Theatre staff call on city’s cultural employers to help apprentices land exciting new roles

Caption: L-R Grace Dean, Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council's executive member for leisure and skills, and Bethany Beal at Leeds Grand Theatre.

Two former apprentices at a Leeds theatre have called on more cultural organisations to give young people their chance to land the role of a lifetime.

Grace Dean, 22, and Bethany Beal, 21, both started working at Leeds Grand Theatre as apprentices in 2011 and have since gone on to land full-time jobs at the historic venue.

The pair are now backing an event next week where arts organisations including galleries, museums, music venues and theatres can find out how to get a share of a £15m cash pot to help them recruit apprentices and paid interns.

Grace, heritage learning assistant at The Grand Theatre, said:

“I always knew I wanted to work in theatre and had managed to secure some work experience on a casual basis.

“When the apprenticeship came up I jumped at the chance and am so proud of what I have achieved; I’ve met and worked with so many great people and I have learnt so much; I give tours of the theatre, work with the Youth Theatre and create and deliver workshops for young people.

“I love my job but were I to move on I know the skills I have gained will stand me in good stead.”

Bethany, now finance assistant at the 135-year-old theatre, added:

“Like Grace I always loved the theatre, and was delighted to be given the chance to work at The Grand and City Varieties Music Hall through the apprenticeship scheme.

“The thing is I always loved maths too, so to now be doing the two things I love in one job is amazing! Being an apprentice was a great experience for me and one that has forged the start of my career.”

Leeds City Council have teamed up with national organisation Creative and Cultural Skills for next week’s free briefing, which takes place at The Carriageworks Theatre on Millennium Square on March 11 from 2pm until 4.30pm.

The event will give arts and cultural organisations a chance to find out more about the Creative Employment Programme.

The £15m Arts Council England fund is designed to support arts and cultural organisations with the cost of recruiting apprentices and paid interns.

Managed by Creative and Cultural Skills, the fund has already created nearly 1,500 new job opportunities for 16 to 24 year olds since its launch last year.

Next week's session will include discussions about forming a city wide application, which would see arts employers from across Leeds work in partnership to share resources and provide an easier way to access the funding.

The free event follows National Apprenticeship Week, which runs from March 3-7 and is one of a string of activities which will be taking place across the city to highlight the contribution apprentices and their employers make to the local economy.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure and skills, said:

“Apprenticeships really can open up a whole world of exciting and fascinating opportunities to those who enrol and Grace and Bethany are proof positive of that.

“Creative and cultural job opportunities might not be the first thing that springs to mind when people think of apprenticeships, but the scheme is a great chance for employers in that sector to get talented and enthusiastic young people on-board.

“I hope cultural organisations across Leeds come along to this event and we can then see more young people given the right pathway into these interesting and important jobs.”

For more details about next week’s briefing, email cep@ccskills.org.uk or for further information about apprenticeships and paid internships please visit www.creative-employment.co.uk

For details about apprenticeships and opportunities in Leeds, visit www.leedspathways.org.uk/work


- A video featuring Grace and Bethany alongside other apprentices can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjENdvbe2c4

For more details contact:

Stuart Robinson

Communications Officer

Leeds City Council

Tel: 0113 224 3937

Email: stuart.robinson@leeds.gov.uk