The Barbican Centre: taking on apprentices

 27 September 2012

The Barbican partnered with the GLA as one of five arts organisations involved in the ‘Mayor of London Presents...' festival.

Apprentices played a major part in the outdoor festival programme element of the 'Mayor of London Presents...' festival, running alongside the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The London 2012 Culture Team at the Greater London Authority (GLA) created an opportunity for apprentices to support the outdoor festival programme 'Showtime: Entertainment Everywhere'.

Working at London's outdoor arts festival

'Showtime' was London's biggest ever outdoor arts festival, with 25 leading UK and international performance companies touring and performing in high streets, parks and open spaces throughout the capital.

It was their responsibility to employ the apprentice to work within their own busy outdoor arts programme.

The GLA worked with five outdoor producers to pull the show together. Each producer was supported by a creative apprentice.

As part of the project, they partnered with five arts organisations who could ‘host’ the apprentices for the year. The Barbican was selected to represent East London.

“This was no ordinary apprenticeship!" said Sue Baynton, Senior Practitioner - Creative Industries at Lewisham College.

Making the apprenticeship work

The Barbican Centre is one of the world's leading arts centres, founded and run by the City of London Corporation. It encompasses dance, film, music, theatre, visual arts and creative learning who work together in creating the model of tomorrow's international arts and learning centre.

"I believe this will continue to have a positive impact long after 2012.”

Their original vision of the Barbican Centre was to create the model of tomorrow’s international arts and learning centre. So they had a real interest in how an apprenticeship could work for them.

As a host organisation it was their responsibility to employ the apprentice to work within their own busy outdoor arts programme, but also to balance that with the specific requirements of the busy GLA programme of events.

That meant the pressures of time, programming and finance were immense.

Working with Creative & Cultural Skills

Creative & Cultural Skills worked closely with the GLA and Lewisham College to establish which apprenticeship framework would be the most suitable to follow to make this work.

Sue Baynton said:“We worked long and hard at the beginning of this process to create a bespoke apprenticeship training to fit with this exciting and unique opportunity.

"I believe we have created something that will continue to have a positive impact for the learners and the employers long after 2012.”


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