Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts is celebrating the launch of its new Youth Employment Programme, which provides opportunities for traineeships, formal apprenticeship and paid internships for unemployed people aged 16-24 wishing to pursue a career in the arts and cultural sector. Young people from all backgrounds – from graduates, to those with few or no qualifications – will have the chance to access on-the-job training and experience.
The programme comes about as a result of funding from the Creative Employment Programme, a £15m fund to support the creation of these types of roles within the arts sector in England.
The programme has got off to a flying start with its first appointment – 23 year old Sophie, who started work as Lighthouse’s first marketing intern in September last year. Many arts organisations in the region operate with part-time marketing staff, which means the opportunities to gain the level of arts marketing experience offered to Sophie by Lighthouse are few and far between. The programme has enabled her to gain vital skills through supporting marketing campaigns whilst working with other venues, producers, promoters and creative teams, which in turn widens her own connections within the sector.
Sophie commented: “It’s been a really good opportunity to have a taster of working in an arts environment. After completing my degree in Communication, I found it really hard to get a job using my skills. After being told that you can go anywhere after you finish university, you find out it’s actually really hard to get a job. I struggled to find work in the arts and it kept coming back to the same reason - my lack of experience. Getting this internship has really helped to develop my confidence in the skills I have, and I feel Lighthouse has really invested in me and taken the time to teach me how everything fits together in the running of an arts organisation. I hope to take this experience to another role working in the arts.”
The Youth Employment Programme also offers opportunities for technical apprenticeships – the arts industry has predicted a national shortage in skilled technicians over the next decade, and Lighthouse, with its multi-auditoria environment, offers an ideal training ground. Through a mix of on-the-job and college-based learning over two years, Lighthouse is able to offer foundation training across all aspects of technical delivery including stage, lighting, sound, film, visual arts and conferencing.
A new role, integral to supporting the duty management team responsible for running Lighthouse, is also being developed. Successful candidates will have the opportunity to learn about all aspects of venue management including customer experience, facilities management, health, safety and security, licensing, retail and merchandising and staff and volunteer management.
“As an accredited Investors in People employer and Arts Award Supporter, we have previously delivered opportunities to young people through work experience, Future Jobs Fund and apprenticeships, but we are keen to develop this further,” explained Elspeth McBain, chief executive for Lighthouse. “An ongoing skills shortage in the creative and cultural sector means that more than a quarter of employers have had difficulty in recruiting due to a lack of experience and skills in applicants. The Lighthouse Youth Employment Scheme means we can tackle this problem head-on by actively upskilling within the sector and enabling young people to get that vital first foot in the door.”
Those interested in applying for the scheme are advised to look out on the Lighthouse website www.lighthousepoole.co.uk for the next round of recruitment.