As we come to the end of the quarter (bringing with it the glimmer of life after lockdown), 2021 has already been a hive of activity here at CCSkills.
Creative Kickstart is now underway: the 2021 Discover! Creative Careers Week has seen fantastic participation from schools and employers; and the Spring Budget announced a new ‘flexi-apprenticeship’ programme, which will allow apprentices to work for a number of different employers in the same sector, something we have long advocated for.
With these programmes and many more all running at once, it is crucially important that we anchor absolutely everything we do in our Vision, Mission and Purpose: who are we doing this for?
Yes, we work with many employers and organisations in the cultural sector. While we provide advice and support to them, and absolutely want to see them thrive, they’re not the ultimate beneficiaries of our work.
We’re also a Sector Support Organisation for Arts Council England and have a range of productive relationships with funders across the UK. But, while we work collaboratively with our funders, they aren’t the ones who benefit either.
The people that we actually champion and support are young people looking to build a career in the cultural sector. Specifically young people from under-represented groups in our society.
Creative Kickstart, a job creation scheme that funds meaningful job placements for young people, has the potential to transform the way that the sector thinks about recruitment. We hope to see it demonstrate to employers sector-wide the opportunities and benefits of recruiting from a wider pool of talent, and of a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
Discover! Creative Careers Week - which won CDI’s UK Career Development Award - was an online programme that introduced tens of thousands of secondary school students to an exciting array of careers and workplaces across the creative industries. It included six live Q&A panels with experts discussing their career journeys and taking questions from students, as well as daily ‘Zoom the Professional’ workshops dedicated to introducing students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to careers in museums and galleries. Showcasing the breadth of career options to young people who may never have considered a creative career to be a viable option for them is the first step in opening up our sector.
Finally, the ‘flexi-apprenticeship’ programme will allow individuals to work for a number of different employers in the same sector. Linked to an agency, instead of a single employer, this will allow apprentices to develop an even greater range of skills by taking on different jobs with multiple employers. We hope this will support more young people, whose career prospects have been hit hard by Covid, to find long-term, rewarding work in the cultural sector.
All of these programmes and many more facilitate the creation and take-up of apprenticeships and workplace opportunities for young people. Our vision is that this will help grow the industry, open up recruitment and ensure the cultural sector will build back fairer for the next generation of creative professionals.
Jane Ide OBE, CEO, Creative & Cultural Skills