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Connecting Industry, Education and Creativity in the Midlands and beyond.

Creative Alliance Apprenticeships 4 Englan d Provider of the Year Award Winner 2014

P3 Creative Apprenticeships

On The Rise In The Midlands


P13 Creative Pioneers 2014 Launched

CA Link 01 March 2014


Seven Seconds We’ve recently been recruiting for a young person to join Creative Alliance in a paid role as a marketing and sales assistant. We do a lot of recruiting. Not necessarily to join us but for companies wanting to recruit creative apprentices. In the last year alone we’ve advertised 60 apprenticeships positions for creative and cultural organisations as diverse as the largest museum in the Midlands to a micro film production unit of three people. We see hundreds of CVs, letters and application forms from young people. Most of them aren’t up to scratch. I know from experience that often the skills are there, they just haven’t been evidenced in writing. Let’s take ‘A’. A is very talented young man I met when supporting Punch on their Music Potential programme last year. I looked at A’s CV. It has the same cut and paste opening personal statement I’ve seen hundreds of times. The world is full of ‘passionate, committed, organised team players who can act on their own initiative’. What he had failed to include was the fact that he organised a slam poetry event that was attended by 300 people at the mac, Birmingham. ‘Why isn’t that anywhere on your CV’ I asked? ‘I was told it wasn’t relevant’ was the response. ‘Of course it’s relevant. Whatever paid work you’re going for, employers want to see that you can do the things you say you can. That’s what they’re paying you for.’

Which brings me to the seven seconds. That’s the average amount of time an employer will spend looking at a CV. It’s the amount of time I spent looking at the 50+ applications we received for our marketing and sale assistant. If I couldn’t see front or centre that an applicant had got some experience in sales or marketing they went in the no pile. That’s why I understand the frustration of employers. There are amazingly talented young people. But a lot of them are not gathering the right kind of evidence of their talents and abilities. Even if they are getting on and making things happen, like ‘A’ is, then they are underselling themselves. Together we can do something to help boost confidence and provide knowledge but it’s down to each young person to sort out their attitude. My challenge to every young person looking for paid work in the creative industries is make it tough for us employers. Do stuff. Make stuff. Organise stuff. Sell stuff. Tell us of all the stuff you’ve done and all the knowledge, skills and experience you’ve got from doing it. Show us how you are ideally suited for the role we have. Make us spend more than 7 seconds looking at your CV. And then even if we don’t give you a job it won’t matter. You’ll be able to make your own job and run your own creative business. Noel Dunne Director Creative Alliance

CA Link 01 March 2014



Image Copyright Chris Keenan

Chris Keenan was one of the first creative professionals to be supported by Creative Alliance. He is now a successful film maker and photographer working internationally on a diverse range of self initiated and commissioned projects.

CA Link 01 March 2014




IN THE MIDLANDS 500 YOUNG PEOPLE ATTEND JANUARY’S ‘GET INTO CREATIVE EMPLOYMENT’ EVENT Saturday 25th January welcomed over 500 young people to the Get Into Creative Employment event at the Birmingham REP, where 15 of the city’s arts and cultural organisations offered over 30 paid internship or apprenticeship opportunities across a range of creative roles. This opportunity for employers to meet potential new applicants was hugely successful, the space buzzing with passionate young creatives exploring their chance to get into creative employment. The positions available are made possible with funding from the Creative Employment Programme, a £15m fund to support the creation of traineeships, formal apprenticeship and paid internship opportunities in England for young unemployed people aged 16-24 wishing to pursue a career in the arts and cultural sector. Birmingham Museums Trust are long time champions of offering young people opportunities through apprenticeships. The programme has allowed them to take on another apprentice, but also a paid

intern; a rare opportunity for a graduate in Birmingham’s creative sector. This event was an important start to their recruitment: “We’ve 100 names of young people who we know are interested in our internships and apprenticeships - fantastic result.” Ikon and Sampad, 2 more of Birmingham’s long standing arts organisations also had positive feedback about the day. “I’ve seen 10 young people on JSA anyone of whom I could appoint now.” Ikon Gallery “This has been a great opportunity to tell 16-24 year olds about what we actually do and recruit them to our young peoples’ programme - never mind the quality we’re seeing who we could recruit.” Sampad But this isn’t just a flash in the pan for entry level creative opportunities. The Creative Employment Programme will continue throughout 2014, allowing more employers to offer apprenticeships and internships to the young people in our city.


Birmingham Hippodrome Birmingham Museums Trust Birmingham Opera Company Birmingham Rep Birmingham Royal Ballet Blue Whale Craftspace Creative Alliance DanceXchange The Drum Geese Theatre Company Ikon Sampad Sonia Sabri Trilby

Image Copyright Pete Ashton


CA Link 01 March 2014

Images Copyright Pete Ashton


CA Link 01 March 2014

Creative Apprenticeship Roles What kind of jobs are there?

Assistant Technician Apprenticeship with The Drum Arts Centre Example Duties from this Role • • •

Assisting with sound, lighting and other technical support for all Drum events and activities. Assisting in the preparation and set up of all Drum spaces as required for events and activities. Assisting in the delivery of all technical requirements for all performances, and other spaces daily.

Wardrobe Assistant Apprenticeship with Birmingham Royal Ballet Example Duties from this Role • • •

Assisting with getting shows to and from storage to the Running Wardrobe Assisting with uncovering shows and systematically checking each costume in order to determine whether it requires laundry, maintenance, repair, preparation for dry cleaning or remaking. Helping to ensure that costumes are ready for fittings, rehearsals and performance.

Learning and Engagement Apprenticeship with Craftspace Example Duties from this Role • • •

To assist programming team with planning, developing, delivering and marketing its work. To assist with curatorial projects comprising liaising with artists, organising activities and marketing activities. To assist with youth engagement programmes comprising recruiting and communicating with participants and planning and organising activities.



CA Link 01 March 2014


Do you want to employ a creative apprentice or an intern? How to get involved in the Creative Employment Programme The Creative Employment Programme is a wage subsidy scheme to support you in recruiting unemployed young people into entry level jobs in your organisation as an apprentice or intern.

Basic Facts • • •

£1500 towards the costs of employing an unemployed non-graduate apprentice at national minimum apprentice wage. Minimum commitment 30 hours / week for 12 months. £2000 towards the costs of employing an unemployed non-graduate apprentice at national minimum wage. Minimum commitment 30 hours / week for 12 months. £2500 towards the costs of employing an unemployed graduate intern at national minimum wage for a minimum commitment of 30 hours / week for 26 weeks.

There is the possibility of matching these to other wage subsidies that are available including the Apprentice Grant for Employers and Youth Contract wage incentive. All internships must be advertised through Job Centre Plus to ensure young people are eligible and apprenticeships must be advertised through the National Apprenticeships Vacancy Matching Service.

Eligible Organisations

Only those organisations whose work falls within the footprint of Arts Council England: music, dance, theatre, literature, visual arts, contemporary craft, combined arts, galleries, circus, carnival arts, museums and libraries.

Applying for the Grant

Creative Alliance are able to provide advice to organisations considering applying. Applications are accepted until March 2015 and are assessed every 5 weeks. To find out more and to apply go to: the-creative-employment-programme

“The Creative Employment Programme aims to tackle youth unemployment by providing paid opportunities for unemployed young people to gain access to on-the-job training, skills and experience in the arts and cultural sector. It also aims to change recruitment culture in the sector by helping to diversify the workforce and provide fair access and progression routes in the long term, to help the sector to meet its economic potential.”

CA Link 01 Jan 2014


“ We’ve 100 names of young people who we know are interested in our internships and apprenticeships - fantastic result.”

“ I’ve seen 10 young people on JSA, anyone of whom I could appoint now.”

Image Copyright Pete Ashton

“This has been a great opportunity to tell 16-24 year olds about what we actually do and recruit them to our young peoples’ programme - never mind the quality of young people we’re seeing who we could recruit.”

CA Link 01 March 2014

Punch is an authentic, musicdriven arts organisation in the heart of Birmingham, working nationally and internationally. We spoke to Kieran Thompson, Events and Project Assistant at Punch, about the journey he took to his first full time work in the creative industries.


CA Link 01 March 2014

My university experience was lacking. I studied Video Production, and even though I learned the technical skills I needed it just wasn’t hands on enough for me. I wanted to be out and about with the camera rather than sitting with lecturers. I graduated anyway, but without the industry experience I just couldn’t get into the paid work I needed. Music Potential was really the starting point that changed things for me. I enrolled on the programme, which was run by Punch, in August 2012. Its aim was to give 16 – 25 year olds in Birmingham some hands on experience in the creative industry while learning the theory behind it and key employability skills. I was able to put the technical skills I had learned at Uni into practice in professional situations – skills I still use now at Punch. The ‘Breaking Through’ employability skills sessions that Creative Alliance ran with the group were great as well. I was a rough diamond, and they showed me how to present myself professionally and how to make the most of the skills I had. It meant I had a better chance of succeeding in whatever I went for next. What I went for next turned out to be closer than I expected. Punch advertised an internship opportunity, which I applied for, and the rest as they say is history. I was made a full time, permanent member


of staff after 6 months, and now I work on Punch’s many tours and events that we run throughout the year. I develop new ideas and strategies for tours, including news ways of promoting them and how we can work with other collaborators. I still use my video production skills too, redefining Punch’s video content and finding new ways of engaging young people through it. I’m also working on Music Potential 2014. It’s weird to be working on it when last time I was on the other side, but I’m looking forward to helping another group of people who are in the situation that I was in not long ago.

“I was a rough diamond... they showed me how to present myself professionally and how to make the most of the skills I had.” In my experience it’s so important to network and get involved with projects and other events. You never know who might help you get to your next step. Also, make sure you get all the experience you can; a degree isn’t worth much if you have no idea about working professionally in your industry. That’s what I’ve learned on my never-ending journey to world domination.

For more information about Music Potential 2014 and details of applying for the programme email For more information about Creative Alliance’s ‘Breaking Through’ employability skills sessions email

CA Link 01 March 2014


APPRENTICE TO LEAD DESIGNER CHARLIE BARRINGTON-OSBORNE Charlie Barrington-Osborne is lead designer at Trilby, an established software development business in Birmingham. He spoke to us about his decision to do an apprenticeship, his experience of the programme and where he is now. I’ve always been creative from a young age; throughout school Art was my favourite subject. After school I went on to study at Warwickshire College’s Art school in Leamington Spa where I completed two courses; the First a BTEC National Diploma in Multimedia and the second a Foundation Diploma in Visual Communications. University wasn’t right for me so after this I looked into apprenticeships. I wanted to be able to study the theory, learn the practical skills and gain real project experience. There’s no comparison to seeing your work being used in the actual environment it was designed for, instead of sitting in a project folder on your lecturers desk. I knew people who were doing apprenticeships, although not in the creative industry. I thought there must be some creative apprenticeships out there, and I eventually found the Trilby position being advertised by Creative Alliance. Now I lead all the design for Trilby’s internal and client projects, within a small software development team. In the past I’ve worked on small web design jobs but certainly in the last 6 to 8 months my primary focus has been designing and developing user interfaces for some large

software development projects. I’m currently working on Trilby’s product range. Our first product is currently in pilot phase and is being tested in four of our partnership schools. The product is called TrilbyTV and works across iPad, Mac and Windows platforms. It’s used to give purpose to the technology schools have invested in by letting them share and showcase their multimedia projects. My advice to others would be to think about what you want from an apprenticeship as a whole, and not just the qualification. That might be thinking about the kind of company you look for to get an apprenticeship with. For example with a bigger company you might have a lesser role, whereas at Trilby there’s only ten members of staff so you have a much more active role in terms of being involved with clients and projects. To find out more about the work that Trilby do visit To see Charlie’s personal website visit

Image Copyright John McQueen

“I wanted to be able to study the theory, learn the practical skills and gain real project experience.”

CA Link 01 March 2014


Bareface Media are pioneers in more ways than one. Having recently been awarded the Creative Director of the Year award, they are certainly holding their position at the forefront of Birmingham’s digital industry, but they’re also out in front when it comes to finding and recruiting new creative talent. We talked to Simon Morris, director at Bareface Media, about how they took on a design apprentice through the IPA’s Creative Pioneers scheme, a nationwide search endorsed by the UK Government to find the next generation of advertising, digital and creative talent; launching for it’s second time in Birmingham for 2014. We all know there is a massive ‘brain drain’ down to London, but we are determined to keep young talent in the West Midlands, so last year we took part in the


Creative Pioneers challenge, a nationwide scheme to find the next generation of designers, marketeers and ‘digital natives’. It was a chance for us to employ an apprentice. Having been involved with work experience previously we know that all the skills necessary within the wider business sphere aren’t always there, we want to ensure we are working towards creating a supportive network across the company; taking on an apprentice has given us the opportunity to develop other members of the team. We were introduced to Noel and Creative Alliance, the regional hub for Creative Pioneers, who found us a range of candidates by promoting and advertising. Creative Alliance then helped short-list those candidates to find the right ones to go to interview. There has been clear business benefits with having our successful apprentice Ryan around. It’s been great to have another pair of hands and another perspective on things. He’s also able to float between various areas of the team, supporting and assisting when necessary. We’re now taking part in the 2014 Creative Pioneers Challenge, and are looking forward to seeing the next wave of new talent coming through into the industry.

For more information about Bareface Media and the work they do go to For more information about the Creative Pioneers scheme go to


CA Link 01 March 2014


TheNextGenerationNow Daniel Whitehouse is the Next Generation producer at mac Birmingham. He talks to us about mac’s Next Generation programme, which provides creative opportunities for young people in challenging circumstances and those at the start of their creative journeys, through to supporting young emerging artists to follow their creative pathways. Through the Next Generation programme we have developed a range of creative programmes to challenge, inspire and reinvigorate the creative resilience of young people across the city and beyond. The Next Generation programme of events and activities offer a supportive environment, which enables young people to safely navigate the creative industries, enabling them to develop their creative practice. The young people who are currently hitting the ages of 16-24 have grown up as children in the optimistic noughties and came slap bang into a long and uncertain recession where the creative industries has taken a hit. In Birmingham we are currently faced with about 20% of the population under 25 and roughly 25% of those are currently not in education, employment or training, so it is important that we continue to seek new and exciting ways to support those young people who are lost in the transition, translation and communication of the society that’s laid out before them. We need to utilise the skills, energy and experiences of likeminded young creatives, to support other young people, particularly those who are misguided or who are struggling to see a positive way out of their situations. We need not work in isolation or in a silo, there are some fantastic charities,

youth agencies and individuals out there doing some sterling work and it’s crucial that we recognise who they are and how we might collectively take this challenge forward to make positive strides.

“Young people have come came slap bang into a long and uncertain recession where the creative industries has taken a hit.” We need to feel more confident and assured when articulating the importance of creative transactions; the ephemeral; the life affirming; the things that make us cry or scream, dance and sing and make us who we are. And most crucially of all we must continue to enable young people to go through a process of creative discovery, enabling them to use creativity to deconstruct the worlds around them, to help ensure clearer pathways, that provide an environment for play, experimentation, and risk taking Above all else we need to continue to provide creative exchanges that move, provoke and inspire young people to achieve, and do what they want to do and be who they want to be.

A FREE 20 week design project for 16-19 year olds in Birmingham Starting March 11th at The Custard Factory Learn from design professionals; Work on real design briefs; Curate your own design exhibition; Complete an Arts Award.

Fashion Design; Graphic Design; Product Design; Prop Design; Set Design.

Create and Curate @create_curate_

For more information email: call: 0121 771 0391

CA Link 01 March 2014



Traineeships are education and training programmes designed to give young people aged 16- 18 the skills employers want young people to have for apprenticeships and entry level jobs in their companies. Because it’s education trainees are not paid by their employer. Could you offer quality long term work experience to a talented young person needing a boost to get them their first apprenticeship? If you can we’d contribute expenses towards your time for supporting that young person. To find out more about becoming a Traineeship employer please email

Upcoming Events Create and Curate

Starts 11/03/2014 Custard Factory, Birmingham This is a FREE 20 week design project for 16–19 year olds in Birmingham. Workshops in: Fashion Design; Graphic Design; Product Design; Prop Design; Set Design. Learn from design professionals; Work on real design briefs; Curate your own design exhibition; Complete an Arts Award. Facebook: Create and Curate Twitter: @create_curate_

Creative Journeys Birmingham: Meet the Professionals 14/03/2014 Thinktank, Birmingham

An invaluable chance to introduce your KS4/5 students and their teachers/ lecturers to working in the creative and cultural sector.

Transversal Visit

31/03/2014 - 04/04/14 Custard Factory, Birmingham Creative Alliance are welcoming vocational, education and training specialists from around Europe to participate in a week’s activities looking at apprenticeships and education in the creative and cultural sector.

For more information about any of these events email or call 0121 771 0391


Connecting Industry, Education and Creativity in the Midlands and beyond.


Creative Alliance are the leading independent learning provider in the Creative and Cultural Sector in the Midlands. We work with people of all levels to help them to get into and get on in the creative industries. We are also the largest deliverer of creative apprenticeships in the region. For more information about all of our offers go to

Credits CA Link is designed and edited by

Indy Bhogal Design Apprentice

Samuel Jones Design & Projects Coordinator

Creative Alliance 213 Scott House, Custard Factory Gibb Street, Digbeth Birmingham, B9 4AA 0121 771 0391 Twitter: @create_alliance

Sophie Cooper Design Apprentice

Ca link issue 1  

Connecting Industry, Education and Creativity in the Midlands and beyond.

Ca link issue 1  

Connecting Industry, Education and Creativity in the Midlands and beyond.