Young people take part in a circus project at the Roundhouse photo © Peter Schiazza
In the 10 years since the Roundhouse reopened, youth unemployment has remained high and university fees have increased to an extraordinary level. However, we are also living in a time when the creative industries are flourishing.
Over the last 10 years the creative industries have doubled - they're now worth £84.1 billion per year to the UK economy - the equivalent of £10 million an hour - and they're forecast to continue their meteoric rise over the next 10 years*. This means we're at a pivotal moment where organisations such as the Roundhouse can support young people into the ever-growing creative industries at a time of high youth unemployment.
Arts organisations should be a springboard for young people into the creative industries. They should be a place where young people not only gain skills but also make connections, build confidence and find new directions. Over the last 10 years we've watched thousands of young people come to the Roundhouse and go back into education or training, and we've watched many go on to flourish in the creative industries. These are our five top tips for ensuring young people have the best opportunities to learn and carve out their own pathways in the future:
1. Offer paid traineeships and apprenticeships
Apprenticeships can unlock a young person's talent and help them to go on and build a brilliant career. They offer young people the practical skills and experience that some may not gain through education alone, as well as providing alternative pathways into the creative industries. At the Roundhouse it is our ambition that by 2018, 10 % of our workforce will be paid young trainees and apprentices.
2. Involve young people in your governance
For the last decade the Roundhouse has successfully run RYAB, the Roundhouse Youth Advisory Board, as well offering two young members (aged 18-25) a position on the main board of trustees, as full trustees. Young people have brought with them exciting ideas and instigated positive change at the Roundhouse - and without years of business experience behind them, have pushed boundaries. They have also left with entrepreneurial skills, confidence and contacts within different industries to help them on their career paths.
3. Initiate collaborations between emerging and established artists
When young emerging artists are given the opportunity to learn from established artists, incredible things can happen. If each professional artist who walked through the doors of an organisation gave even five minutes to offer advice to a young artist, we would start an incredible chain reaction.
Jamie Cullum gives Roundhouse Resident Artists a music masterclass
4. Forge relationships with local schools and community groups
Schools and community groups are the key to engaging young people from all areas of society. By offering a whole class the opportunity to learn how to play an instrument, every pupil is included, not just those who can afford it - and even more than that we all have a responsibility to work with those in our local community. Community groups know local young people and their needs better than anyone. If we can forge strong relationships we can offer young people a holistic service ensuring all young people - particularly those from challenging backgrounds - have the opportunity to learn in the same environment.
The most important thing we can do is inspire the next generation to work in the creative industries. Creativity has become a second class citizen in the classroom and we run the risk of young people shunning creative careers. So we need to ignite a spark in young people to take on a creative career. Whether it's through offering brilliant projects for young people to take part in, or putting on shows that young people can afford to see, we then need to nurture that spark into a burning flame.
Find out more information about the Roundhouse and the work they do with young people: www.roundhouse.org.uk/young-creatives