If we’re not careful, we could be left out of Post-16 skills training

,  20 February 2018

Kath Geraghty, Workforce Development Manager at the National Theatre, wants creative industries to take advantage of new opportunities to make pathways into work clear and transparent for young people. Those who fail to develop apprenticeship standards risk getting left behind.

In order to create a more diverse sector we need clear entry points
In order to create a more diverse sector we need clear entry points

In the run-up to our 2018 National Conference, we are running a series of think-pieces by sector leaders about key issues affecting our creative industries and the future of the workforce. 

In theatre, particularly technical theatre, we have traditionally given jobs to friends of friends; to people we recognise. This is because we trust them to do the job in the manner that we would like it to be done – a type of 'quality control' if you like.

But the downside of this is that it excludes anyone whom we don’t recognise, who isn’t somehow already connected to our world, and thus locks out new ideas and suggestions, which might just improve our work and working practises. 

Clearly, this contributes to the lack of diversity in our workforce shown in the Society of London Theatre’s workforce report.

 It excludes anyone whom we don’t recognise, who isn’t somehow already connected to our world

Apprenticeship standards 

Alternative forms of 'quality control' are transparent qualification pathways that are understood by employers and parents alike and therefore enable those from under-represented backgrounds to more easily understand what we do, and how they can become a part of it.

Many of you will know that the Government is intending to bring in qualifications called T-Levels, which will be the technical equivalent of the A-Level. T-level development will be based on trailblazed apprenticeship standards. 

If we don’t develop apprenticeship standards for our occupations, then our occupations won’t be a part of the post-16 education landscape. We will continue to struggle to inform young people about the myriad of different roles available within our sector and we won’t be able to offer transparent qualification pathways into our workplaces.

We need to work out how we can all work together to make sure we are not left out of the new training world.

As a member of the Institute for Apprenticeships’ Creative and Design Route Panel, I have seen the number of apprenticeships standards other sectors are developing. 

Within our own sector, Broadcast are way ahead in terms of standard development, and are thus getting their specific job roles into the system, ensuring that training for these roles will be included in the Government’s planning.

I recognise that trailblazing is hard work and a big commitment, particularly to smaller organisations, SME’s, microbusinesses and freelancers. We need to work out how we can all work together to make sure we are not left out of the new training world.

Kath Geraghty is the Workforce Development Manager at the National Theatre and a member of the Institute for Apprenticeships’ Creative and Design Route Panel.


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