Recent partnerships between Jobcentre Plus (JCP), the UK Government's service to get people into work, and arts organisations are proving to be fruitful territories on both sides.
Organisations creating paid internships with funding from the Creative Employment Programme (CEP) are required to advertise these posts at their local Jobcentre Plus to ensure they are accessible to unemployed 18 to 24 year olds in the UK.
Many positive stories are emerging about arts employers finding that Jobcentre Plus can help them to reach out to new talent and, in turn, Jobcentre Plus has been changing its perceptions about what kinds of careers are available within the sector.
Marilyn Stolz, HR Manager at Welsh National Opera, was very impressed with the level of support and the standard of candidates she received from her local Jobcentre Plus office in recruiting to fill three paid internships:
“I have not worked with JCP very often as we tend to advertise on arts-related websites so that we reach people with experience in the arts. However, I found the staff at all of our local JCP branches to be very helpful and enthusiastic about the opportunities for their clients. Amy Janneh, an adviser in our local Cardiff office, was able to guide me through the preliminaries and help me tailor the application form to fit with the eligibility criteria. in the making good progress and contributing to the departments in which they work. A good result for JCP! I would say that other employers in the creative sector should give JCP a go for entry level posts.”
From a strategic point of view it is extremely important for the growth of the creative and cultural sector that it is bringing in the right skills by reaching out to the widest pool of emerging talent and offering diverse routes into the industry.
Amy Janneh, at Cardiff Jobcentre Plus, who worked with WNO, says:
“the creative and cultural sector doesn’t normally recruit via Jobcentre Plus, but these roles were very popular with 72 customers being referred to three opportunities.
“It would be great if more arts organisations were able to showcase the wide range of jobs available in this growing industry via Jobcentre Plus. Many of our customers would like the opportunity to work within the creative sector and it is becoming increasingly popular, especially with the investment in South East Wales by the BBC and, most recently Pinewood Studios."
Jo Cranston, Senior Employer Relationship Manager at the Department for Work and Pensions, states:
“As the economy continues to pick up and create jobs it is important that Jobcentre Plus understands the different needs of each industry. We are currently working with Creative & Cultural Skills to run ‘mythbusting’ masterclasses across England so that our advisers really understand the sector. We have also established a single point of contact for CEP in each district so there is expertise in each area.
"There’s been an education on both sides about what is on offer, it’s a real two way street. We’ve learnt a lot about the creative sector – particularly its business needs - and in turn we’ve tried to show employers the talent they could be missing out on and what transferable skills these young people can bring to the table.
"The creative industries have so much to offer and motivate young people who are looking for work. I really think that the CEP will become the start of a long term relationship between Jobcentre Plus and this exciting, growing industry.”