The Dean Clough Foundation seeks your ideas, advice and partnership in the Creative Careers Project 2017.
The Dean Clough Foundation is an arts education charity based at Dean Clough in Halifax. The aims of the foundation are to inspire creativity through artist-led projects that broaden horizons and reduce inequality for young people in the region.
What are we doing?
We are beginning a substantial project working with artists, creative businesses, cultural organisations, teaching institutions and young people. The aim is to expand the career prospects and develop the skills of young people by providing access to training, mentorship and work experience with professionals in the creative sector.
We are currently making contact with creative businesses to identify barriers that have made them reluctant to offer placements in the past, and working on a framework that will support them in the future. This may include offering training, advice, working together to plan a project for students, and identifying resources needed.
Why are we doing it?
Information gathered from a variety of external reports in addition to focus groups with participants from local schools and FE colleges reveals a number of reasons to undertake this project:
- Schools, colleges and students struggle to access work experience opportunities in creative industries in Calderdale. Creative industries are not seen as ‘visible’ despite a 2009 report that identified 1,433 creative organisations in Calderdale
- Initial research identifies a number of barriers facing businesses when considering work experience. We plan to do further research into this area and explore ways of reducing/removing them
- Anecdotal evidence that work experience opportunities fail to address inequality is supported by a 2016 report from the ASPIRES 2 education research project at King’s College London. It found that careers education provision in England is patterned by social inequalities (not arts-specific). It reports that in a survey of over 13,000 Year 11 students:
- Students from higher socio-economic backgrounds were nearly 1.5 times more likely to receive careers education
- White students were disproportionately more likely to report having completed work experience compared to minority ethnic students
- Students in Yorkshire, the North East and North West were least likely to have participated in work experience
- Less than half of the students surveyed had undertaken work experience
- Most students who had undertaken a work placement reported that it had been organised through family and friends- those from disadvantaged backgrounds may be less likely to access a range of quality placements.
- Inequalities (in socio-economic background, race and gender) in creative sector employment need to be addressed earlier in career education for the benefit of both students and businesses.
What will the project look like?
We plan to work with businesses, education and cultural organisations to create a framework that pieces together opportunities offered (from one-day to several week placements) and matches them with young people from the local area.
We will explore overarching projects that students can get involved in, and methods of structuring and recognising their achievements, such as through the Arts Award.
We hope the offer will be flexible enough to suit the varying needs and capacity of businesses and the needs of young people.
We intend to carry out ongoing research and fully evaluate the impact of the project in order to shape provision in the future, influence schools and inform parents.
We want to hear from partners in the cultural, education and business sectors about the challenges, successes and working models of offering work experience programmes. We will be surveying schools, businesses and cultural organisations locally to find out more about how the project should take shape.
We welcome and invite ideas, collaboration, feedback, advice and those wishing to share best practice.
Arts Education Manager
The Dean Clough Foundation