in the formation and running of a company. Remember from the Receptionist to the IT team, the support staff are the cogs in the gear; they keep the company running smoothly.
Become best friends with the IT staff in particular. When repressing the start button for 10 minutes and continuously pressing ctrl+ alt+ delete doesn’t solve your computer troubles, the IT team will be the knight in shining armour you prayed for.
Take a step away from your work environment for lunch, particularly if you work at a desk. Doing so will not only improve your health but the change in scenery will do wonders for your mood. It’s called a break for a reason; take the time out to reboot for the afternoon.
If this section of the article hasn’t already put you off eating at your desk for lunch, an article from the oh so trusted Guardian will do the job. Sam Jones states that keyboards harbour many harmful bacteria in the article titled ‘Filthy as a loo seat: hazard of computer keyboards’. So, if you want to digest more than you expected and be the office cooties host do so at your own peril. Oh, and just before we forget apparently eating at your desk gives your employer 19 extra days of work from you, so apart from being a heaving bogeyman you’re a chump, just saying.
Nothing sums up the first week like a golden old idiom ‘go off the deep end’ the best part of the pool is the deep end so jump in head first, congratulations and have an amazing first week!
Participants can join us and other like-minded creatives for a full day of interactive sessions led by Events Manager Andrea De La Cruz, along with inspirational speeches and group activities designed to develop the future creative workforce.
Morning workshops will be led by The Before I Die Network, who will help attendees identify their career goals and how to achieve them. A panel of arts professionals will be on hand in the afternoon to tell participants all about their paths to employment in the creative industries. Speakers include Mike Smith, President of Music at Virgin EMI, Stephen Skrypec, Head of Sales and Marketing at New Wolsey Theatre and Leah Kurta from the youth-focussed creative entrerprise The Mix.
To see the full programme for the day, and register attendees, go to the THIS IS IT! Ipswich Eventbrite page.
The shadow culture minister Chris Bryant has opened a heated debate, calling for the democratisation of access the arts and citing Eddie Redmayne and James Blunt as examples of the privileged elite. An ‘open letter’ was written by James Blunt in return, which can be read here. We support Bryant’s argument that Fair Access to jobs in the arts are integral to the future of the sector; let us know what you think by joining the debate on Twitter.
Photograph: Andy Hall/Rex for The Guardian
The arts world must address the dominance of performers like Eddie Redmayne, James Blunt and their ilk who come from privileged backgrounds, according to Labour’s new shadow culture minister.
In his first interview in the job, Chris Bryant said one of his priorities if he became a minister would be to encourage diversity and fairer funding in the arts. In particular, he suggested that Labour would try to address a “cultural drought” afflicting areas outside London and the south-east because of lower funding, as well as encouraging the arts world to hire people from a variety of backgrounds.
“I am delighted that Eddie Redmayne won [a Golden Globe for best actor], but we can’t just have a culture dominated by Eddie Redmayne and James Blunt and their ilk,” he said.
“Where are the Albert Finneys and the Glenda Jacksons? They came through a meritocratic system. But it wasn’t just that. It was also that the writers were writing stuff for them. So is the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, doing that kind of gritty drama, which reflects [the country] more? We can’t just have Downton programming ad infinitum and think that just because we’ve got some people in the servants’ hall, somehow or other we’ve done our duty by gritty drama.”
The 33-year-old actor Redmayne attended Eton College, while 40-year-old singer James Blunt went to Harrow school in north-west London. Bryant’s comments echo those of actor David Morrissey, who last year said the arts were being closed off to many young people by a culture of elitism.
“The truth is that people who subsidise the arts most are artists themselves,” Bryant said. “That of course makes it much more difficult if you come from a background where you can’t afford to do that. I’m delighted that Arts Council England have done more on their apprenticeship scheme, but I think a lot more museums, galleries, arts companies need to pay not just lip service to or tick the box of diversity, but embed themselves in a much wider community to increase access.”
Bryant said Labour would not force the arts world to open up, but would strongly encourage those in the creative industries to look at the way people join the sector. “It is something the industry needs to do and we need to look at how the BBC fosters talent,” he said.
“Sometimes it is just saying to arts organisations: what are you actually doing to extend your reach here, or is everyone just going to be an arts graduate from Cambridge?”
The problem does not just lie with those working in the arts world, but those who are consuming culture, he suggested.
Challenging theatres to increase their appeal to a wider range of social groups, he said: “It’s great to have a £10 a ticket system, but if all the £10 tickets are being sold to people who were buying them for £50 the week before, then that’s no great gain. I’m not going to tell the National Theatre how to do its ticketing … but it’s always fascinated me that the National Theatre has no windows out on to the community in which it sits, just windows on to the Thames.”
Read the full article in The Guardian here, including James Blunt’s open reply and Bryant’s subsequent response.
Young people need help and support to find work, not benefit cuts and constant scapegoating as an idle underclass, writes The Creative Society’s Martin Bright for The Guardian.
Sometimes you have to wonder whether anyone in the political class knows a young person. They certainly show no evidence of any empathy and I wonder whether our current crop of politicians were ever young themselves or simply went straight from childhood into besuited middle age.
With the prospect of student debt, rocketing housing costs and unpaid work as a rite of passage, this is no time to be young. Over the past few months, both major parties have proposed far-reaching benefit changes for 18 to 21-year-olds. Labour suggests replacing benefits for the long-term unemployed with a training allowance while the Conservatives want young people to take on unpaid community work.
When the Tories announced plans at their conference last week to cut benefits for young jobseekers after six months on the dole, my charity immediately began to field questions from terrified teenagers.
This pattern will have been repeated at every youth employment organisation across the country.
Many of the young people we work with live on their own. They have been let down by the education system and often have little or no support from their families. With few qualifications, they find it difficult to compete for even entry-level retail jobs.
We work with them to find short work experience placements, train them in basic interview technique and CV writing and encourage them to return to college to get better qualifications. This is a long, intensive process.
Last week Tara, a 17-year-old who wants to work in dance, told us that the new proposals would mean she would have to find a minimum wage job or face losing her home. Both her parents are dead and she was housed a year ago. She has been attending an employability course and currently feels she will have to give up her dream of being a dancer.
Natasha, 18, is a product of the care system and is seriously worried about what she will do for money when the new rules kick in. Even if there were a job out there for her to take, she is so underqualified, underconfident and damaged by her past that she would be unlikely to get it.
Chelsea Way, who manages our project in south-east London working with this group of young people, told me: “These proposals will take benefits away from people who are very vulnerable. They carry a lot of baggage, which makes it very difficult for them to find work. We encourage them to build up their qualifications to allow them to compete in the job market, otherwise you are simply setting them up to fail.”
At least Labour’s proposals recognise that these young people, above all, need training and education. But still I worry about the tone of these announcements in the runup to the election when all parties are looking to be tough on benefit claimants. Both Labour and the Conservatives are committed to removing young people from the benefit system and putting them into work, but these announcements are being couched in highly aggressive terms as ways of cutting the benefit bill and cracking down on scroungers.
The political climate in these times of austerity means that the humanity is being sucked from this debate. Those working at the frontline know that young people can be their own worst enemy: they can be surly, self-defeating and yes, sometimes they can even be lazy. But for the most part this is not the case.
Young people need help finding work and they need to help themselves, but the jobs need to be there for them to do and they need to be equipped to apply for them.
Instead an unpleasant undercurrent has entered the discussion which suggests there is a lumpen, idle youth underclass. Targeting young unemployed people as a way of gaining an electoral advantage does not look big or clever to me, it looks very much like bullying.
This article was published on 7 October 2014. Click here to read the original on theguardian.com.
Nick Cohen argues for The Observer that politics, journalism and the arts all increasingly controlled by nice people from wealthy backgrounds. And their niceness is strangling us. Read the article online here.
Decades back, when the young Judi Dench starred as Juliet, her mother and father joined the cast. In Act 3 Juliet learns that Romeo has killed her cousin, and cries: “Where is my father, and my mother?”
“Here we are, darling,” shouted her parents from the stalls, “in row H!”
You cannot imagine the parents of today’s stars being so gauche. They come from a world that is closer to David Cameron’s Bullingdon Club than Dench’s Quaker roots in Yorkshire. The forthcoming Riot Club – which bears the subtitle “Filthy. Rich. Spoilt. Rotten” – is meant to satirise David Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson’s days at the Buller. Unintentionally it will also satirise itself. To put it as kindly as I can, the producers did not have to search far to find actors who could give a convincing impersonation of inherited privilege. Max Irons – son of Jeremy, since you asked – plays one of the sleek young beasts. Freddie Fox, son of Edward, another. The only difference between them and the current leadership of the Tory party is that they went into acting rather than politics. If there is a danger of reading too much into their slipping into their fathers’ shoes, there is also a danger of reading too little. The careers of Edward and James Fox show there have always been upper-class actors, and I would not have it any other way. It’s just that with Damian Lewis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Redmayne and Dominic West, there are so many of them. In arts that boast that they “celebrate diversity” everyone looks the same.
Dame Judi tells the Observer today aspiring actors beg her for money to help fund their training. She worries that acting may become an elite occupation for the children of the rich, because no one else will be able to meet the costs and take the risks. Ben Stephenson, the BBC’s head of drama, said much the same at the Edinburgh festival but did not add that television is a racket, too. You cannot get a job in broadcasting unless you are prepared to work as an intern. In most cases, you cannot work as an intern unless you have family money to feed and house you.
But then who am I to criticise Stephenson when journalism is as much of a rich kids’ game? Lindsey Macmillan of the Institute of Education found that journalists used to come from families 6% better off than average, whereas now they come from homes that are 42% richer. Indeed, British journalists, the supposed tribunes of the people, now hail from wealthier backgrounds than, er, bankers, an awkward fact that ought to cause embarrassment all round. I look at my younger self today and wonder if he could become a journalist on a serious newspaper. My parents were teachers. They were comfortably off by the standards of 1980s Manchester, but they could never have afforded to rent me rooms in London and cover my expenses while I went from internship to internship. They had to look after my sisters as much as anything else.
The hypocrisies of British culture are enough to drive the sane paranoid, but it is not quite the class conspiracy it seems. To be sure, it is suffocating, narrow and on the edge of a descent into a mediocre mush. But not a conspiracy for all that. Working-class actors or musicians cannot live on the dole now while they struggle to break through. The sanctions from the jobcentres whip them into line. If you want to know why British pop has lost its rough energy, you should blame the Department for Work and Pensions, not a plot by the record label executives. In any case, tens of thousands of young people want to work in the arts, television, music and journalism. Why shouldn’t their potential employers, often short of money themselves, take advantage of the laws of supply and demand?
Those who receive public money have no right to do so. Working- and lower-middle-class citizens should not have to fund through their taxes and the lottery arts organisations that deny opportunities to their children. One of the most admirable men I know is Martin Bright, who threw in a career in journalism to found the Creative Society, which gives working-class teenagers the same opportunities in the arts that their middle- and upper-class contemporaries receive. Diversity creates uniformity, he says, because it ignores class. As a result, projects for women or the ethnic minorities are colonised by the middle class. The only positive discrimination that works is for arts organisations to go into jobcentres and find talented young people on the dole who deserve a break, and too few want to try it.
What applies to artists applies to the audience. The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts has told recipients of public money that they should at least think of putting Royal Opera House shows, for example, or National Theatre productions on the web once their runs are over. The overwhelming majority of people who cannot get to London, and could not afford tickets if they did, would then see the work their taxes helped pay for. It does no good. The notion that publicly funded art must be publicly available does not occur to today’s generation of cultural bureaucrats.
Expanding the range of British culture is not just an act of social justice, however. When the arts restrict their gene pool, they restrict their talent pool, too. No Premier League football club would give contracts only to children with private incomes and expect to remain in the premier league. The arts, broadcasting, serious journalism and publishing are coming dangerously close to doing just that, and its class-based culture is becoming a second-rate culture. British television drama could once boast that it was “the best in the world”. Now the best comes from America and Scandinavia. When Macmillan and her colleagues at the Institute of Education compared IQs, they found today’s younger cohort of professionals was, on average, slightly dimmer than the previous, poorer generation.
In writing this piece, I do not mean to disparage the young, privately educated journalists I see around me, the sprigs of the Fox and Irons families, the commissioning editors of the BBC and the staff of the National Theatre and Royal Opera House. They are all nice people. But there’s the rub. They are too fucking nice for Britain’s good. Their niceness is a noose that is strangling our ability to talk to ourselves and to the world.
Read more about our Fair Access campaign, which democratises access to jobs in the creative industries, here. Join the conversation on Twitter @CreativeSoc #FairAccess.
The Creative Society’s next THIS IS IT! career development day at Birmingham Hippodrome is just a fortnight away, and we have a great bunch of inspiring speakers for Creative Employment Programme attendees get excited about.
If you’re interested in illustration and graphic art, you’re in luck – with our speaker Hunt Emerson, you’ll be in the presence of a master of the form (see a sample of his genius, above). The legendary Beano Graphic Artist and Cartoonist has published around 30 titles, and his comics have been translated into 10 languages. He’s bagged several comics industry prizes, and in 2000 he was named as one of the 75 Masters of European Comics.
Next up is Music Producer Paul Simm. During his impressive career he has worked on All Saints’ debut album and went on to co-write and produce tracks for the Sugababes, as well as collaborating with Amy Winehouse and Neneh Cherry.
Also joining the panel is one-woman tour-de-force Lisa Hassell from Inkygoodness. Lisa has been curating exhibitions and events in the UK and internationally since 2008, and has made it her mission to champion new and emerging talent in the field of illustration and graphic art worldwide. On top of this, she’s an established writer, having been published in Creative Review, Digital Arts, Creative Bloq and IdN magazine amongst others.
We also have the similarly multi-talented Anthony Lennon; an actor-cum-director who’s recently finished a stint as Assistant Director at the Royal Shakespeare Company. He’s followed by Spoken Word Performer Carl Sealeaf from Creative social enterprise Beatfreeks. If you’ve not heard of this social enterprise, then check them out – they’re an arts organisation supporting young, creative people (yes you!) to do what they love.
THIS IS IT! Birmingham is on 12th Oct at Birmingham’s Hippodrome. You’ll have the chance to meet each of these amazing professionals face-to-face, so don’t waste it. Give them a Google, think of some questions and make the most of their knowledge and experience. See you there!
Youth employment charity The Creative Society is bringing its acclaimed road show to Birmingham Hippodrome on 12 September
Prominent figures from the city’s vibrant arts scene will join key employers such as IKON Gallery, mac Birmingham and Birmingham Rep in a day-long event to show young people exactly what it takes to make it in the world of music, performance and the visual arts.
Following up on the success of similar events in London, South Shields, Bristol and Manchester, THIS IS IT! Birmingham will provide a unique opportunity for young people in the city to get real advice from the professionals.
Already confirmed for 12 September are music producer Paul Simm, who has worked with the likes of Amy Winehouse and Sugababes and Beano cartoonist and graphic artist Hunt Emmerson.
As well as inspirational speakers, the day will include practical workshops on career-boosting skills such as freelancing, entrepreneurship and digital marketing led by nationwide creative network IdeasTap. and offer a platform for them to create their own professional networks through collaboration with peers whilst receiving expert support and advice from leading industry professionals.
Martin Bright, Founder and CEO of The Creative Society expressed his excitement ahead of the event: “This national road show is a vital part of our work. This is It! fosters greater collaboration amongst young people who want to work in the creative industries or start up their own business. As a creative community rich in entrepreneurial spirit, Birmingham is the perfect place to extend this network and work to develop the next generation of creative talent.”
The Creative Society is an arts employment charity that helps young people into jobs in the creative and cultural industries through a diverse range of projects including the Creative Employment Programme. The charity has supported over 1000 unemployed young people into placements in the arts.
THIS IS IT! events are about recognising and developing the potential in young people regardless of where they come from and democratising access to careers in the creative industries. We are working in partnership with Arts Council England, Creative & Cultural Skills and UK leading arts organisations to deliver a series of live and interactive events across the country for over 6,500 unemployed 16-24 year olds from a variety of backgrounds, including participants of the Creative Employment Programme. www.thecreativesociety.co.uk/projects/this-is-it/
The Creative Employment Programme is a £15m fund to support the creation of traineeships, formal apprenticeships and paid internship opportunities in England for young unemployed people aged 16-24 wishing to pursue a career in the arts and cultural sector. Birmingham CEP employers include Birmingham Rep, DanceXchange, mac Birmingham, The Hippodrome, The Drum and Hybrid Arts amongst others.
Creative Alliance is the Leading Independent Learning Provider in the Creative and Cultural Sector in the West Midlands. Their team works with an extended network of experienced artists and creative professionals working collaboratively to develop, support and train creative talent.
Paul Simm was born in Birmingham and started playing the piano aged five, primarily self-taught he progressed quickly and by the age of eleven was playing regular local gigs. Having worked as a musician until he was twenty seven, Simm stopped touring to concentrate on studio work. He worked on All Saints’ debut album and went on to co-write and produce tracks for the Sugababes In 2013, Simm co-wrote 6 tracks for the 2014 Neneh Cherry album, Blank Project.
More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Simm
Hunt Emerson is a cartoonist living and working in Birmingham, England. He was closely involved with the Birmingham Arts Lab of the mid-to-late 1970s, and with the British underground comics scene of the 1970s and 1980s. His many comic strips and graphic novels are well known and have been translated into numerous languages.
More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunt_Emerson
Images from previous THIS IS IT! events:
For high resolution images, contact email@example.com
We are delighted to announce that the THIS IS IT! team have launched a brand new website to support participants of the Creative Employment Programme. THISISITNetwork.co.uk is an online hub offering jobs, news, events and networking opportunities for young people looking for work in the creative industries. It’s the gateway to our online network built just for CEP members, which includes exclusive Facebook and LinkedIn Groups offering unique opportunities for participants.
We can also announce that our Autumn THIS IS IT! creative career days are now open for booking. We’re heading to Birmingham (12th Sep), Plymouth (19th Sep), London (1 Oct) and Sheffield (10 Oct). All events are free for CEP participants – visit our Storify Page for a taste of what’s to come.
Jobcentres have failed young people abysmally. This redundant service should be replaced by effective local job brokerages, writes The Creative Society’s CEO Martin Bright.
Those of us whose job it is to help young people find work have known for some time that reform of the jobcentre system is long overdue. I would go further and say that these institutions, introduced as labour exchanges in 1909 as a pioneering way to match working men to jobs in industrial Britain, have served their time. With some honourable exceptions, they have become silos of misery and have no place in 21st century Britain. The prime minister’s favourite thinktank, Policy Exchange, has called for their complete overhaul. The headline figure in the Joined Up Welfare report last week was that only 36% of people at jobcentres find sustained work. This is a national scandal.
I do not wish to decry the work of the thousands of jobcentre advisers, many of whom are doing their best for their “customers”. In parts of the country there are simply no jobs and staff are often demoralised and demotivated. The ancient system is rotting from the inside. Part of the problem lies in the merging of the functions of the old DHSS benefits offices with those of the jobcentre. When Jobcentre Plus was created in 2002, it seemed like New Labour forward thinking to bring job recruitment to the very place where unemployed people gathered to claim benefits. But the culture of the benefits office poisoned everything it touched: Jobcentre Plus became the place you signed on rather than the place you went to find work.
My charity, the Creative Society, has been helping find jobs in the creative industries since 2009 and it was obvious from the start that jobcentres were the last places young people wanted to be.
Earlier this month I joined a group of young jobseekers from south-east London in an interview skills workshop. My task was to act the part of a call centre manager recruiting for new workers in the area and I saw 10 candidates in quick succession. In the horrible jargon, these young people were “Neets” (not in education, employment or training) and to use a favourite euphemism of those who work in this area, some were “a long way from the job market”.
Their self-criticism was brutal and articulate. One of the candidates knew he was not confident enough about speaking in public; a young woman told me she had to be more resilient after being knocked back for several jobs; a very capable teenager said he knew he needed to come across as more cheerful. In their time working with the Creative Society, this group of young people has been utterly dismissive of Jobcentre Plus. Not one of them would consider it seriously as a place to go to find work, nor would we advise them to do so.
The Policy Exchange proposal to mutualise jobcentres and set them up in competition with private companies and charities is a classic market-driven solution. But local authorities, local enterprise partnerships, trade unions and chambers of commerce must also be involved. Across the country, job brokerages are already springing up on an ad hoc basis to bring employers and jobseekers together.
This is not a party political matter. Labour’s David Lammy is one of the first frontline politicians to acknowledge that jobcentres are “not fit for purpose”. Labour-controlled Newham council in east London has set up a pioneering job brokerage service in recognition of jobcentre failings. Meanwhile, the Creative Society has been working closely with the Legacy List, the Olympic Park charity, to research new approaches to job creation in the Olympic boroughs.
Organisations such as mine are essentially remedial. We teach young people about the “hidden jobs market”: the word-of-mouth networks that service the real world of employment. We help them develop a coherent story to explain gaps in their CV. We step in where others such as family, schools, colleges, careers services have let young jobseekers down. None of them have failed to deliver as consistently and systematically as Jobcentre Plus.
Read the full article in The Guardian. What are your thoughts? Join the conversation on Twitter @CreativeSoc.
Last week saw the latest in a series of networking sessions for Creative Employment Programme participants based in the Midlands. The monthly sessions are a chance for participants to meet each other, explore CEP venues in the area and tackle creative challenges.
Thursday’s session at The Drum, Birmingham included a company overview from Esther Lisk-Carew, Artifax & Executive Officer, followed by a tour of the cavernous building. Once the interns and apprentices had explored backstage and investigated the administration offices, they worked collaboratively on creative challenges devised by the Marketing and Programming interns.
The group then set about generating ideas for the upcoming THIS IS IT! event in September. Presented in collaboration with West Midlands Creative Alliance to complement their upcoming Get Into Creative Employment Fair, the local interns and apprentices will contribute to the planning of the event. Creative entrepreneurship and start up business advice featured highly on the group’s wish list - stay tuned to our blog and the @CreativeSoc Twitter feed for updates as the event programme takes shape.
Esther Blount is a Marketing and Social Media intern on the Creative Employment Programme with The Mighty Creatives. Read on to hear her thoughts as her placement begins.
“I was eager to begin my first week at The Mighty Creatives (TMC). This was important to me because it would set the scene for my entire placement as a Marketing and Social Media Intern.
I’m excited to be supporting the development of youth voice and engagement in TMC’s programmes as part of my role. I will also play a key part in linking up with young people directly, using social media platforms, and champion youth issues whilst supporting other young people in advocating for change too.
During the induction I was greeted by my line manager, Manisha Bhayani, where I was given an overview of the charity’s programmes and partnerships. I was taken to TMC’s office where I was instantly put at ease by the warm welcome from the TMC team. I was then introduced to the fun of hot desking!
Another task during my induction was to complete a Strengthsfinder report to evaluate and discover how I could apply my strengths to the workplace.
Throughout the week I got to meet with other members of the team to learn about the wider business at TMC. For example, Arts Award, Artsmark, and also The Bank of TMC.
Towards the end of the week I reviewed how legislation impacts my role at TMC. For example, I completed an introduction to safeguarding as well as equality and diversity training.
Overall, a really enjoyable week at TMC (other highlights include, a yummy lunch with the TMC team, chocolate cake, a world cup sweepstake, and a Friday treat of croissants!). I’m looking forward to seeing what my second week entails at TMC.”
The Creative Industries Council, a body made up of governmental officials including Vince Cable and representatives from industries including Arts and Culture, Craft, Design and Music, has launched Create UK. The strategy outlines a vision of industry and government working together to develop the UK’s creative industries to their full potential to 2020 and beyond, and is based around the following five key points:
ACCESS TO FINANCE
- Creative industries businesses having greater knowledge of how to access and win finance
- Finance community having greater understanding of creative industries opportunities and choosing to invest in or lend to them
- Having a vibrant and thriving sector with a wide range of financing options and incentives, so that companies that want to are able to grow and take their business to a new level.
EDUCATION AND SKILLS
- Having an education and careers system that inspires and supports the next diverse, creative fused generation
- Increased employer investment in and ownership of skills development meaning more and better ladders of opportunity
- Having one of the most advanced communications infrastructures in the world
- Having a regulatory environment that enables the UK to be a competitive place to do business
- Government departments being a better customer to creative industries
- Promoting ‘powerhouse clusters’ at home and abroad
- Better understanding by the general public of the importance of IP rights
- Robust support for copyright from UK Government at home and in international fora, promoting licensing and backed by effective enforcement
- An Intellectual Property Office (IPO) that is transparent, engages with business and makes evidence-based decisions
- Doubling the value of creative industries services exports
- Getting more UK creative businesses exporting
- Winning a greater share of inbound Foreign Direct Investment
The strategy will be welcomed by many creative industry practitioners, who have felt the potential of the sector at large has been unacknowledged and under-supported by the UK government. To view the full strategy, including context, recommendations and success measures, click here.
We’d love to know your responses on the #CreateUK strategy – let us know what you think on Twitter @CreativeSoc.
Our careers day for young creatives of the North West is tomorrow, and we have a great selection of prizes for attendees of the event. There will be online competitions for social media-savvy, along with ‘lucky dip’ prize draws for participants engaging with the THIS IS IT! network.
Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre are offering a pair of tickets to see Billy Liar, Keith Waterhouse’s tale of northern life in 1960s Britain that captures a country on the edge of seismic change. Director Sam Yates says about the play; “Billy Liar is a sometimes painfully truthful insight into a northern family. The unmatachable intimacy of the Royal Exchange makes it an home for this play. I’m thrilled to be working with one of Britain’s most exciting young actors, Harry McEntire, who plays Billy Fisher.”
Contact Theatre on Manchester’s Oxford Road also have tickets up for grabs to a very special event. Their Contacting The World Festival is a pioneering international theatre exchange project for young people involving young companies from around the globe. They have offered a lucky winner two tickets to an exclusive invite-only Q&A with Contact’s Artistic Director Matt Fenton and Alex Poots, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Manchester International Festival on 8 July.
Bread & Butter, part of Contacting the World 2014.
If you can’t make the event , you could still be a winner. Curious Minds, a Manchester company that helps people realise their creative potential, have a donated a copy of Curious Stories – a book featuring superstars Dame Judi Dench, David Shrigley and Benedict Cumberbatch. They have all contributed to a book about what inspires their creativity, and we’ll be giving one copy away in an online draw. Just do two things to be in with a chance of winning – Like our Facebook Page and hit Like on the competition post, and we’ll pick a winner next week.
One winner at tomorrow’s event is in for a extra treat from Curious Minds, with an art print from the book up for grabs too.
A glance inside Curious Stories, from Curious Minds.
There are still a handful of tickets left for tomorrow’s event. If you’re 16-24, based in the North West and want to start a career in the creative industries, register here, and listen out tomorrow for details of our prize draws.
The Creative Society’s THIS IS IT! comes To Manchester: arts industry professionals to coach local 16-24 year olds
Fiona Gasper , Executive Director of Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre, and Eleanor Greene of the multi award-winning Wall to Wall Productions are among top industry professionals to take part in a creative youth careers day on Friday 30 May at The Central Library, Manchester.
THIS IS IT! Manchester will bring 16-24 year olds together with industry professionals, giving them the tools and knowledge to fast-track their careers in the creative industries. As well as inspirational speakers, the day will include practical workshops on career-boosting skills such as freelancing and entrepreneurship, and offer a platform for them to create their own professional networks through collaboration with peers whilst receiving expert support and advice from leading industry professionals. Local and national organisations Creative Skillset, Sharp Futures and Curious Minds have been instrumental in bringing the event to Manchester, along with the nationwide creative network IdeasTap.
THIS IS IT! launched last year at London’s Sadler’s Wells, and is focussed primarily on interns and apprentices employed through the Arts Council England-funded and Creative & Cultural Skills-run Creative Employment Programme. In Manchester, the event is accessible to the public, and is presented in association with PANDA (Performing Arts Network and Development Agency).
The Creative Society is an arts employment charity that helps young people into jobs in the creative and cultural industries through a diverse range of projects. The charity has supported over 1000 unemployed young people into placements in the arts.
THIS IS IT! events are about recognising and developing the potential in young people regardless of where they come from and democratising access to careers in the creative industries. We are working in partnership with Arts Council England, Creative & Cultural Skills and UK leading arts organisations to deliver a series of live and interactive events across the country for over 6,500 unemployed 16-24 year olds from a variety of backgrounds. www.thecreativesociety.co.uk/projects/this-is-it/
The Creative Employment Programme is a £15m fund to support the creation of traineeships, formal apprenticeships and paid internship opportunities in England for young unemployed people aged 16-24 wishing to pursue a career in the arts and cultural sector.www.creative-employment.co.uk
Fiona Gasper is the Executive Director for the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester. Recent previous roles have included Executive Producer of Liverpool’s 2008 European Capital of Culture programme (2004-2009) and Executive Producer for Contact, Manchester’s theatre for young people. Fiona has worked in the cultural sector around the UK for the past 25 years in a range of full time roles and as a freelance consultant. She was awarded an MBE for services to the Arts in June 2009. www.royalexchange.co.uk
Eleanor Greene is Head of Drama Development at Wall to Wall productions, where she is responsible for generating new drama projects. She began her career as a runner before becoming a script editor for Red Production Company. She produced the winning script for the Dennis Potter New Writing Competition, which resulted in a commission from BBC Two and the film, Indian Dream. She moved to London to join World Productions where she produced Murder Prevention for Five and Party Animals for BBC Two, before joining Wall to Wall in 2010. www.walltowall.co.uk
PANDA – the performing arts network, was created in 2004. They are a membership organisation who proactively support venues, companies and individuals working in the performing arts sector in the North. They facilitate networks, provide training and consultancy, offer professional advice and guidance, and create connections.
Images from This Is It! Sadler’s Wells launch:
Images from THIS IS IT! Bristol, featuring Portishead musician Geoff Barrow:
For high resolution images, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Previous press on THIS IS IT!:
New ‘college’ of the humanities that’s not just for the rich
The Guardian, March 2014 (on THIS IS IT! speaker Jonny Mundey)
Portishead band member Geoff Barrow speaks at youth employment event
Bristol Post, April 2014
Love the arts and humanities but not sure about three years of getting into debt?
The IF Humanities Summer School is a free foundation-level course for anyone aged 18-30 who hasn’t studied for an undergraduate degree.
Join us in June to:
Lay the foundations of future personal and group study through introductions to literature, history, political philosophy, film and visual arts (subjects generally described as the humanities).
Discover how these subjects give you the tools to go beneath the surface of everyday life to the cultural foundations of contemporary ideas, institutions, brands, and habits.
Meet like-minded co-students.
Discuss, learn stuff and be inspired.
Discover the unexpected.
Contributing Lecturers include:
Professor Rosemary Ashton, Emeritus Quain Professor of English Language and Literature at UCL
Professor Glen Newey, Professor of Political Theory at Université Libre de Bruxelles
Dr Don Guttenplan, author, broadcaster and journalist. Don has taught American History at UCL and the history of popular culture at Birkbeck, University of London
Dr Sadiah Qureshi, Lecturer in Modern History, University of Birmingham
Apply at: http://www.ifproject.co.uk/summer-school/ (It takes 5 minutes)
The IF project is an experiment in alternative higher education where the courses are free, lecturers donate time and expertise, and the syllabus includes taking in the free events happening in the many cultural institutions of London. It is a community of those who want to teach and learn for the love of doing so. To find out more check out www.ifproject.co.uk.
Manchester Central Library
We are delighted to announce that our next location for our creative careers event THIS IS IT! will be Manchester. As a host venue, we have decided on the newly reopened Manchester Central Library from the wealth of fantastic venues on offer in the city.
Manchester’s PANDA (Performing Arts Network and Development Agency), Creative Tourist and Curious Minds (to name a few) have been instrumental so far in compiling a programme focussing on networking, freelancing and creative entrepreneurship. Details of speakers and contributors will be announced over the coming days – in the meantime, head to our Eventbrite page for more info on the event.
THIS IS IT Events are free of charge for Creative Employment Programme participants, and Mates Rates are available for friends of CEP memebers, priced at just £5 (General Admission £10). For full details and event registration, see The Creative Society’s THIS IS IT! Page.
The Creative Society and Lambeth Council are hosting an information morning for Lambeth based arts organisations to find out how they can become involved with the Creative Employment Programme.
The Creative Employment Programme is a £15 million fund created by Arts Council England to help arts organisations hire unemployed 16-24 year olds from their local area.
We would like to invite you to the information morning to hear how the scheme will work in Lambeth and the benefits of hiring a CEP intern or apprentice.
The event will take place on:
Tuesday 20th May from 9am until 11am in the
Impact Hub Brixton
Lambeth Town Hall
We look forward to seeing you there!
The Creative Society have been working with Mishcon de Reya and Jazz FM to present a competition for Creative Employment Programme participants. Read on for details of this exciting brief…
Do beautiful books get your pulse racing? Do you love design? Got a way with words?
The Creative Society has been transcribing interviews with key business figures from the Jazz FM radio programme Jazz Shapers. The show plays music from the best of the artists shaping the world of jazz, soul and blues, and features interviews with people from the world of business. Interviewees come from a wide variety of backgrounds, from venture capital to theatre and skincare, and have included Jude Kelly, Jo Malone, and Paul Smith, among others.
The transcriptions are to be turned into a striking coffee table book and the Creative Society is looking for 12 young creatives with an interest in literature, design, curation and production or radio to help.
IdeasTap members should submit ideas for a double-page spread of the book. Your idea (which can include examples) should present the interviews in a creative and visually appealing way.
The 12 winners will be invited to take part in a workshop and training day to develop their ideas further. Participants will work in groups with members of The Creative Society team, and industry professionals will be on hand to offer advice and mentoring.
The aim of the day will be to gain new skills, meet other like-minded people, and exercise your talent by helping to produce three different proposals demonstrating how the interviews could be presented in the coffee table book.
You will work collaboratively and in teams of three to share ideas, consider different approaches to book design, and build on your initial winning submissions. At the end of the brainstorming workshop you will have developed your ideas into three dynamic double-page spreads. A winning team will be selected and will get to produce a coffee table book. Each member of the team will receive a £100 cash prize.
The Creative Society will reimburse travel expenses up to £50. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.
Winners will need to be available in London on 15 May from 10am to 5pm to participate in the brainstorming workshop and mentoring session.
The winning design will:
Be eye catching | Use interview text inventively | Integrate highlighted themes | Connect text and design
This brief closes on Wednesday 7 May 2014 at 5pm. To enter, Like the THIS IS IT! Facebook page, and check out the feed for application details.
The artist Mani Vertigo has pledged to donate some of the proceeds of her exhibition Inner Versus Outer to The Creative Society, as part of a two-day art and performance event at East London’s George Tavern.
Starting today, the event will feature live performances from Whicha Mirrors, Chris Wilson, Ben London, Jonathan Loo, Sebastian Blake, Whiskey Rebellion and The Shinings. DJs playing ‘til 11pm each night include Mulliganman, Harry Jones, Harkirit, Sistah Cee and DJ Destiny.
Mani Vertigo is a multidisciplinary artist currently based in London, UK. Mani works with visual art as well as creating music, and films. Her neo-expressionist paintings are focused on inner versus outer experience, suffering of human body and soul. Her work is concerned with finding a visual equivalent to an emotional or spiritual experience – head to the event’s Facebook page to check out some of her work.
The George Tavern, on Commerical Road in East London, has hosted concerts and events for the likes of Nick Cave, Plan B, John Cooper Clarke, Babyshambles, and even Sir Roger Penrose.The venue has also hosted photo shoots for Kate Moss, Georgia Jagger, Justin Timberlake, Grimes, Amy Winehouse and Grace Jones. Upstairs the building was featured in Plan B’s movie ‘Ill Manors’ and Nick Cave’s debut video for his project Grinderman was filmed on site.
Find out more at the event’s Facebook page, and follow @GeorgeTavernE1 @CreativeSoc for updates.
Our third THIS IS IT! event at Bristol’s Engine Shed was enthusiastically received by Creative Employment interns of the South West. Not least by Amie Knights, who is a Creative Assistant intern at Stranger Collective in Cornwall. Here, she shares her thoughts on the careers day, and her journey with the Creative Employment Programme so far.
“When I finished my degree I had interviews for internships across the country –the six month unpaid kind. I had absolutely no way of funding myself through such a scheme but the ‘I’ll do anything’ mentality was drummed into me and stuck like a ‘kick me’ post-it to my back.
Even so, the demand for lengthy unpaid employment was bizarrely overwhelming and I was unsuccessful in my hopes of working full time for lunch tokens. So, after some time volunteering with local arts companies and charities, I tore off the post-it and decided to see out the economic chill in sunnier climates.
I returned from my gap year to find a far more inviting economy. Whilst being just as determined, I was also far more confident in my value as an employee. So I set out once more to grasp at the straws of employment. In Cornwall (where I live) there are admittedly far fewer straws to grasp at, but throughout my studies I fell in love with the small yet thriving creative community and I knew this is where I wanted to be.
Discovering the Creative Employment Programme was like seeing a beacon in the long drawn out night of jobless angst. But wait. Arts funding the government hasn’t bleached out like a grass stain from a pair of cricket shorts? Surely not. However, within a matter of weeks I got the call. ‘Stranger Collective wants to interview you’. I’d heard of this copywriting agency through their previous surf and lifestyle publication, Stranger Magazine, and had been in touch whilst at university. I was beyond excited to be given the chance and by luck, merit or persistence, I’m now sat in the Stranger Collective office, two and half months into my 6 month PAID internship which would not have existed without the programme.
As Creative Assistant intern at Stranger Collective I’ve already worked on some really exciting projects and for some big clients. From conjuring visual concepts for presentations to writing festival website copy, organising the distribution of our mini-magazine, ‘Bait’, to brainstorming children’s toy names, I have a pretty varied role assisting the rest of the Stranger team.
I’ve learned a lot too. On top of everything though, the most important thing I’ve sponged is that working in the creative industry means regularly challenging yourself and seeking out new experiences as much as you can. Stranger Collective promotes this through Feeding. Feeding gives every employee the chance to fuel their creativity every tenth working day. Whether it’s attending a new theatre show, spending a day at the mixing decks or delving into a good book you just haven’t had the time to read, the world is your experiential smorgasbord. Every feed day is written up as post on our blog, because where’s the fun in a good Feed if you’ve got no-one to share it with?
Having spent time Feeding with Stranger, I was all up for a day out of the office meeting other creatives in the South West and sapping some words of wisdom from the line-up of speakers. So, I headed up country for the THIS IS IT! event.
In a room filled with like-minds and live with energy, the speakers, from John Hector (BRAVE Consulting) to Sarah Cox (ArthurCox), spouted their tales of trajectory and shared the gems they’ve picked up along the way.
Some of the most invaluable advice offered was also the most difficult to take. Queue eye-rolls as the curse word ‘networking’ popped up repeatedly. Being told it’s largely about who you know can be hard to take. As a new graduate or school leaver it’s easy to expound excuses like, ‘the wealthiest people have the best connections’. However, in this industry especially, this is the poorest excuse. What does it cost to be the guy that hangs around outside Mike Smith’s (Virgin Records) building and ask, ‘can we at least hang out?’
What shined through most, throughout all the talks and from conversations with others at the event, was that you should seize every opportunity you can handle and do as much as you possibly can. Because everything is relevant. Yes, even making tea. Who knows where that next cuppa will take you?
So much of what I took away from THIS IS IT! felt in sync with Stranger Collective’s Feeding ethos. How does getting to grips with dark matter make you better writer? The same way making tea for Geoff Barrow will make you a better sound engineer or working in a strip club will make you a better poet – as Sabrina Mafouz proved in her speech. It’s about collecting a raft of experiences, being open and receptive and always asking yourself;
‘What are you passionate about? What excites you? What’s going to get you out of bed in the morning?’
Wise words, John Hector.”
Keep an eye on this blog for more from the Creative Employment interns and apprentices. Are you on a CEP placement? Let us know it is for you @CreativeSoc #ThisIsItEvent.
The Creative Society and Lambeth Council are hosting an information morning for Lambeth based arts organisations to find out how they could become involved with the Creative Employment Programme.
The Creative Employment Programme is a £15 million fund created by Arts Council England to help arts organisations hire unemployed 16-24 year olds from their local area.
The session will be an opportunity to hear how the scheme might work in Lambeth and the benefits of hiring a CEP intern or apprentice.
The event will take place on Friday 25th April from 9am until 11am:
Impact Hub Brixton
Lambeth Town Hall
If you would like to attend please RSVP to Simon Bunney:
020 7845 5835
We look forward to seeing you there!
Image : (L-R) Sabrina Mahfouz, Geoff Barrow and Sarah Cox at THIS IS IT! Bristol
“When it comes to creativity, there’s a strength down in the South West that you don’t get in London.”
Portishead’s Geoff Barrow was among top creatives that spoke candidly about their path into the creative industries, giving invaluable advice to young local people starting out in the field.
The music producer and founding member of the legendary Bristol band spoke about his break into the music business, from inauspicious beginnings making tea for respected bands to Portishead fame and founding his own record label. He told the audience “when it comes to creativity, there’s a strength down in the South West that you don’t get in London.” and warned them “not to be ashamed” about not being from the capital.
The Creative Society’s THIS IS IT! event at The Engine Shed on Wednesday 2 April combined talks, networking, workshops and discussions aimed at boosting the creative career potential of the area. Sarah Cox, a Director at Aardman Animations, inspired the assembly with her advice to “find what you love doing and let it take you where you want to go” and Mike Smith of Virgin EMI Records urged “don’t wait for anyone to hand you the perfect job – get out there and do it yourself”.
The participants, who attended from local organisations including Watershed and Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, presented creative project ideas to the star-studded panel. Vicky Wheeler, a Digital Communications intern at the Architecture Centre enthused of the experience “it’s really exciting getting to present your creative ideas to such inspiring professionals.”
The participants rated the day a success, highlighting the impact of the advice imparted on their career prospects - “It was a brilliant day and I feel like I have got so much from it in terms of networking, ideas and – most importantly – self-validation. It was so nice to hear from people who had pursued their creative passion unwaveringly and ultimately ended up somewhere they were happy with” and already anticipating the return of THIS IS IT! to the region.
Check out the highlights of the day on our Storify page here.
Excitement is mounting as the next THIS IS IT! creative careers event is under a week away. The day, hosted in collaboration with the West of England Enterprise Partnership at The Engine Shed in Bristol, has a stellar line up of speakers on board. Sarah Cox, an award-winning animator and producer who has worked with the likes of Tate and Aardman Animations and Mike Smith, President of Music at Virgin EMI Records will both be sharing their career experiences. Poet Sabrina Mahfouz will be sharing her own path into the creative industry, and working some of her characteristic spoken word into her performance – see some of her latest work here to get a taste.
Interactive workshops and sessions will run on creative entrepreneurship, freelancing and setting up your own business, priming participants for their next move in the creative industries. Briefs set by The Creative Society will allow participants to get their creative juices flowing, with prizes for the best ideas. These include advertising guru John Hegarty’s new book On Creativity, and Sabrina Mahfouz’s new collection of plays and poems The Clean Collection and theatre tours of Bristol’s Hippodrome. T-shirts from Bristol clothes brand Shop Dutty have also been donated, so two lucky participants will be leaving in style. Social media savvy participants will be rewarded too, with 2 tickets to the exhibition Wallace and Gromit From the Drawing Board starting May 24 at Bristol’s MShed for the best tweets and posts on the day.
For the first time, THIS IS IT! is open to young people outside of the Creative Employment Programme. There are just a handful of tickets left, so view the full programme and book your tickets by following the link below.
Can’t make the event? Follow the action on Twitter @CreativeSoc #ThisisitEvent
The Creative Society’s THIS IS IT! comes to Bristol: arts industry professionals to coach local 16-24 year olds
Award-winning Producer Sarah Cox, President of Music at Virgin EMI Records Mike Smith and acclaimed performance poet Sabrina Mahfouz are among top industry professionals to take part in a creative youth careers day on Wednesday 2 April at The Engine Shed.
THIS IS IT! Bristol will bring 16-24 year olds together with industry professionals, giving them the tools and knowledge to fast-track their careers in the creative industries. As well as inspirational speakers, the day will include practical workshops on career-boosting skills such as freelancing, entrepreneurship and digital marketing, and offer a platform for them to create their own professional networks through collaboration with peers whilst receiving expert support and advice from leading industry professionals. Bristol venues Watershed and Bristol Museum and Art Gallery are among those involved on the day, engaging in Dragons’ Den-style creative challenges, prizes for which have been donated by creative guru John Hegarty.
THIS IS IT! launched last year at London’s Sadler’s Wells, and up until now has only been open to interns and apprentices employed through the Lottery-funded and Creative & Cultural Skills-run Creative Employment Programme. In Bristol, the event has been made accessible to the public for the first time, and is presented in association with the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership’s Creative Skills Hub.
Martin Bright, Founder and CEO of The Creative Society expressed his excitement ahead of the event: “This national network of events, which foster greater collaboration and new artistic communities amongst young people, is a vital part of our work. As a creative community rich in entrepreneurial spirit, Bristol is the perfect place to extend this network and work to develop the next generation of creative talent.”
Sabrina Mahfouz will perform a piece of live poetry at the event, as well as giving a speech on her career so far. She said about her involvement in the event: ‘It is only with the support, encouragement and wisdom of practising creative professionals that I was able to gain employment in the creative industry. So this opportunity to offer some kind of support to others is something that I feel excited and honoured to contribute to.’
The Creative Society is an arts employment charity that helps young people into jobs in the creative and cultural industries through a diverse range of projects. The charity has supported over 1000 unemployed young people into placements in the arts. www.thecreativesociety.co.uk
THIS IS IT! events are about recognising and developing the potential in young people regardless of where they come from and democratising access to careers in the creative industries. We are working in partnership with Arts Council England, Creative & Cultural Skills and UK leading arts organisations to deliver a series of live and interactive events across the country for over 6,500 unemployed 16-24 year olds from a variety of backgrounds. www.thecreativesociety.co.uk/projects/this-is-it/
The Creative Employment Programme is a £15m fund to support the creation of traineeships, formal apprenticeships and paid internship opportunities in England for young unemployed people aged 16-24 wishing to pursue a career in the arts and cultural sector.www.creative-employment.co.uk
Sarah Cox is a multi award-winning animator and producer, who set up ArthurCox with Sally Arthur in 2002. Using a combination of Live Action and Animation , they work closely with Aardman Animation for commercials and branded content; winning a British Animation Award in 2007 for The Peculiar Adventures of Hector. She recently produced her first live action feature film, 8 minutes idle, with BBC Films and Matador Pictures. She also directed The Tate Movie Project for Aardman, which has won numerous awards including a Children’s BAFTA. www.worldofarthurcox.co.uk
Mike Smith is President of Music at Virgin EMI, Records. He started as an A&R man and has signed Blur, PJ Harvey, Elastica, Supergrass, Teenage Fan Club, Doves, Starsailor, The Beta Band, The Avalanches, Gorillaz, The White Stripes, The Libertines, The Scissor Sisters, The Arcade Fire, and Arctic Monkeys. He was previously Managing Director of Columbia Records and President of Mercury Music.
Sabrina Mahfouz writes plays, poems, films, articles and stories. She produces workshops, theatre and events with the aims of making the arts more accessible for all and creating awareness of social issues through creative engagement. Her creative work has been recognized with a number of awards. Most recently, these include receiving the 2013 Sky Arts Futures Fund Award; an Old Vic New Voices Underbelly Edinburgh Award; a UK Young Artists Award; The Stage Award for Best Solo Performance; an Old Vic New Voices TS Eliot Award and a Westminster Prize for New Playwrights. Her first book, The Clean Collection, is available from Bloomsbury. www.sabrinamahfouz.com/
Images from This Is It! Sadler’s Wells launch: www.storify.com/CreativeSoc
THIS IS IT Facebook page /@creativesoc #ThisisitEvent
For high resolution images, contact email@example.com
A new project from Creative Society alumnus Jonny Mundey aims to set up free liberal arts courses for poorer students, using London as a ‘giant lecture hall’. Read Peter Wilby’s article for The Guardian below.
When the philosopher AC Grayling announced his plans for the New College of the Humanities in 2011, he argued that, mainly because of government funding cuts, the liberal arts were under threat. Many academics agreed. But Grayling’s project, later realised with the opening of a college in Bloomsbury, central London, had a catch: annual fees of £18,000, twice what conventional universities usually charge and with no access to upfront government loans. The result is that, though a third of Grayling’s students get some financial support, the majority don’t. Far from rescuing the humanities, critics say, Grayling is reinforcing the view, created by government policy (which insists arts courses must be self-funding from student fees), that studying the humanities has become a luxury for the public school-educated children of the rich.
So what about a university for the humanities that is completely free? Not a MOOC (massive online open course), which leaves students to learn at home alone, but a university that, though it would have an online element, would also have, at its core, first-hand contact with academics and other thinkers, and one that would also offer the stimulation of mixing with other students. The idea sounds impossible but Barbara Gunnell, formerly a senior journalist at the Independent on Sunday, Observer and New Statesman, and Jonny Mundey, a musician and fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, decided that it wasn’t.
London, they point out, is awash not only with free culture in the form of free museums, art galleries and concerts but also with free lectures from experts on every imaginable subject. This week alone, you can hear lectures on maths from the author Simon Singh at Conway Hall and on the legitimacy of foreign military interventions from the academic and former politician Michael Ignatieff at King’s College. You can also hear about macroeconomics at the London School of Economics, the second world war at Gresham College, the feminist Simone de Beauvoir at the British Academy, Machiavelli at Queen Mary University, and the sculptures of the Parthenon at the British Museum.
St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square and St James’s Church in Piccadilly put on free lunchtime concerts on most days of the week, and the Royal Festival Hall at the Southbank arts centre every Friday and Sunday. Free music is also available, less frequently, at numerous other London churches and the Royal Opera House. Many other talks and events can be accessed for entry fees of just a few pounds.
Gunnell and Mundey argue that the capital can serve as a giant lecture hall. They decided that, if they could collate the free resources, broker access to paid-for events, and add the best online lectures from internationally acclaimed academics, they would have a syllabus. If they could also rent premises for a central London hub, persuade organisations to donate rooms for weekly seminars and workshops, and enlist academics, postgraduates and others to contribute “shards” of their time to lecturing, tutoring or mentoring, they would have something that looked very like a university. But, in the words of their initial working title, now shortened to IF, this university is free.
They envisage an initial offering of a one-year humanities foundation course, similar to that offered in many American universities. Drawn up with advice from established academics, it will offer modules in 10 subjects, including history, music, literature, classics, philosophy and the history of science, giving students, according to the course outline, “a survey of some of the most inspiring and incisive intellectual disciplines humans have created, and the tools to think critically, clearly, ethically and creatively”. The target audience would be non-graduates aged from 18 to 30. They would be assessed partly on online exercises and offline workshops and partly on two long essays, possibly leading to Mozilla Open Badges, a new open-source form of accreditation used to certify what US colleges call “non-credit” learning, which doesn’t lead to a conventional qualification. Such badges are issued by, for example, Michigan State University and some of the Smithsonian museums in Washington.
Gunnell and Mundey recently launched an appeal for funds and have about £7,000 pledged from 92 backers. If they reach their initial target of £10,000, they will hold a four-week summer school in May as a pilot. It will take in history lectures at Gresham College, visual arts experiences via the Victoria and Albert Museum collections, and discussions around the Festival Hall concerts. They hope the university can begin teaching next January. If successful, it could be replicated in other large cities.
Where will the students come from? “There’s a perception among young people from less affluent backgrounds,” says Gunnell, “that they’re being priced out of mainstream universities. I think many would like to pursue careers in creative areas but believe they lack the cultural background and don’t have the contacts.”
She and Mundey see access to higher education in the humanities as a human right. “Society benefits from well-educated, argumentative citizens,” Gunnell says. “We have principles of justice and tolerance. We can’t just hand them down as diktats: we need to understand their basis. The humanities enrich people’s lives. They make you think about the big issues and start to suggest answers. It’s because of their education that top politicians are so utterly confident about everything.”
Last week saw National Apprenticeship Week take centre stage – a celebration of apprentices, apprenticeships and the employers that offer them.
As part of the week, two Creative Employment Programme apprentices took a leading role in Creative and Cultural Skills’ Annual Conference on Thursday. The Creative Society and the THIS IS IT! team set up stall for the say, and the two apprentices played a vital role in talking to employers, employees and conference attendees about the programme. Tamykha Patterson (pictured on the right, below) said about her day at the conference:
“Attending the CCSkills Annual Conference was an amazing experience. The Backstage Centre was filled energy, drive, ambition and positivity from college representatives, industry professionals and most importantly .. apprentices! It was a breath of fresh air to listen to the speakers and see their passion towards apprenticeships, paid internships and traineeships. On the day, designer Wayne Hemingway said “do something that makes you happy” and that’s exactly what I am doing in my role as Technical Theatre Apprentice. I was very proud and honoured to be represent The Creative Society and the Ambassadors Theatre Group on the day.”
A number of high profile speakers gave their thoughts on the role of the arts in tackling youth unemployment, including culture minister Ed Vaizey. The Creative and Cultural Skills’ report “Building a Creative Nation: Evidence Review” was presented on the topic – read The Stage’s article about it here, and keep an eye on the Creative and Cultural Skills’ website for more.
This week, employers employees, and of course apprentices across England and Scotland will come together to shout about the value of apprentices to the UK workplace.
The week celebrates the work of apprentices across sectors including Finance, Engineering, Retail and IT – and if you’re one of the apprentices that are in placements in theatres, galleries and many other cultural organisations through the Creative Employment Programme, we want to hear from you!
The Creative Society and Creative and Cultural Skills would love to see what you’ve been up to. Let us know what a day in the life of an apprentice is like by uploading a picture of yourself at work, a little story behind it and the hashtag #CreativeEmployment to @CCSkills. If you’ve got a great project on the go that you want to share, take a picture and tweet @CCSkills using the hashtags #Madebyapprentices or #CreativeEmployment
Employers can get in on the act too. Let us know why having an apprentice has been great for you – tweet your stories to @CCSkills #NAW2014 – Creative and Cultural Skills will retweet the best. You can also download an employer toolkit from the website which includes tips on making the most of NAW2014.
If you’re not on Twitter, you don’t have to miss out. Get involved by posting your stories to the Creative and Cultural Skills Facebook page.
There are exciting happening events up and down the country, so click here to find out what’s on in your area. More information about the National Campaign can also be found on the National Apprenticeship Service website.
There seems to be light at the end of the tunnel as the Regional Labour Market Statistics released from the Office of National Statistics show a fall in UK unemployment, with 125,000 fewer Job Seekers Allowance claimants compared to last quarter. The drop has translated to a 0.4% drop in the unemployment compared to last quarter.
The report featured further good news in that youth unemployment (including students) is 917,000, down 48,000 on the quarter. This provides tentative hope for a recession that has seen millions of 16-24 year-olds unemployed, but perhaps we shouldn’t start celebrating just yet. Although good news, there is still cause to be wary as the focus remains on numbers and not on the long-term suitability and profitability of the jobs in question. For example, the question could be asked whether young people resorting to low-paid jobs in the service industry, for instance, is a true reflection of an economy on the up – or indeed a valuable use of their talents.
Our Fair Access campaign, which improves recruitment practices by encouraging paid internships addresses this challenge. The scheme tackles the barriers that exist to placing young people in the creative industries and provides genuine opportunities for fulfilling work. You can read more about the campaign, and how employers can get involved, here. Another key focus of The Creative Society – the Creative and Cultural Skills-administered Creative Employment Programme, helps by providing internships, apprenticeships, and training opportunities for young jobseekers – read more about the programme, and our supporting professional development events, here.
So although there’s reason to be hopeful, we’re not jumping for joy just yet – there’s still plenty of work to be done in building an inspired, productive workforce.
What are your thoughts? Join the conversation on Twitter @CreativeSoc #CreativeEmployment
Our London-based Creative Employment Programme participants descended on Somerset House earlier this month for an ideas session to help develop our THIS IS IT! scheme. Fuelled by croissants and coffee, the interns and apprentices gave their thoughts on a CEP alumni scheme, which is currently in development by The Creative Society team. The scheme will give programme participants past and present a chance to share experiences, advice and opportunities, and help support the scheme’s upcoming generations.
The morning was hosted by making and learning space Makerversity, and saw resident start-up Kide host a session on 3D printing after the morning’s discussion. The talented bunch responded to a creative brief to build a new bridge London, modelling their designs using CAD software before being 3D printed in resin – see Katie Collins’ article for Wired on Makerversity’s ‘classroom of the future’ to see them in action.
The THIS IS IT! alumni scheme will launch in the coming months – keep an eye on the THIS IS IT! project page for the latest.
The Creative Society is looking for a Project Assistant assist in the delivery of Right Futures, a European Social Fund project offering support, guidance and advice to young unemployed adults and guiding them onto their next step of employment, training or education.
Role: Project Assistant
Salary: London Living Wage (£8.80 per hour)
Hours: 4 days a week (total 30 hours per week)
The Creative Society is an arts employment charity that helps young people into jobs in the creative and cultural industries. The Creative Society is offering a 6 month internship opportunity supporting the Project Manager in the running of a youth engagement project, offering support, advice and guidance to unemployed 16-19 year old adults and guiding them onto their next steps of employment, training or education.
This position would suit someone interested in beginning a career in youth work and seeking experience in project management. This role is a great opportunity to gain firsthand experience working for a small and dynamic arts charity.
Roles & Responsibilities:
Required Abilities & Experience:
Work related travel:
Travel around London including South East London
How to apply:
Please send your CV and covering letter of no more than one side of A4 outlining your suitability for the role to: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any questions about the position please contact Simon Bunney on 020 7845 5835.
Closing date: 10th March
Prospective start date: Week 24th March
Today’s blog post on the Guardian’s Culture Professionals’ Network highlighted the incredible power of the Creative Employment Programme (CEP) to transform the process by which young people access careers in the creative and cultural industries. As well as offering young people work opportunities in cultural workplaces, the programme is given further value through THIS IS IT!, our programme of professional development events for CEP participants – find out more on that here. Read the Guardian’s blog below, by Farnham Maltings’ Director Gavin Stride.
Dream of a career in culture? One touring network is opening doors for young culture pros – and paying them in the process
The Creative Employment Programme is an attempt to try and create new jobs and routes into the industry, and to encourage people to think about how they might develop their own initiatives. It’s a £15m fund to support the creation of apprenticeship and paid internship opportunities in England for young unemployed people aged 16-24, who dream of a career in arts and culture. That’s why House, a touring and audience engagement initiative, grabbed this opportunity and decided to turn it into something useful.
We’ve now got eight young people who are in six-month placements across the south-east, with more to come in the near future. That feels significant; it feels like something that might be making a difference. Wouldn’t it be great if in 10 or 15 years people would talk about the programme as being the thing that allowed them to get into the industry?
I hope these young people get some doors opened and I hope they get some validation in terms of saying: yes you can do it; you can make a living out of your ideas. The other real opportunity in this programme is that it’s paid. Frankly, we needed to change the status quo, where the only people who could do internships were those who were prepared to do an unpaid internship and were therefore funded either by parents or by a lifestyle that meant they didn’t need to generate income.
One of my real hopes is that the employers involved don’t just think this is a way of paying an intern they might have taken on anyway. You have to push yourself to look at creating opportunities for a wider group of people.
The two interns who are now working on a six-month basis with us at Farnham Maltings would not have been able to self-fund for six months, so there are two people who might not have made it into the arts but for that encouragement. I really hope the Creative Employment Programme and we as employers take that responsibility seriously.
Here’s what some of those involved in the scheme have to say about it.
Damian Kerlin, marketing intern, Letchworth Arts Centre
“What university doesn’t prepare you for is the extreme competition faced by new graduates in the current economic climate. Yes, they tell you that you need to work hard and should aim for a first, but in the harsh reality of it, experience dominates and degrees flag in second place.
“So many internships or apprenticeships offered me experience but very few offered me a wage. In fact some of them even expected me to pay for the service I was providing them! Experience is all well and good but you can’t live on fresh air alone. What was most important to me was to feel valued. Once you put a price on it, suddenly you become a lot more precious.
Sam Langan, festival administrator, Creative Arts East
“The fact this internship was in Norfolk and within 10 miles of my home was a huge motivation in me applying and obtaining the internship. From my job searching as a graduate, I know how difficult it is to find work in the creative arts and events industries outside of London, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
“Since graduating from university, I was looking for an internship that would allow me to work on something artistic and become passionate about a certain area of work. This internship has definitely helped me work towards achieving these goals. I have been given so much independence, which has been great for my confidence and sense of self-worth within the organisation.
“I believe that for graduates to develop in the arts industry they need to get opportunities to work in different sectors and do a range of different roles. This is difficult in a financial sense. It’s also difficult in terms of job security and the variety of roles in the market. In my experience, becoming an intern gives you the right level of responsibility and freedom that you can build upon and work towards more senior roles.”
Gavin Stride is a member of House and director of Farnham Maltings – follow him on Twitter @gavstride
Have you taken on an intern or apprentice through the Creative Employment Programme? Let us know your experiences @CreativeSoc #ThisIsItEvent
It’s under a month to go until the seventh annual National Apprenticeship Week, which runs 2-7 March. Championed by the National Apprenticeship Service, the week celebrates Apprenticeships and the incredible impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.
The week will consist of a varied programme of events, all highlighting that Apprenticeships are great for businesses, young peoples’ careers and creating opportunities for both employers. An action-packed week will include job swaps at National Skills Academy for Health (contact Dawn Bratcher at National Skills Academy for more), The Voice of Apprenticeships 2 day conference and Training for Trust’s Apprenticeship job fair. And that’s just London – there are a raft of events up and down the country, so click here to find out what’s happening in your area.
Also that week, Creative and Cultural Skills will announce the results of their Creative and Cultural Employer of the Year Awards. There are new categories this year for Intern of the Year and Apprentice of the Year – if you’d like to put someone forward, submit your nominations by 21 Feb (more info here).
In late 2013, we travelled to South Shields to deliver THIS IS IT! North East. We met and were inspired by a whole raft of creative talent in the area, including Dan Lee, Creative Employment Programme apprentice at South Tyneside Council. Read on to hear experiences of his apprenticeship so far, and how THIS IS IT! North East was for him.
“I began my apprenticeship in supporting live events and promotion at South Tyneside Council at the start of July. I had spent almost a year scavenging for work opportunities with little luck. Years of education, four years at two different colleges and it seemed like I’d achieved very little. I could have moved on to university, but I knew people who had taken this path and they were at the same place as I was. It seemed like another few years of education with a bill at the end of it.
When I got the apprenticeship I was over the moon, and I started the beginning of summer. We had public music gigs throughout the summer, and I found myself suddenly meeting people, seeing tangible outcomes of my work, but most of all I was waking up with a purpose each morning.
THIS IS IT! North East was something I had been looking forward to. I had been wondering what to do after my apprenticeship, and I needed to see some evidence that people had been where I am now and achieved success. If I am being completely honest, I wanted to see some working class people who had made a name for themselves due to hard work, not some fancy pants who got given the best education at a job and the family company. I am pleased to say that I got what I was hoping for.
We spent the day engaged in various activities – brainstorming ideas and developing thoughts with other apprentices and analysing what we had done with the speakers, discussing how they can be developed further and applied in the real world. There were speeches from people in the creative industry – these people related to what we were going through, and had been though themselves. One speech by Kevin Meikle, a Visual Artist and Studio Manager, gave an honest insight into the world of freelancing and emphasised that we don’t need to rely on someone else – if we put the hours in, we can work for ourselves.
The speaker Alex Brownless, a fashion designer and co-founder of Arts Thread, was particularly inspiring for me. He is living evidence of something that I had been told about but was yet to see. He (in fact all the speakers) talked to us with confidence and honesty. It wasn’t lofty talk about how we can do anything if we just dream; they talked to us like real people -employees even.
THIS IS IT! North East was exactly what I needed. It left my mind whizzing with ideas and thoughts. I don’t know what the future holds for me, or what what my goal is in life, but I do know that I will keep working my arse off, keep climbing the ladder and, who knows, maybe giving a speech at a THIS IS IT event in the future…”
Dan Lee, Creative Employment Programme apprentice, South Tyneside Council – who is now actively involved in helping The Creative Society develop an Alumni scheme as part of the THIS IS IT! programme.
Actor Stephen McGann, when interviewed by The Independent last week, lamented the lack of opportunities available for young working class actors, compared to those in his own youth. He said “If you’re a messy kid from a council estate today, I think the chances of you making it as a successful actor are a lot worse than they were.”
Writing in The Guardian this weekend, Sean O’Hagan highlights that this sentiment was echoed by many leading creatives, among them Brian Cox. The actor said “I feel awful that young people don’t have the opportunities that I had. It’s like we’ve excluded a root element from cultural life, and I think that’s very dangerous.” Julie Walters agreed, saying “Back then, it was still possible for a working-class kid like me to study drama because I got a grant, but the way things are now, there aren’t going to be any working-class actors.” She goes on to say “It’s just a shame those working-class kids aren’t coming through. When I started, 30 years ago, it was the complete opposite.”
In the article, it’s argued that prohibitive fees demanded by universities and colleges have excluded a less well-off demographic which has resulted in a loss of diversity and creativity in the cultural sectors- and society as a whole. O’Hagan’s article cites some startling statistics – amongst them, that 60% of 2010’s successful pop and rock acts were former public school pupils compared with just 1% 20 years ago. The question raised is a pertinent one; what happens to the young misfits that previously escaped into music and art – and at what cost culturally to today’s society?
The Creative Society tackles the issues raised in the article through a number of projects – our Fair Access campaign, for example, lobbies employers to recruit fairly, and highlights the issue of unpaid internships in the arts. Our Make a Job, Don’t Take a Job paper has brought attention to freelancing and self-employment as the lifeblood of Britain’s creative industries. And the work is far from over – our current work with Creative and Cultural Skills on the Cultural Employment Programme part funds placements in the arts for young people aged 16-25, widening access to the industry to those who may have been excluded.
What barriers do you think stand in the way of fair access to jobs in the creative industries – and how can they be addressed? Have your say @creativesoc @GuardianCulture #CreativeEmployment
Read Sean O’Hagan’s full article here.
Makerversity is a shared working and learning space in the belly of Somerset House that has brought together wearable technologists, chemists, 3D printers, architects, film makers, urban farmers, digital knitters, product designers and engineers to name a few. In their creativity incubator, they provide affordable clean and messy spaces for experimentation and ideas generation, event space and a staggering array of tools – all aimed at exploring ideas for social change.
Makerversity founders Tom Tobia, Joseph Smith, Paul Smyth and Andy Merritt established the space to aid experimentation, employability and enterprise – a driving force of our THIS IS IT! events, and making it a perfect venue. The morning will focus on post-placement opportunities and networking for the participants, followed by a 3D printing workshop led by Makerversity. Talking about the event, Tom Tobia says “We’re really excited to be hosting THIS IS IT!. As well as being a new central london home for maker start-ups we’re developing an unrivalled employability focused learning programme here and we think it fits brilliantly. Our member Dejan will be running a 3D printing workshop through his company PlayKide which is a great opportunity to learn about this burgeoning manufacturing technique and get making.”
Last week Makerversity spoke to creative education platform Let’s Be Brief about their reinvigoration of DIY culture – read the interview here.
The Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has estimated the creative industries to be worth around £71.4 billion per year to the UK economy. In their report, the DCMS reveal that the creative industries outstrip the UK economy as a whole from 2011, with a growth of 8.6% in jobs in film, television, music and software.
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Maria Miller said of the statistics, “These incredible statistics are confirmation that the Creative Industries consistently punch well above their weight, outperforming all the other main industry sectors, and are a powerhouse within the UK economy.”
For the study, the DCMS have developed a new set of guidelines by which to assess the statistics. This includes a more comprehensive definition of the ‘creative industries’ in relation to the ‘creative economy’ – details of which can be read in the report. Aiming to elucidate the analysis of the report data, the new system was developed by NESTA’s Director of Creative Industries in Policy & Research Unit, Hasan Bakshi – who is also a trustee of The Creative Society.
We are pleased to announce the exciting news that our founder and CEO Martin Bright will be taking on an additional role at the Tony Blair Faith Foundation as editor of a website commissioned by charity. The focus of the site, which is currently in development as part of an on-going collaboration with Harvard Divinity School, will be commentary on the religious factors involved in increasing numbers of conflicts.
Through a number of projects, The Tony Blair Faith Foundation provides the practical support required to help prevent religious prejudice, conflict and extremism. Their work involves empowering young people with the knowledge and skills to understand religion, opening their minds to respect and not fear difference, and to resist extremist voices. Read more about the charity here.
Martin will remain CEO of The Creative Society, as well as taking on this new role. His previous journalistic roles have included Home Affairs Editor of The Observer and Political Editor of both the New Statesman and The Jewish Chronicle.
Speaking about his new appointment, Martin said “This is a great opportunity for me to help inform a crucial policy area. There is an urgent need to understand the role religion plays in conflicts around the world. I look forward to working with experts to provide practical support to a global audience. The aim over time is to equip people with the resources to make informed decisions in this field.”
Our founder Martin Bright writes in today’s Guardian about the dangers of youth unemployment. We risk facing a ’public health timebomb’, due to the the terrible power unemployment has to sap physical and mental wellbeing.
Could it really be that things are looking up for young unemployed people in 2014? Well, no, not really. The point about being unemployed is that it is a miserable experience that saps your physical wellbeing and mental health. Eventually it burrows into your sense of self.
There will never be a good time to be unemployed, as each one of the million or so young people currently not in education, employment or training will tell you. Those unfortunate enough to be unemployed this year will find themselves at the mercy of Iain Duncan Smith’s increasingly chaotic welfare reforms, an ever more punitive sanctions regime and a Work Programme so ineffectual that even ministers once evangelical in its support barely mention it any more.
Professor Sir Michael Marmot of University College London has consistently warned of a “public health timebomb” if youth unemployment levels remain high. The influence of his recent work for the World Health Organisation, and as an adviser to this government, should help make jobs for young people a key priority for the year ahead.
Most people would accept that it makes no sense having such large numbers of young people on the dole, their talents untapped and their hopes unrealised. But what is sometimes forgotten is a genuine understanding of the value of work itself. In a market economy, our very identity is defined by what people are prepared to pay us to do. This is why the culture of free labour is so pernicious. Thanks to the work of campaign groups such as Intern Aware and Graduate Fog, 2013 was the year in which it became socially unacceptable to take on unpaid interns (it is already illegal).
Just before Christmas I visited South Shields to speak at an event to help a group of young apprentices who had just secured jobs in the cultural sector. In a small community arts centre, the Custom Space, my charity had organised a day of workshops, talks and discussions as part of the Arts Council-funded creative employment programme.
I was struck by the enthusiasm of the participants, all school-leavers with very limited experience of the world of work or life outside the north-east of England. During one of the breaks I spoke to a young man who had secured a catering apprenticeship at Souter Lighthouse, a National Trust property in Whitburn near Sunderland. He said he couldn’t summon much interest for the “creative industries” and wasn’t looking for a job in the arts. He had struggled at school and wasn’t too keen on the written exercises we had set him and his fellow apprentices. But he was prepared to give it a go because he was so proud to have a job. He said the early starts were tough, but it gave him a sense of purpose. Then he took out his phone: “Look at this!” he said, as he scrolled through photograph after photograph of the lighthouse at dawn. He explained he took the shots every morning on his way to work to remind himself of how lucky he was to have a job in such a beautiful place.
It made me think of the booklet provided to every participant on the Works Progress Administration, the Roosevelt-era job creation programme in the US that inspired me to set up my charity. There, a whole page is given over to a single slogan in bold capital letters: “WORK KEEPS US FROM GOING NUTS”. It’s as true in 2014 as it was when the words were written in 1936.
One key focus of our THIS IS IT! events is highlighting the ‘make a job, don’t take a job’ ethos to young people. Starting your own creative business can be an exciting and hugely rewarding adventure, but it can be difficult to know where to start. This Thursday 9 January at Hughes Parry Hall (University College London), TNBT Media present an interactive seminar Making it BIG in Business, focussing on the challenges and triumphs of taking the plunge to run your own company. Guest speakers will include Ketan Makwana Serial Entrepreneur & Mentor, Rockstar Youth and Ruby Mae Moore Founder & Editor at Amor Magazine – read the full line-up of inspirational speakers here. Emphasis will be on alternative sources of funding, networking and the realities of creative business start-ups. For full details of the event, click here and follow @MakingItBig3 for updates.
Apprentices in the North East responded positively to our developmental away-day in South Shields earlier this week. Participants of the Creative Employment Programme came face-to-face with top arts industry professionals, many of whom had their roots in the North East. The apprentices described the opportunity as “inspirational” – in particular Tyneside born -and-bred fashion designer and entrepreneur Alex Brownless, who has worked globally for a range of brands (see our earlier post for more about Alex). Asked for their thoughts on the day, the participants praised the speakers; “The speeches were moving and inspiring”, and highlighted how personally developmental they found the sessions “It built my confidence, and made me think about the future”, as well as commenting that it broadened their knowledge of the arts industries.
The comedian Matt Lacey hit the headlines this weekend with his latest YouTube sketch, which highlights the issue of unpaid internships. The video, part of a campaign with Creative and Cultural Skills, featured on page three of The Observer yesterday, as well as making an appearance on the guardian’s homepage online. Since being released on Thursday, the video has reached over 65,000 hits. Read the full Guardian article here.
Sylvie Campen: Activity Producer
This Is It! North East is just a day away, and we’re delighted to introduce the last of our speakers for the event. Sylvie Campen works as an Activity Producer in the Learning and Participation department at Sage Gateshead. Through volunteer work, undertaken after graduating, she was inspired to pursue a career focusing on music education and community work. Her first role in the arts was at Streetwise Opera as an intern before working with chamber orchestra Sinfonia Viva as their Education Administrator. At Sage Gateshead she is responsible for the coordination of various projects including In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead. In Harmony is a national programme that aims to inspire and transform the lives of children in deprived communities within the UK, using the power and disciplines of community-based orchestral music-making.
Alex Brownless: Co-founder, Arts Thread
The next of our THIS IS IT! North East speakers is perfectly placed to mentor Young People in starting their own creative businesses. Alex is the co-founder of Arts Thread, the world’s only creative graduate network. Over the last 3 years, Arts Thread has helped hundreds of creative graduates gain employment worldwide. There are approximately 100 institutions promoting 10,000 creative graduates from 20 coutries on the Arts Thread digital platform. He has a diverse career, designing for companies such as M&S, Banana Republic and Gap. Manufacturing in the UK, China, India & Turkey, he headed up the casualwear brand NASA, was the E- Business Manager of the International online trend website WGSN and headed up fashion & textiles at the world’s largest creative recruitment consultancy Aquent.
Frances Baker: Freelance Photographer
This Is It! North East is just a few days away, and we’re exited to introduce you to the next of our speakers for the event – Freelance Photographer Frances Baker. Frances has worked in the media and arts industry since graduating in Photography at Lancaster University in 2010. She currently works as Project and Events Co-ordinator at The Big Society Awards and as a freelance photographer. Like many other graduates, Frances found herself unemployed straight after graduation. She joined the Big Society Network through the Future Jobs Fund programme, which helped young unemployed people find paid work. She regularly gives talks to young creatives, advising them in the early stages of their career – making her an ideal contributor to This Is It! . She also frequently exhibits in London, and you can see more of her photography work at FrancesBaker.co.uk.
Kevin Meikle: Visual Artist and Studio Manager
THIS IS IT!, our series of regional events for interns and apprentices on the Creative Employment Programme, lands in the North East on Monday 16 December.
Over the coming days, we’ll be introducing you to some of the exceptional speakers and facilitators we have on board for the event. First up is Kevin Meikle, an Artist and Cultural Manager who specialises in creating and managing participatory arts projects for marginalized groups.
Kevin currently manages a charity that uses participatory arts to improve the health and wellbeing of people with mental ill-health. He is part of the BALTIC Centre of Contemporary Art’s Freelance Team and delivers creative workshops designed to engage the public in issues around contemporary art. He has worked with a broad range of groups in this setting including schools, colleges, youth, community and older people’s groups.
Drawing on his own experiences, Kevin will be illustrating to participants, what it means and how to undertake a career as a creative freelancer. The session will be underpinned with practical guidance, as an introduction towards creative entrepreneurship, project creation and management.
A selection of Kevin Meikle’s sketches
Follow @creativesoc #ThisIsItEvent for updates on Monday’s event.
Frances Carbines is currently on a six month paid internship with the Association of British Orchestras as part of the Creative Employment Programme. Last Monday she attended This Is It!, the first in a series of events we are running across England for all paid interns and apprentices on the Creative Employment Programme. She has written a blog about her experience of the day and her internship so far:
In September I became the first paid intern of the Association of British Orchestras, as part of the Creative Employment Programme. After what seemed like an interminable period of job applications and unpaid internships which provided me with few new skills and chronic financial instability, it was fantastic to finally have the opportunity to learn on the job and to know that I was a valued member of the team, with each day’s work earning a day’s wage. I was keen to attend the inaugural This Is It! event hosted at Sadler’s Wells, as the programme heralded a day filled with creative activities as well as the chance to learn more about the wider aims of the programme, while meeting fellow beneficiaries.
It was also a rare opportunity to network with arts professionals I’d never otherwise meet in day-to-day life, given their level of seniority within their organisations. That afternoon I found myself presenting a creative brief to Mike Smith, President of Music at Virgin EMI, whose career trajectory both surprised and inspired his listeners. The man who would one day sign Blur, we discovered, started as a post boy for Universal, sorting through paperwork and heaving sacks about the post room. He told us how he used his initiative to get his budding talent noticed in what to him seemed an impenetrable industry, despite his parents’ initial misgivings, having no contacts within the sector and lacking any relevant prior experience or training.
The day’s programme of activities included brainstorming tasks among fellow interns and apprentices, as well as a series of workshops with a focus on learning and sharing knowledge about freelance career paths. We were then invited to attend the launch of Building a Creative Nation at the Southbank Centre, where Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg lauded the efforts of creative organisations who’d committed to offering paid placements, and urged those as yet undecided to do likewise. Also, the Southbank Centre’s Artistic Director Jude Kelly OBE stressed the importance of championing young people in the arts, highlighting the Southbank Centre’s own input over the past few decades.
As an intern new to the world of work, it can seem immensely dispiriting to be told: ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know’ by well-meaning ‘get your foot in the door’ advisers, as is often the case when searching for answers at this stage. However, at This Is It!, the emphasis was very much on how someone in the same position as the interns and apprentices of the scheme could make the most of each available opportunity to meet people, who in turn could offer them guidance and lead them in the right direction. Having the support of the Creative Employment Programme, and its partners, associates and advocates will be a crucial element of the professional and personal development of every young person who takes part.
Association of British Orchestras Intern
It’s been a long journey, but Nick Clegg’s announcement on Monday evening that the authorities will come down on employers “like a ton of bricks” if they hire unpaid internships is very good news. It is the strongest indication yet that the government intends to enforce existing laws.
Clegg was speaking at the launch of Creative & Cultural Skills’ Building a Creative Nation campaign which pledged to create 6,500 paid internships and apprenticeships in creative organisations across England by March 2015 via the Creative Employment Programme.
As mentioned in previous blogs, The Creative Society’s Fair Access Principle has become a central tenet of the programme, making the link in employers’ minds between access to public funding and paying staff fairly.
So far over 100 creative employers, including Ambassadors Theatre Group, the Royal Opera House, Belgrade Theatre, Tobacco Factory and Swamp Circus have signed the principle, publicly committing to paying all future interns and recruiting transparently. Whilst the creative industries are known for some of the most egregious examples of unpaid internships, it is clear through our work on the Fair Access campaign that many creative industries employers are well ahead of other industries in adopting meritocratic recruitment policies.
Our recently designed Fair Access kitemark can now be displayed on the website of every organisation who has signed the Fair Access Principle and our mission over the coming year is to significantly increase the number of organisation signing the principle. Whilst we very much welcome Clegg’s “ton of bricks”, celebrating examples of progressive recruitment could have an equally transformative effect on the make-up of the creative industries.
The Creative Society is looking for a Project Manager to effectively run Right Futures, a European Social Fund project offering support, guidance and advice to young unemployed adults and guiding them onto their next step of employment, training or education.
Work related travel: Ability to travel around London including South East London
Duration of the Job: 6 months, 5 days per week
Salary: £18-22k, depending on experience
Location of Work: Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA
Closing date: Friday 6th December
Please email your CV and covering letter (maximum one page) to: email@example.com
The Creative Society presents THIS IS IT! a series of regional, live & interactive events bringing together 6,500 Creative Employment Programme interns & apprentices, employers and businesses from the creative sector to develop the future creative workforce.
THIS IS IT! launches in London on Monday 18th of November at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. It will be a full day of interactive sessions, talks and expertly facilitated workshops to help apprentices and interns aged 16-24 make the most of their opportunity.
We’ve organised a dynamic event where industry professionals inspire young people to reach their potential, maximise their creativity, learn from other creative self-starters’ experiences and share ideas with each other.
A panel of industry professionals will challenge the interns and apprentices to show their skills in a Creative Brief session. They will work in multidisciplinary teams for an hour to come up with responses, before presenting them to representatives of some of London’s biggest creative employers including Universal Music, the Roundhouse and the Ambassador Theatre Group.
THIS IS IT! continues its run in December in the North East. Keep up to date with upcoming news by joining our Facebook page and following @CreativeSoc #ThisIsIt on Twitter.
THIS IS IT! is part of the Creative Employment Programme and is supported by Creative & Cultural Skills and Arts Council England. If you would like more information about the events you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Creative Employment Programme
In 2012 the Arts Council England announced The Creative Employment Programme (CEP), a £15 million grant scheme which provides unemployed people aged 16-24 with paid opportunities in the creative sector.
The programme is delivered by Creative & Cultural Skills, the sector skills council for the creative industries, and will fund 6,500 new apprenticeships, traineeships and paid internships (graduate & non graduate) across the creative sector, with a focus on the Arts Council’s footprint; music, dance, theatre, literature, visual arts, contemporary craft, combined arts, galleries, circus, carnival arts, museums and libraries.
The programme will give young people interested in a career in the arts valuable skills and experience, and remove the barrier of prolonged periods of unpaid work and help them make connections in the sector.
More info: www.creative-employment.co.uk
*This position has now closed.
Application Deadline: Friday 22th November, 12noon.
Interviews will be scheduled on the week of the 25th of November.
Duration: Six months fixed term, four days a week.
Start Date: 9th December
Salary: London Living Wage (£8.80 per hour)
In November 2013, The Creative Society launches THIS IS IT! a series of regional, interactive events designed to develop the careers of 6,500 young creative professionals aged 16-24 across England. THIS IS IT! brings interns and apprentices taking part in the Creative Employment Programme together with UK leading industry professionals, local enterprises, businesses and creative employers. The events will be supported by an online and offline network to help young people in the early stages of their career.
Role description and Candidate Profile
The post-holder will work closely with the Events Organiser to communicate and sell the events and the network. Your objective will be to deepen participant engagement, support in attracting sponsorship to the programme and communicate our vision effectively to a wide range of audiences.
We are looking for a very strong communicator, who is enthusiastic and committed to young people and the creative industries. The candidate must be confident in conveying this passion to a wide range of partners, from young people, to bank managers or creative industry leaders. You should understand what young people want from their first steps in their career, and be familiar with upcoming youth facing brands.
Brief description of role and responsibilities
Essential knowledge, skills and experience
Desired competencies, skills & interests
Please note the role will also require travel and overnight stays within England. As this role involves working with young people, you will also be required to do a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
If you wish to apply for this position please contact us and tell us how you meet the experience and person specification in no more than 250 words, and attach your CV:
Name: Andrea De La Cruz
tel: 020 7845 5830
Location: Westminster (London)
Salary: London Living Wage (£8. 55p/h) 32 hours per week
This 12 month apprenticeship scheme combines ‘on the job’ training, working for Sadiq Khan MP in his parliamentary office, with a formal qualification in Business & Administration.
Successful candidates will work in an Apprentice Caseworker role. Once a fortnight you will take part in workshops and carry out your study towards an NVQ Level 3 Business & Administration qualification.
To play an important support role within a parliamentary office. Completing a course of study and obtaining work related professional qualifications. We are looking for an apprentice with a keen interest in politics. The successful candidate will display a can-do attitude.
Roles & responsibilities:
Answering telephone calls and dealing with routine enquiries
Responding to basic constituent queries
Opening and distributing mail
Creating and maintaining information on systems and databases
General administrative duties including typing, filing, emailing and photocopying
Conducting research on a wide range of issues
Assisting with the preparation of briefings and press releases
Maintaining press/media databases
Additional projects as required
Assisting with campaigns
Required abilities and experience:
Understand the office’s objectives and targets
Understand the values of the Labour Party
Ability to work to tight deadlines and multi-task
Excellent attention to detail, spelling and grammar with a high level of accuracy
Excellent communication skills, both written and oral
Must have strong initiative and excellent organisational skills
Good knowledge of Microsoft Office, email and internet
Candidates must be aged 16-24
GCSE Maths and English at grade A*-C (GCSE certificates will be required)
Previous experience in an administrator role is desirable but not necessary
GCSE ICT at A*-C desirable but not necessary
NB – candidates with a degree/level 4 qualification are NOT eligible for this position.
Friday 20th September
Interviews will take place in the week beginning 30th September.
How to apply:
Email CV and covering letter to Simon Bunney at email@example.com. In your covering letter please answer the following questions:
In your covering letter please answer the following questions:
What are your strengths? (eg Team working, organising etc)
Why are you a good addition to an MP’s office?
What sort of issues do you think people write into their MP’s about?
Is there anything we can do to help you at an interview? (eg do you need a signer, information in Braille etc)
What are your interests and achievements?
What interests you about working for an MP? (maximum 250 words)
What are your future career aspirations? (maximum 250 words)
If you have any questions about the role please contact Simon Bunney on 020 7845 5835.
Here is our CEO Martin Bright’s latest article for The Guardian on how the UK can create jobs through the arts. Enjoy!
I first had the idea of setting up a youth employment charity in 2008, and it all seemed so simple then. I wanted to harness the success of Britain’s creative industries to help get young people off the dole and into work. As the economy collapsed, I was inspired by the cultural projects of the Roosevelt-era that helped the early careers of a generation of American artists. I hoped that by putting young people into creative jobs, we might find the next generation of Jackson Pollocks, Saul Bellows and Orson Welleses. Give me another 10 years and I will tell you whether we have succeeded.
In a small charity like ours, it is easy to get distracted from the job you set out to do in the first place. When survival depends on chasing the next contract or donation or grant, a kind of charitable mission creep can sometimes set in. This is a particular problem for specialist welfare-to-work charities, which can end up chasing so-called outcome payments, for getting people into jobs, at the expense of their core principles. It demands a steely discipline to keep to that founding vision, but also a degree of flexibility to ensure that you are still helping people make their lives better. We specialise in getting people into jobs in theatres, arts centres and film companies, but what happens when we meet someone at a jobcentre who desperately wants to work in childcare? The answer, of course, is that we find them a job in childcare.
In these difficult times we have been forced to diversify and I am proud of our work to end the practice of unpaid internships in the arts and of setting up the first apprenticeships in MPs offices through our Parliamentary Academy scheme.
But creating jobs in the creative industries is what we are passionate about – and making those jobs available to as wide a talent pool as possible. Earlier this month we heard that we would be working on the Arts Council’s £15m Creative Employment Programme, which will put 6,500 trainees, apprentices and paid interns into work over the next two years. In collaboration with the sector skills council, Creative and Cultural Skills, we will be running the Creative Academy, a series of regional workshops and networking events for the young people involved to prepare them for working life. We hope to hold our first event in the North East in autumn, followed by the other regions over the course of the next year.
We are also delighted that the scheme has adopted our fair access principle, which commits organisations to good employment practices, including paying all interns. We advocate paying at least the national minimum wage and the living wage where possible. This is an important example of how pioneering the arts can be and, if it works, there is no reason the fair access principle couldn’t be built into all government procurement. In future, no arts organisation that employs unpaid interns should receive Arts Council money and the same should apply to all government contractors.
The Creative Employment Programme demonstrates how enlightened public-sector institutions working closely with arts organisations, charities, local councils and private-sector employers can confront a real social problem and provide new ways to tackle it.
The real test, as ever, will come with the delivery of the scheme. But if enough employers sign up, the Creative Employment Programme will provide a challenging alternative model of work creation for any future government to consider.
There has been widespread shock at the sacking of all the arts critics at the Independent on Sunday. It is difficult to see how a newspaper can expect to be taken seriously without a respected culture section, but the editor has finally broken cover to justify the decision. Using Slipped Disc, the blog of the respected music critic and novelist Norman Lebrecht, Lisa Markwell cited “the economic state of all of Britain’s newspapers, and the Independent titles in particular”, in mitigation. Here full response can be seen here: http://www.artsjournal.com/slippeddisc/2013/08/editor-who-sacked-all-arts-critics-submits-her-reasoning.html
The piece immediately sparked a discussion on Twitter about this unprecedented situation, where every single critic on a national newspaper has been shown the door. People also raised the issue of unpaid internships at the Independent titles and elsewhere in the industry.
The Creative Society has worked hard to persuade arts organisation to stop this practice. The Arts Council and Creative & Cultural Skills should be congratulated for building our Fair Access Principle into the new £15 million scheme to create 6,500 employment opportunities. The Creative Employment Programme is a model for future government procurement – not a penny of public money should go to organisations that use unpaid labour.
Media organisations should also raise their game. The use of unpaid labour should be considered as shameful as fraud. We welcome the intervention of rock journalist Barney Hoskyns and his Stop Working for Free campaign: https://www.facebook.com/groups/263804607094399/?fref=ts.
Let’s just hope that arts writers who contribute to the Independent on Sunday in future insist on being paid a fee for their work. That’s if they can bear to work for a publication prepared to indulge in such a brutal act of philistinism.
We are delighted to announce that our next This Is It! event is taking place on Monday 6 March in Stockton-on-Tees. In the heart of the North East of England, ARC Stockton Arts Centre will host an inspiring day for our Creative Employment Programme participants. With workshops by local creative producers Urban Kaos and with guest speakers including Graham Ramsay, CEO Ten Feet Tall comedy, Annabel Turpin CEO ARC Stockton Arts Centre and writer and journalist, Andrew Hankinson, author of ‘You Could Do Something Amazing With Your Life [You Are Raoul Moat]’, we look forward to motivating young people to pursue their creative dreams. ARC offers a full programme of professional, high-quality cultural entertainment including music, comedy, theatre, dance, spoken word, film and work for families. They also have an extensive programme of creative activity for people to take part in, and provide support and development opportunities for professional performance artists.
Twitter @CreativeSoc #ThisIsItNetwork
My mother wasn’t a good mother. She never cared for me and my siblings as she should have. Throughout my childhood I acted as a young carer to all six of them, changing their nappies, feeding them, making sure they got to school.
Things got worse when, on January 1st 2005, my baby sister passed away. My mother couldn’t manage after that. Nothing got cleaned, our clothes didn’t get washed, she became more distant, and slowly social services got more and more involved.
In August 2008 they split us up. My sisters went one way, my brothers another, and I, at 15 old enough to decide, went back to my mother’s – what else would a kid chose?
My mother soon started blaming me for what had happened. In May of 2009 she threw me out, shortly before she was sent to prison. I ended up with my uncle who, after realising he couldn’t look after me, also threw me out. That was the day when, at 16, I officially became homeless.
My life was on the edge. Things could have gone so wrong. But, I was lucky. A friend’s family took me in for a few weeks before a housing charity gave me a place to live by myself, giving me the stability to continue at sixth form whilst living off benefits. Although I would come home to an empty house, with no family to look after me, I had a chance.
Somehow I made it to Keele University and although my life didn’t become perfect, the long summer holidays and remnants of my past life haunted me, I learnt a lot and did a lot. In the end I didn’t manage to graduate, leaving me in a tricky position last summer.
I tell you all this not for sympathy, but because I want you to understand what an amazing opportunity this Scheme is. I remember – vividly – the day my siblings were sent in three directions. The social worker who did this looked me in the eye and told me my view didn’t matter, that I didn’t matter.
It often feels like I’ve been kicked down at every stage and not given the opportunity to succeed. I’ve worked hard, volunteered, campaigned and have done as much as possible. But, despite this, it feels like I fail, not because of my actions, but because of my circumstances.
Getting a place on the Speaker’s Scheme has been an incredible, life-changing experience. Four days a week I work for Wes Streeting MP in his parliamentary office doing everything from managing the inbox to writing campaign responses, and one day a week I’m either in a parliamentary department, I’ve worked in Visitor Services and Digital Services, or I’m being taken on away days to corporations who sponsor the Scheme.
The Scheme also works hard to make you as employable as possible once you finish. They organise masterclasses to show us potential career avenues, give us a mentor to help with CVs and applying for jobs, provide two weeks of training at the start and connect us with organisations such as BP, CH2M and The Royal Mail on away days throughout.
I still walk around this place amazed at where I am and what I’m doing. The Scheme really has opened Parliament up to me. If you’re reading this and you too feel like you’re not the type of person who’d normally be able to work here, but have a keen interest in politics and ready to jump into the unexpected, then apply, apply, apply.
Had CODA previously recruited interns or apprentices?
We’ve often had work experience and interns at the company, most of which are still here now. We had a work experience person who is now an assistant, so we are very much advocates for bringing people in from the ground up.
“For people to come here for 12-18 months and walk away with a qualification under their belt, it can only be a positive thing.”
What made CODA decide to use the UK Music Apprenticeship Scheme?
Partly from my own experience. When I left school I didn’t want to go to University, I wanted to work but I also felt I needed a qualification to go with it. So that’s how I came through the industry, I did a BTECH in business and finance, which worked out well for me. I think having a different route to work is a good thing, it brings options to young people and the more options people have the better. That’s not to say we don’t employ people that have come out of university, it’s just I’m an absolute believer in on the job training. For people to come here for 12-18 months and walk away with a qualification under their belt, it can only be a positive thing. I think putting what you’ve learnt in the classroom in to practice can make it easier in a way.
Have you previously employed apprentices through the Creative Employment Programme?
This is the first time we’ve used the Creative Employment Programme, although CODA have always had options for work experience and internships. I prefer it this way as there is a proper framework and it feels more formal.
”with the apprenticeship scheme it gives them an opportunity to learn the whole industry, work out what part they like and what area they might want to go in to.”
What would you say the best thing is about using the Creative Employment Programme?
I think because it’s a creative and music led business, it means we can find and meet people that are interested in those areas. Otherwise you get people that aren’t necessarily interested in music or the creative arts. I think the Creative Employment Programme can channel people in the right direction, as it’s important to have a passion for whatever you do.
“Even though we like to keep everyone here, for us it’s an entry in to the industry, rather then necessarily CODA.”
What do you think the benefit is of having apprentices working in the creative or music industry?
I think especially in the music industry there isn’t necessarily an obvious route or qualification that you should do. If you end up in marketing, you could have maybe completed a marketing degree, but I think overall in this industry it’s about having a passion for music. If you want to be an agent for example you need to be great at selling and have a good ear for music, so it’s about whether you have that sales acumen and be able to close deals. So there isn’t necessarily a qualification to be an agent, it’s something you learn as you go.
I think at least with the apprenticeship scheme it gives them an opportunity to learn the whole industry, work out what part they like and what area they might want to go in to. You can come and work here for 12 months with the idea there could be a job at the end of it, but at the same time they might decide it’s another side of the industry they prefer, which is fine too. Obviously we like to keep good people but whatever is right for that person at that given time is the right thing.
There is a network set up called Young Guns aimed at 16 to 24 year olds working in the music industry. Part of what they do is organising companies in the industry to host events, we’ve hosted one along with companies like Spotify and the BBC. We absolutely encourage our apprentices to go to those events, so they get a wider knowledge of what’s going on in the industry. Even though we like to keep everyone here, for us it’s an entry in to the industry, rather then necessarily CODA.
“Think about who needs help, what does the job entail and whether the person can invest the right amount of time for training. It needs to be a success all round, so I think making those decisions are important.”
Would you use schemes like the Creative Employment Programme for hiring apprentices in the future?
Yes I would definitely. We have quite a few apprentices here at the moment. One person has now got a job and hopefully the others will either stay at CODA or move on to good things and them being here will open up another couple of doors..
What advice would you give other companies who might be considering using the Creative Employment Programme to hire apprentices?
I think talk to other people that are already involved, so you can get a proper insight in to it.
The most important thing is to make sure the apprentices get what they need at the end of it, so you do need to think about who they’re working with. Think about who needs help, what does the job entail and whether the person can invest the right amount of time for training. It needs to be a success all round, so I think making those decisions are important. I think the biggest thing is to try and chat to other people that have already been through it, because then you can get proper advice.
Hear stories from some of our interns and apprentices through the This Is It! magazine.