Belfast Telegraph

Creative way to expand workforces

By Staff Reporter

Creative companies hoping to expand their workforce can apply for an employment programme to support the hiring of interns.

Businesses from Belfast Mela organiser ArtsEkta to the Stendhal Music and Arts Festival in Limavady have already signed up for backing from the NI Creative Employment Programme.

The scheme has helped create 67 jobs for young people aged between 16 and 24 since it was set up with Arts Council support two years ago. Businesses can apply for up to £2,500 towards the costs of hiring an intern for six months.

An Arts Council spokeswoman said the programme had invested £205,000 in upskilling young people, with employers ploughing a further £400,000 back into the economy in wages.

Sara Graham, nations director at programme organiser Creative & Cultural Skills, said: "The programme enables employers to create jobs which give young people their first 'break'.

"The creative sector is vibrant and growing, but it's still hard to get a job without experience and contacts. These jobs are recruited fairly and transparently, increasing access to employment and building the capacity of our local creative businesses."

This year's programme is open until June 16.

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