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Lyric theatre tells apprentices: ‘You’re hired!’

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Image captionImage 1: Sherice Pitter - an apprentice at the Lyric, Hammersmith - won Apprentice of the Year at 2016’s national Creative & Cultural Skills Awards

Hammersmith’s Lyric has announced it is hiring 12 apprentices who will be trained and steered into careers in the arts.

Recruitment begins this month, with the new intake starting work in March.

It is the fourth year of the apprenticeship programme organised by a group of 14 leading London theatres, including Hammersmith’s award-winning threatre in Lyric Square.

What sets this apprentice scheme apart is its emphasis on trainees with a disability and those from minority ethnic backgrounds. In its first three years the programme has succeeded in diversifying the theatre workforce and creating new routes into employment.

So far, £800,000 has been invested in creating 56 apprenticeships – with 62 per cent coming from British and minority ethnic backgrounds, and 27 per cent of those who have a disability.

A new apprenticeship training hub is being piloted in the Lyric’s expanded facilities, earning qualifications which are accredited through the National College for Creative and Cultural Industries.

Existing apprentices have been guided into jobs in technical departments, costume, community arts, venue operation, production and administration.

All the apprentices will earn at least the national minimum wage, regardless of their age.

“This is a golden opportunity for young people who are interested in a career in the arts and we’re really thrilled to see the Lyric continue to support this programme,” said Cllr Sue Fennimore, H&F Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion. 

“With a new training hub opening in the heart of Hammersmith it also means that local recruits have a wonderful resource on their doorsteps.”

As well as college and workplace training, past recruits on the apprentice scheme have been given mentoring support, help with career planning and access to a network of useful contacts.

Of the trainees who have already signed up as apprentices, 23 have gone on to further employment in the arts, while 11 will shortly complete their Level 2 qualifications (equivalent to five GCSEs).

“We have always seen this programme as an important way to diversify the workforce, and to reach and train young people from backgrounds that are currently underrepresented in theatre,” said Sian Alexander, Lyric executive director. “Although the funding climate makes it harder now, we are committed to maintaining the momentum we have achieved.”

Proving what can be achieved in the programme, Sherice Pitter – an apprentice at the Lyric, Hammersmith – won Apprentice of the Year at 2016’s national Creative & Cultural Skills Awards. 

For more details on the apprenticeships visit the London Theatre Consortium website.