Creative organisations come together to create a new route into the arts

Seven talented young people from east London have taken their first STEP into work within the creative industries, thanks to a new and innovative shared-internship programme.  Launched by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and delivered by A New Direction, STEP (Shared Training & Employment Programme) is a programme designed and developed in partnership with founding members Bow Arts, Sadler’s Wells and London College of Fashion to:

Increase diversity across the creative and cultural sector by creating access routes for those under-represented in the sector: Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME), people with disabilities and those from low socio-economic backgrounds
Promote fair and formal access routes into the sector by working with creative organisations to introduce new recruitment processes
Create a shared model that looks to develop a wide range of skills across core disciplines within the arts to better prepare young people for careers in the sector
Promote, encourage and work towards the London Living Wage across the arts.

The programme also aims to encourage and promote good work practices in line with the  Mayor’s draft Good Work Standard for London businesses.  

The seven interns aged 18-30 have been selected from the four neighbouring boroughs of Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest, and have begun positions across a range of leading creative and cultural sector employers, including UAL’s London College of Fashion, NTS live, Bow Arts, Rosetta Arts and Sadler’s Wells theatre. Over a 12-month period, participants will undertake placements within at least two different host organisations, giving them the perfect chance to experience more than one area of cultural / creative employment. Creative Access are providing aspects of the training in order to encourage and support participants’ personal and professional development.

Organisations will offer opportunities in marketing, digital content production, operations, fundraising, learning and participation, production and programming, and placements will include a programme of masterclasses, skills workshops and industry mentors. Participants will be paid the London Living Wage for the duration of the placements. 

At the end of the programme, young professionals will have the skills to move on into a range of careers including arts administration, marketing, production, programming and curation, community outreach, operations management and creating digital content across London’s creative industry. 

Jordan Reilly, aged 23 from Tower Hamlets, placed with UAL LCF Digital said:
‘I've needed something like this programme for the longest time. I've needed a role where I can show off my skill set as well as learn new skills that I can take with me for the rest of my working life.’

Michelle May, Director of Socio Economic Regeneration, London Legacy Development Corporation, said:
‘STEP is one of a number of innovative projects funded by the LLDC to help employers access the diverse talent in east London, and we are particularly excited that it involves cultural organisations currently based in and around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, as well as those organisations who are moving to the area as part of the forthcoming culture and education district.’

Professor Frances Corner OBE, Head of London College of Fashion and Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of the Arts London said:
‘Programmes such as this are vital in ensuring access to the creative industries for all. I strongly believe that talent and creativity know no social or cultural boundaries, so by partnering on this programme, we aim to nurture talented east Londoners looking for their first step into employment within the creative industries.’

Steve Moffitt, Chief Executive of A New Direction, said:
‘For many young people, a career in the creative industries can seem out of reach - something only available to those who can afford to go to university and work unpaid internships. STEP offers an amazing opportunity to not only give a group of talented young individuals the experience and training they need to start their careers, but also the chance to show how much London’s young creatives have to offer – regardless of their background.’

Alistair Spalding CBE, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Sadler’s Wells, said:
“At Sadler’s Wells, we are committed to building a culturally diverse arts workforce and offering fair access and a wide range of opportunities to those looking to develop their career in the creative industries. I am delighted that we are a partner on this programme and, together, to support east Londoners in becoming the next generation of educators, producers, technicians and arts managers in the sector.”

Sophie Hill, Gallery Co-Director, Bow Arts, said:
“We’re really proud to be part of STEP – a programme that ensures young people from east London get the most out of the area’s creative and cultural offer. As an arts organisation that has been operating in east London for over 20 years, creating employment opportunities for local residents is incredibly important to us. Vitally, STEP gives east London’s diverse arts organisations the chance to work together and strengthen partnerships, and involving local communities in this process is crucial to the sector’s growth and success.”

Media enquiries

If you would like to find out more about programme, including the seven interns and their host organisations, please contact: 

Steve Woodward, A New Direction on steve.woodward@anewdirection.org.uk / 020 7608 8977
The Press Office at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on 020 3734 9010 or email press@QueenElizabethOlympicPark.co.uk

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