NSA acheivements in 2017

As we reach the end of another year it's a good opportunity to look back and see what we've been able to achieve through our National Skills Academy network of education partners and industry supporters.

I write this off the back of an industry insight visit backstage to the Construction department at the National Theatre with staff from London South East Colleges from which we hope to develop a pilot programme to offer young people a view into the career possibilities in one of the world's great venues.

But the year started strongly too. A commission from University of Nottingham found us flying out to China to share our expertise in the context of the growing creative industries scene in Asia, and activities continued that month with our Design Museum workshops where I was able to witness first hand the impact on students from Lewisham Southwark College of working with professional designers. 

February saw our first Industry Day at the new Whitworth Gallery in Manchester, and March our own National Conference at The Backstage Centre in Purfleet with speakers including Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson.  April saw the culmination of our three year programme Scene Change, in partnership with the British Council, where students from Sussex Downs and North West Regional Colleges were amongst those acknowledged for their great contributions with students getting to see their work on show at an exhibition hosted by Brazilian Embassy in London.

The summer brought our usual round of exciting work shadow visits backstage to major music festivals around the UK including Leeds and Download. Plus this year we were able to offer exclusive work placement opportunities to students from our network through our partnerships with Festival Republic and Live Nation.

The new academic year kicked off with our series of talks available to our network colleges, including the wonderfully inspiring young fashion designer and maker Cherise Trimingham speaking at her local Reading College for the first time. October gave an opportunity for all our education partners to come together at an event hosted by Gateshead College looking at the new Technical Education Reforms, and our Leadership Group of FE Colleges gathered together themselves at Cardiff & Vale College during the autumn to look at how we can all collaborate more effectively for the benefit of the young people we work with.

And so we reach the end of another year. Havering College have just done their first video as part of the Live Brief programme we run with BBC Introducing, Suffolk Creative Choices has given even more young people a taste of careers in this most exciting industry at venues such as Dance East and the New Wolsey Theatre, and many more partners continue to reap the benefits of being involved in our National Skills Academy network.  

Here's to 2018. Let's hope it's another good one!