A consortium of Liverpool’s leading cultural organisations – led by Tate Liverpool – is set to launch a unique national training scheme this May. Creative Apprenticeships Liverpool has been devised for young people aged 16-24. It’s part of the national Creative Apprenticeships scheme devised by Creative & Cultural Skills and will pave the way for thousands of young people to access previously out-of-reach careers within the creative and cultural industries.
Competition for jobs within the cultural sector is fierce. Often, entry-level jobs are awarded to graduates who already have significant work experience under their belts. This means that young people who may have the right talent and aptitude, but don’t have the qualifications or work experience, are unable to compete. The end result is a workforce that isn’t diverse and that doesn’t reflect the local communities it serves.
To tackle this, eight major arts organisations, known collectively as Liverpool Arts & Regeneration Consortium (LARC), together with Liverpool Community College, have been involved in the development of Creative Apprenticeships Liverpool and will be piloting the programme in the city during 2008.
In September, ten young people from Merseyside will become the first Creative Apprentices in the region. They’ll receive paid, on-the-job training while working inside some of Liverpool’s most successful arts organisations, from Tate Liverpool to the newly reopened Bluecoat. As well as walking away with a formal qualification at the end of the 12-month programme (a Level 2 NVQ in Community Arts Management), participants will gain invaluable work experience, career counselling and transferable skills.
Importantly, Creative Apprenticeships Liverpool will ensure that local young people get the skills they need to take advantage of the boom in cultural jobs in their home city.
The development of this ambitious programme was initiated by Tate and independent grant-making body, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Taking a long-term view, the Foundation invested £155,000 in the Liverpool pilot, funding not only initial research and development but also ‘capacity building’ within the Liverpool-based arts organisations taking part.
The programme’s early research identified that Liverpool’s cultural organisations were more used to managing experienced graduates than young people fresh from school, leaving them ill equipped to support young employees. A major part of the programme has therefore focused on changing the employment culture within participating organisations, with staff receiving formal and informal training to give them the skills necessary to support younger colleagues. National Museums Liverpool has delivered this part of the programme, which represents a major step towards creating a more diverse workforce within Liverpool’s growing creative and cultural sector.
‘The Paul Hamlyn Foundation welcomes the launch of Creative Apprenticeships Liverpool,’ says Robert Dufton, Director of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. ‘We see this as a national pilot for cultural organisations across the UK, enabling them to use their resources so that young people in their communities develop skills which will equip them for working both in the creative industries and other sectors. In particular, this scheme has the potential to contribute to the development of the workforce for the 2012 Olympics. The Foundation initiated this scheme with Tate Liverpool and has contributed towards its development and implementation. The Foundation is committed to maximising opportunities for individuals and communities to realise their potential and experience and enjoy a better quality of life.’
‘This scheme shows both the strengths of Liverpool’s cultural sector and investors’ confidence in it,’ said Andrea Nixon, Executive Director of Tate Liverpool. ‘We were extremely fortunate to have had a partner such as the Paul Hamlyn Foundation involved from the start. The Foundation understood our vision for the Apprenticeships, believed that we could change the culture of employment within the sector and had complete confidence in the ability of the city’s cultural organisations to work together to make Creative Apprenticeships Liverpool a reality.’
Creative Apprenticeships Liverpool launches at Tate Liverpool on 13 May – with the consortium behind it looking to sign up its first intake of ten apprentices by 13 June. The Apprenticeships themselves will kick off in September 2008 and will run for 12 months.
Open events will be held at: Tate Liverpool (13 May, 6pm-8pm), National Museums Liverpool (18 May, 2pm-4pm) and FACT (29 May, 1pm-4pm). Applicants can also find out more at www.creativeapprenticeshipsliverpool.org.uk.
Notes to Editor
# 1. Creative Apprenticeships Liverpool partners and funders
Creative Apprenticeships Liverpool has been developed in partnership with Tate Liverpool, the Creative & Cultural Skills Council, the Learning & Skills Council, Liverpool Community College and the Liverpool Arts & Regeneration Consortium (LARC). Tate Liverpool has raised £250,000 for the programme. The principal programme funder is the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, with additional financial support provided by the participating arts organisations (Tate Liverpool, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, FACT, National Museums Liverpool, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Theatres, Liverpool Biennial, The Bluecoat and the Unity Theatre), Arts Council England’s Thrive programme, Liverpool City Council and the Museums Libraries and Archives Council.
# 2. Part of a national programme of Creative Apprenticeships
Creative Apprenticeships Liverpool is part of a wider national programme of Creative Apprenticeships being developed by the Creative & Cultural Skills, the Sector Skills Council for advertising, design, craft, cultural heritage, commercial music and the literary, visual and performing arts. The scheme has the backing of Government, who announced in January 2008 their desire to create ‘5000 creative apprentices by 2013’. Creative Apprenticeships are the first officially recognised apprenticeship programme for the creative and cultural industries. On these courses, Apprentices will gain GCSE or A Level equivalent qualifications that are designed and approved by industry and that offer an alternative to further education.
# 3. Liverpool Thrive Programme and LARC
Creative Apprenticeships Liverpool has received support from the Liverpool Thrive programme run by the Liverpool Arts Regeneration Campaign (LARC), supported through Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts Thrive! Programme. LARC is a partnership of eight of the major cultural institutions in Liverpool, which aims to increase the contribution of the arts and cultural sector to the regeneration of the city-region. The partners include the Bluecoat, FACT, Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, National Museums Liverpool, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society, Tate Liverpool and the Unity Theatre.
# 4. The role of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation
Creative Apprenticeships Liverpool has been in development for two years, and has been supported throughout by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF). PHF has supported the programme through: feasibility study and testing of the concept, building capacity within participating organisations, and commissioning evaluation of the scheme.
# 5. Who can apply to become a Creative Apprentice?
Creative Apprenticeships Liverpool has been designed to target young people aged 16- 24 in Liverpool who have an NVQ Level 2 or less. Candidates do not need to have attained previous qualifications or training. However, this is an entry level programme designed to help those with an NVQ Level 2 or less get into the creative and cultural sector and so the programme is not open to graduates or anyone with qualifications higher than an NVQ Level 2.