The Belgrade Theatre’s award-winning creative apprenticeship scheme has been nominated for yet another prestigious award, this time as regional finalist in the National Apprenticeship Awards.
The theatre has been nominated in the medium employer of the year category and will face stiff competition from companies in all sectors, not only the creative industries. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Birmingham at the end of September.
The awards are run in conjunction with the National Training Awards and for the second year running the very best employer category entries will also have the additional bonus of featuring in the prestigious annual Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list, which will be published in the national press at the end of the year.
Winners will also have the honour of celebrating their success at Europe’s largest skills and careers event; The Skills Show – at the NEC Birmingham on 14 November. The show, which is set to become an annual event, is designed to shine the spotlight on education and skills.
John Hayes Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning Minister said: “Skills are vital because they encourage ambition and enterprise and help drive economic growth and social renewal. These joint Awards offer a great platform for young people and employers to gain recognition not just for excelling in their chosen field, but for playing a leading part in that vital process.”
Janthi Mills, General Manger at the Belgrade Theatre added, “Apprenticeships are incredibly important within the creative sectors as it can be a hard profession to break into and one that is best learnt on the job. True creativity comes from drawing on a mix of voices and experiences and the Belgrade’s apprentices are key members of the theatre’s team. We are very proud that our scheme, which opens up opportunities to working in the arts, has been recognised alongside other sectors and professions.”
The nomination comes after the Belgrade was awarded the Creative Apprentice Employer of the Year Award by the National Skills Academy in recognition of its thriving creative apprenticeship scheme.
Offered in conjunction with Stratford-upon-Avon College and Heart of England Training, the Belgrade’s Creative Apprenticeship Scheme was launched in 2011 as the theatre had been receiving an increasing number of applications for work placements.
Since then the scheme has gone from strength to strength, employing seven apprentices in departments across the theatre including marketing, customer services, sound, theatre operations, wardrobe, lighting and community arts. Apprentices now make up 15% of the Belgrade’s workforce and the theatre is currently in the process of recruiting five new positions to start in September 2012.
The 11 month posts provide paid, hands-on experience in various areas within the theatre. In addition to working in their own specialist department, apprentices also meet regularly as a group to peer mentor each other and give an insight into the range of roles available within the industry.