Belfast Telegraph

Lights, camera, action for 100 art apprenticeships

By Jamie Stinson

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland will create 100 new jobs over the next three years through a new apprenticeship and internship programme.

The scheme will support young unemployed people by giving them skills in the arts sector, Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin said.

The £300,000 scheme, administered by Creative and Cultural Skills as part of the NI Creative Employment Programme, will provide on the job training and formal qualifications, the arts council said.

Areas in which participants can receive training includes technical theatre, music business, cultural heritage, community arts and live events.

Businesses will be able to claim up to £5,000 in wage incentives for recruiting apprentices aged between 16 and 24 for at least two years.

For supporting interns aged between 18 to 24 for a minimum of six months, businesses can claim up to £1,500.

The Arts Council in the province has faced savage cuts this year, with £900,000 slashed from its budget. As a result of this many arts organisations have seen their funding reduced and in some cases, organisations will receive nothing.

Ms Chuilin said the programme will help young people get back into work.

"This is an excellent way to support young unemployed people, giving them real skills they can use in the arts economy and helping tackle poverty and social exclusion, a key priority of mine," she said.

"Financial incentives will be made available to local employers to help them create new apprenticeship and paid internship job opportunities for young unemployed people aged 16-24," she said.

Businesses will be able to find out more information at sessions in Belfast and Londonderry at the end of the month, the Arts Council said.

The new programme is part of a five-year plan for the Arts Council, which seeks to build a sustainable arts and creative sectors.

Roisin McDonough, chief executive of the Arts Council, said the programme aims to show young people a job in the arts is a possibility.

"We want to encourage our talented young people, particularly those living in our most disadvantaged communities, to see the arts as an attractive career option," she said.

"The Creative Employment Programme was created to provide quality training and mentoring opportunities, to give fair access to careers in the creative and cultural industries, and help bolster the creative sector by harnessing the talent of the next generation."

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