Brand new for 2022, two of Newbury’s leading arts organisations are coming together to launch a three year long joint pilot programme to highlight and explore transferable skills within the arts sector, supporting employment prospects and life chances for younger generations.
Helping West Berkshire’s young people understand that a career in the creative industries is not just about performing on stage, the opportunities created will raise awareness of and encourage aspirations to all areas of the creative sector. With the ongoing recruitment crisis, this scheme makes a long-term investment in developing interest and skills to be part of the arts and culture sector.
Katy Griffiths, Director of Corn Exchange Newbury, comments, This is a hugely exciting venture for both of our organisations, and we are hugely grateful to Greenham Trust for their support and vision in funding this programme of work aimed at improving employment opportunities and creating better life chances for young people across the region. We know that involvement in the creative arts has the potential to help change people’s lives, and this is a unique opportunity to do just that for our community.
Claire Murray, Executive Director of The Watermill Theatre, says, Nurturing talent, on and off stage, is core to our ethos at the Watermill. We’re excited to join forces with the Corn Exchange to reach and offer opportunities to young people across Berkshire and Hampshire through the Careers in the Arts programme. Working within arts and culture is an exciting and fulfilling experience and we’re looking forward to welcoming young people to learn more about the jobs that are available to them in this sector and to gain valuable work experience. Huge thanks to Greenham Trust for their funding for this collaboration.
Supported by Greenham Trust, connecting and inspiring young people through schools, careers advisors, support networks and youth groups is at the heart of this programme, developed through events, activities and outreach work including attendance at careers fairs. The programme will also fund an initiative called Young Creatives. This group will meet regularly, free of charge for participants, providing opportunities for those involved to gain a real understanding and hands-on experience of what it takes to run a theatre and how events both on and off-stage are created.
There will be opportunities for work experience, volunteering, involvement in event planning and takeover weekends and master classes for those who want to engage with the arts. Young people will be able to gain a deeper understanding of the range of pathways that are available to them in the arts and culture sector, and will also have access to special events and discounted/complimentary tickets to experience the work on the Watermill and Corn Exchange’s stages.
The scheme will be offering its first traineeships from September 2023, with up to four six-month long paid placements available across both organisations with available areas of focus including technical, marketing, fundraising, finance, wardrobe, catering, front of house or box office. The cohort would receive mentorship from their designated line manager as well as support from the Project Manager, and the scheme will enable them to seek work beyond their placement. The ambition would be for these young people to gain the skills and experience needed to be able to pursue further roles within the sector, with the hope that the trainees will become advocates to new participants in the programme and provide peer to peer support to future trainees.
Recruitment has begun for a Project Manager, who will strategically develop and lead the programme, make connections, build and manage relationships and advocate for the scheme. You can apply for the role here: cornexchangenew.com/about/vacancies.