Creative Employment Programme in England

The Creative Employment Programme has contributed to the creation of 4,500 apprenticeships, paid internships and pre-employment opportunities through the Creative Skills Initiative.

Ian Saunders, Technician at White Light and Gabrielle Felix-Darancy, Apprentice at White Light
Ian Saunders, Technician at White Light and Gabrielle Felix-Darancy, Apprentice at White Light

The Creative Employment Programme was a £15m fund to support the creation of apprenticeship and paid internship opportunities in England for young unemployed people aged 16-24 wishing to pursue a career in the arts and cultural sector. It also supported pre-employment training opportunities through the Creative Skills Initiative. 


The following resources are available for Creative Employment Programme (England) funding recipients:

About the Creative Employment Programme

We provided part wage grants to employers who created new apprenticeship and internship job opportunities for young unemployed people aged 16-24 in England. 

The focus was on Arts Council England’s footprint. This included all employers, both commercial and subsidised, that fall within this footprint:

  • Music
  • Dance
  • Theatre
  • Literature
  • Visual arts
  • Contemporary craft
  • Combined arts
  • Galleries
  • Circus
  • Carnival arts
  • Museums
  • Libraries

Young people aged 16-24 from all backgrounds, from graduates to those with few or no qualifications, had the chance to access on-the-job training and experience to build the skills that employers want.

Creative & Cultural Skills was the National Provider for the Creative Employment Programme in England. We applied through an open process. Our proposal was supported by a strong track record of delivering similarly large scale, complex and national work-based learning and skills development programmes which have benefitted the arts and cultural sector and have been backed up by high-quality research and industry knowledge.

The Creative Employment Programme in England has now closed for applications.

Success Stories

Julie Kouamo is a designer-maker at Cockpit Arts (Image: ©‎Cockpit Arts)

Winning funding as a consortium

,  28 April 2014

The UK’s only creative-business incubator for designer-makers is using the Creative Employment Programme to support its studio-holders through the process of taking on their first employee and growing their micro-businesses

The Creative Employment Programme helped Rotherham grow its local arts workforce, which was nearly 50 per cent lower than surrounding areas.

Building a creative workforce through youth employment

,  28 August 2014

The Creative Employment Programme helped Rotherham Creative build capacity in the local creative sector, giving young people much needed employment opportunities. The initiative is linked to the development of Rotherham’s Music Education Hub and wider arts activities for young people.

Tackling youth unemployment

,  4 June 2014

Suffolk County Council brought together 33 local cultural sector employers into a consortium to create 80 Creative Employment Programme-funded apprenticeships and paid internships. They have been able to address youth unemployment and diversify the area’s creative workforce.

Inka Romani, programming intern

,  31 July 2015

Inka works as a programming intern at Sadler's Wells in a role which is part-funded by the Creative Employment Programme. So what exactly does programming involve and what skills can you learn? This Is It! spoke to her to find out.

Working with Jobcentre Plus

,  4 June 2014

Organisations creating paid internships with funding from the Creative Employment Programme (CEP) are required to advertise these posts at their local Jobcentre Plus. This makes them accessible to the nearly one million 18 to 24 year olds in the UK who are unemployed.

Phil Gee, Royal Opera House admin support intern

,  15 August 2014

Having previously worked in the construction industry, Phil hadn’t considered working in arts and culture. But since doing an admin support internship at the Royal Opera House through the Creative Employment Programme, he now can’t see himself doing anything else.

Jack Homer, technical arts student

 16 November 2016

As a student at South Essex College, Jack developed a passion for technical development and helping his fellow students. He is a shining example of how much a young person can achieve if supported and empowered and in 2016 was the winner of the Creative Choices Award.

Rachael Garrett, Preventive Conservation Intern

Rachael Garrett, Preventive Conservation Intern

,  8 August 2016

What does an internship in preventative conservation look like? We heard from Rachael Garrett who was employed through the Northern Ireland Creative Employment with the National Trust.

April Skipp, marketing and development intern

 23 November 2016

April joined Yorkshire Dance as their Marketing and Development Intern. She made such an impression on them that within a year, they had created a new position in the organisation for her and she is now the Marketing Officer. In 2016 she won the Creative & Cultural Skills Intern of the Year Award.

Creating jobs through local partnerships

,  10 June 2014

The Music Education Hub in Telford and Wrekin Council applied to the Creative Employment Programme to create four Creative Apprenticeships for young people within the local authority and its arts venues.

Simone Gayle, community arts apprentice

,  8 March 2015

What does a community arts apprentice do? We heard from apprentices employed through the Creative Employment Programme, starting with Simone Gayle from The Albany in London.

Marissa Anthony, business admin apprentice

,  7 November 2014

With her college graduation approaching, Marissa saw the perfect opportunity to start applying for apprenticeships. She explains how she landed a role through the Creative Employment Programme and how being an apprentice has helped her become more passionate about the future.

“I wake up in the morning wanting to go to work and I know that so many people my age are not enjoying what they do.

Working in creative internships and apprenticeships

,  10 March 2015

DanceEast, based at the Jerwood DanceHouse in Ipswich, is part of the Suffolk County Council Creative Employment Programme consortium. We met up with two apprentices and a marketing officer – who started as a paid intern – to talk about their experiences in the workplace so far.

Taking on a paid intern to help with fundraising

,  17 December 2014

Disability-led arts organisation Shape works to improve access to the arts. They used the Creative Employment Programme to take on a paid intern in their Fundraising and Development Department. The intern has since secured a full-time role in the team.

Live events and promotion apprentices

,  11 March 2015

Boomsatsuma desribes itself as ‘the community interest company that's fueling the next creative generation’. Formed in 2009, they have created 13 apprenticeships and internships with funding from the Creative Employment Programme. We met with some of their young staff to talk about how they've found it.

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.

Holly Haste, creative apprentice

,  9 March 2015

Holly Haste works as an apprentice for Neon Street where she runs events, oversees projects and researches new musical talent. She told us about what her apprenticeship involves day-to-day, while her employer outlined his experiences of taking on an apprentice.

Tim Porter, creative producer intern

 20 April 2014

Tim had a wealth of experience as a director, writer and editor before he took on the role of creative producer intern at Project Phakama. He talks about getting trained up in backstage arts and offers advice for people who want to work their way into an arts career.

Arts and culture interns

,  18 March 2015

Steff Wills, Hayley Wayre, Natasha O’Dowd and Lizzie Minchener are paid interns for arts organisations in the Create Gloucestershire network. We asked them what they do as part of their internships in areas such as project management, fundraising and marketing.

Alex Whelan, museum project officer

,  19 April 2015

Alex Whelan works as a project officer for Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums. He talked to us about what this heritage career involves, and why doing a paid internship was such a crucial step in helping him into the cultural sector.

Eve Timothy, front of house apprentice

,  11 March 2016

After studying an events course, Eve was employed as a front of house apprentice for a theatre and a music hall. She told us about what her apprenticeship involves and why she thinks front of house is a great starting point for a career in events and venue management.

Emma Morsi, digital marketing apprentice

 28 March 2017

Emma joined Saffron Records, an all-female record label, as their digital marketing apprentice and helped them grow their website traffic and social media engagement. She now works for them as a freelance design consultant and also produces her own digital arts, fashion and music magazine. In 2017, she was awarded Apprentice of the Year at the Creative & Cultural Skills Awards.

Growing a micro-business with a paid intern

,  13 February 2015

Hannah Sedgwick is the owner of Penryn Violins, a micro-business in Cornwall that designs, makes and restores instruments of the violin family and early woodwind instruments. Hannah successfully applied to the Creative Employment Programme for funding to create a paid internship as she needed a new member of staff to help expand.

Create Gloucestershire has recruited 13 apprentices and interns so far through the Creative Employment Programme.

Apprentices in the Create Gloucestershire network

,  18 March 2015

Glenn Hazard, David Bath and Kate Townley are apprentices in the Create Gloucestershire network, which has over 100 members from across the local arts and cultural sector. They discuss how they got started as apprentices, where they want to go next and offer some tips.

(Image: interns, apprentices, graduate actors and placements at West Yorkshire Playhouse)

Beth Knight, fundraising and development apprentice

,  10 March 2016

Beth is fundraising and development apprentice for West Yorkshire Playhouse. She discusses the skills she's picked up from the role and provides tips for working in theatre.