Youth Employment in the Arts

Creative Employment

A call to support the Creative Employment Programme


Earlier this week Creative & Cultural Skills announced that their Creative Employment Programme has already helped create 1000 jobs. Samuel Fry explains why companies need to support this programme.

The event called on all of the UK’s 106,700 creative sector employers to recruit a young person to reach the campaign’s target of 50,000 new jobs in the creative sector. This comes off the back of Arts Council’s initiative to providing part wage grants to help create job opportunities for young unemployed people aged 16-24. The scheme, called the Creative Employment Programme, is being embraced by a number of creative companies. As well it should be.

Paul Latham, President Live Nation, recently wrote an article about this scheme called “A Call to Arms”. Latham argued that “Young people are the lifeblood of the creative industries, where new ideas and innovation are at a premium.” Yet, “Despite this, it is still harder than ever for young people to break into the sector as many companies still rely on unpaid labour.” I feel that he is right.

The economic crisis that hit the UK in 2008 has had a devastating effect on Britain. This crisis was not caused by young people, yet it seems that they are bearing the brunt of this downturn. Creative businesses already contribute £36bn each year to the UK economy. Now that this economy is showing signs of recovery it is important that young people are given employment where possible.

The Creative Employment Programme aims to address this problem by creating 6500 creative jobs in 1000 days. Funded by Arts Council England, it will provide funding for 6,500 work opportunities through paid internships, apprenticeships and traineeships over the next two years. This ambitious project looks to take young people off the dole and into creative jobs across the country.

This funding offers an opportunity to reduce unemployment and to provide vital experience to young people who want to work in the arts. Therefore, it is important that companies take advantage of it.

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, spoke at the event. He said, “The creative industries are some of the fastest-growing sectors, contributing billions to the economy. We need to help them continue to thrive by paving the way for a new wave of young British talent. Campaigns like this are vital in helping generate new opportunities for young people to break into these industries, develop essential skills, and take their first steps towards a life-long fulfilling career.”

“Together we can build a stronger economy, fairer society and a vibrant creative nation where young talent, from all backgrounds, can progress as far as their aspirations, hard work and dedication can take them.”

Clegg’s words echo Latham’s as both view youth employment as high on the agenda. In my mind, this scheme is not just beneficial to young people, but the grants also allow creative companies to employ people where they otherwise would not be able to.

Paul Latham added, in his article that, “In the spirit of creativity we should take inspiration from the past: the arts employment schemes of the Roosevelt-era Works Progress Administration; the great post-war flowering in Britain which created the Arts Council itself; the Thatcher-era Enterprise Allowance Scheme, which gave so many people a start as creative entrepreneurs. But we should also look to the future, recognising that we risk losing a generation of talent if we do not act now.”

This is a real call to action from Live Nation, as Latham backs Creative Employment Programme. The programme is not just interested in creating 6500 creative jobs, they would like employers is to pull together and create a further 50,000 jobs by 2016. If each one of the country’s 106,700 creative enterprises agreed to take on a single apprentice that they could hit that target in half that time. So, if you run a creative company, why not consider it?


Are you part of the Creative Employment Programme? Share your thoughts by tweeting me @samueljfry #CreativeEmployment

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