Funding for a diverse workforce

 29 May 2014

London Theatre Consortium (LTC) is a consortium of 13 of London’s leading producing theatres. After successfully winning funding through the Creative Employment Programme, they were able to take on 38 apprentices.

"If we continue to recruit and train in the ways we always have, the demographic make up of our workforces will remain the same."

Recruiting from a wider pool of talent

The London Theatre Consortium (LTC) works collaboratively on cross-consortium projects that are beyond the capacity of a single organisation to deliver. 

The aims of the Creative Employment Programme (CEP) resonated strongly with the leaders of the LTC theatres who saw the programme as a chance to affect long-term change in recruitment and staff development practices, and help to address the lack of diversity in London’s theatre sector. Emma Rees, Senior Coordinator, LTC, explains:

Having an apprentice brings life to our team.

"The cultural sector is a real UK success story in terms of growth and economic development. However, we are failing to tap into a huge pool of talent by operating a ‘traditional’ recruitment pipeline - ‘university, unpaid internship, entry level job’.

"If we continue to recruit and train in the ways we always have, the demographic make up of our workforces will remain the same. This will have a negative impact on our programming, our artistic and creative development, and mean that we fail to serve the communities in which we are based.”

Removing barriers to diversity

Securing CEP funding helped the consortium to unlock total funding of over £500,000 over two years.

Alongside CEP and National Apprenticeships Service grants, the LTC had central funds available so could commit a substantial sum to the programme to part subsidise each theatre’s contribution to the salary costs.

This enabled the LTC to pay all the apprentices adult national minimum wage, in order to remove financial barriers and enable young people from less economically advantaged backgrounds to apply.

Winning consortium funding

Recruitment was an area where a consortium approach was hugely beneficial. Recruiting 21 apprentices together allowed the LTC to take a creative and exciting approach, reaching wider networks. The theatres held four recruitment Open Days, ran Assessment Days as participatory workshops, and held panel interviews.

This collaborative approach has continued with line managers from across the consortium meeting regularly to share techniques, best practice and ideas.

The apprentices also have access to people across the LTC as mentors. College training has been co-delivered with LeSoCo and LTC staff members have led specialist sessions, to ensure training reflects work-place realities and teaches employment-ready skills.

Investing in the workforce

Emma Rees, Senior Coordinator, LTC, advises others who are thinking about applying to the CEP to have clear aims and strong partners:

“Early investment from the partners was integral to our success. Before applying as a consortium we had to really interrogate what we hoped to achieve and why. Clarity around this shared commitment has been key, as has the collegiate approach and having LTC’s existing structure, resources and ability to coordinate.

We've seen our apprentice flourish and grow, both in her confidence and in her skills as a member of the team.

“The team at Creative & Cultural Skills were tremendously helpful when we were putting our application together and continue to give a fantastic level of support. The application process was fast and easy. It certainly made it easier to apply as a consortium and this has helped enormously with recruitment and delivery.

“Apprentices are learning a huge amount but they are also bringing new perspectives into our organisations. We know that some of the apprentices we are working with now will be in senior positions in the theatre sector in the future – they really are that good!"

LTC theatre the Lyric Hammersmith said: "Having an apprentice brings life to our team." The Battersea Arts Centre also commented:"We've seen our apprentice flourish and grow, both in her confidence and in her skills as a member of the team."

Key facts

  • CEP grant awarded: £38,000 for 38 apprentices
  • Art form: Theatre
  • Located in Greater London
  • Size of company: Theatres range from five to 60 staff
  • Consortium theatres: Almeida Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre, Bush Theatre, Donmar Warehouse, Greenwich Theatre, Hampstead Theatre, Lyric Hammersmith, Royal Court Theatre, Soho Theatre, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Tricycle Theatre, Unicorn Theatre and Young Vic.

Funding for a diverse workforce


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