Working with apprentices at Stockton Arts Centre

ARC is a venue in the centre of Stockton on Tees, offering a full programme of professional, high quality cultural entertainment including music, comedy, drama, dance, spoken word, film and work for families.

They also have an extensive programme of creative activity for people to take part in, and provide support and development opportunities for professional performance artists.

Grace (second from left), Holly (third from left), and Andrew (first on the right).
Grace (second from left), Holly (third from left), and Andrew (first on the right).

ARC work with an increasing range of partners across the Tees Valley, North East region and beyond to ensure we are offering the very best cultural activity for Stockton.  

Chloe Lawrence, ARCs Programmes Manager

"At ARC we pride ourselves on developing our local workforce and a big part of that is working with apprentices. Over the last five years I have supported five apprentices in my team, three of whom have continued onto permanent positions. As an organisation we have supported many apprentices over the years including one who is now our Assistant Technical Manager and one who went on to be our Chef.

"Below are some first-hand accounts from members of the team on how their apprentice experience shaped their permanent roles at ARC.

"Note: Since writing this testimonial Grace has returned to University to study Musical Theatre, which was always Grace’s passion. Andrew and Holly are still in post at ARC and we hope they will be with us for years to come!"

Andrew, ARC Marketing Assistant

"I am a marketing assistant at ARC and I started out as a marketing apprentice.

"I decided to do an apprenticeship as I had been to college for a couple of months and I had decided it would be more beneficial to learn in an environment where I can gain experience as I learn.

"During my apprenticeship I enjoyed the more practical work as opposed to sitting in college and listening.

"At first I found the role quite challenging as it was my first ever job but I then found the things I liked doing in my role.

"If anyone doubts the benefits of apprenticeships they should try one as you gain better experience from working in a role that you are going to do rather than being in a college and not getting the practical experience of working."

Holly, Creative Learning Assistant

"Hello! I’m Holly and I am the Creative Learning Assistant here at ARC. I started as a Community Arts apprentice at ARC in August 2018 and was offered a permanent role in July 2019. I decided to do an apprenticeship as I knew it would give me the learning and experience needed to achieve my goal of working in the arts. I completed a Level 2 in Arts Administration, I studied with Gateshead College for a year, attending Sage Gateshead twice a month where I worked on my portfolio with other creative apprentices around the North East.

"Before my apprenticeship I attended East Durham College and gained a distinction in Level 2 Performing Arts. I mostly enjoyed the variety of my apprenticeship, I was able to help out on so many different community projects and events which increased my confidence and I gained so much experience working with so many different people.

"My apprenticeship has been invaluable to me and I am so pleased I have had the opportunity to work my way up into a permanent role. I’m really looking forward to seeing where my career takes me next, working at ARC and helping the community!"

Grace, Community Engagement Coordinator

"I initially started at ARC as an Arts Administration Apprentice and have now become the Community Events and Engagement Coordinator. I always knew I wanted a career in the arts, but wasn’t sure about how to begin it. After moving away to London for university and realising it wasn’t for me, I decided that an apprenticeship was the best option. Not only did it allow me to work in a building that I grew up around and loved, it meant I was able to gain a valuable qualification as well as genuine work experience.

"I studied Musical Theatre at college and for six months at University, so I’ve found it incredibly beneficial that at ARC I can keep my hand in the arts by watching and reviewing performances and also seeing the ‘behind-the-scenes’ work that goes into creating a performance from a programming perspective.

"The people I get to work with in this role are incredible. I get the chance to meet with and give opportunities to people experiencing homelessness and drug and alcohol dependency, asylum seekers and refugees and people experiencing mental health issues, among many others. The job is demanding but so rewarding.

"The thing I found most difficult in my apprenticeship was adjusting to office life! Going from working night shifts in bars to starting work at 9am Monday-Friday was tricky, but when you love your job and the people you work with it gets easier by the day.

"I would urge anyone considering applying for an apprenticeship to go ahead and do it. I started working at ARC as an apprentice seven months ago and now I’m in my dream job working for an amazing organisation. There’s only so much you can learn in a classroom, but you can learn infinite amounts out there doing the job yourself."