Creative Network

Arcola Theatre’s Creative Network was a recruitment and training programme for talented young people seeking a career in the creative, media, leisure and green-technology industries. It provided a network for both employers and employees, ensuring that talented young people had the best access to on-the-job training and employers had access to a wide range of potential employees

Network partners included: Headlong, Brick Wall Films, Theatre Centre, Posted Gallery, Banner Repeater Gallery, Arcola Theatre, Worldwrite Films, Arcola Energy and Immediate Theatre.

The network was developed in partnership with the London Borough of Hackney, delivering elements of the Future Jobs Fund as part of the borough’s economic development strategy.

How it worked

Network Partners (employers) created new jobs, with the salary and NIC paid for six months by the project. We also covered the cost of a computer for the new employee. The Network Partner was supported throughout the recruitment process and placement by Arcola’s Creative Network Team, ensuring that they were able to find the best person for the job.

Arcola Theatre’s Creative Network offered  young people receiving Job Seekers Allowance a range of six-month job opportunities, working for some of the most exciting and creative companies in London. Network Members (employees) were contracted by their Network Partner as a regular member of staff, with the same rights and benefits as other members of staff working alongside them. In special cases, Arcola Theatre contracted Network Members directly and then second them to the host organisation.

Rates of pay were at least minimum wage for 4 days per week (28 hours) for six months (26 weeks). All employers had the ability to increase employees’ hourly rate or the number of paid hours at their own expense. The project also covered the cost of Employers’ National Insurance Contributions.

Regular networking events allowed Network members to meet one another and to develop links between potential future colleagues, employers and contacts. Events ranged from informal gatherings with Arcola Theatre staff to formal introductions to Heads of Department at the National Theatre.  Through introducing employees to new skills, new practices and new organisations, we wanted our partners to help develop a cohort of young people who were able to help shape the future of the creative industries.

The results

Thus far 35 young people have joined the network with 80% of our graduates going on to rewarding paid work at the end of their placement; including as a Teaching Assistant at a Primary School, Assistant Producer at a Central London Comedy Venue, Sales and Marketing Assistant at a Clean-Tech business and as a Technician in a West End theatre.