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.