News story

Help for graduates to access arts jobs

Talented arts graduates from less affluent backgrounds will be given an opportunity to kick start careers in the arts or creative industries

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A new bursary scheme was formally launched today by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey.

The DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursaries Scheme for new arts graduates has been developed and is managed by Jerwood on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The programme will make careers in the arts more accessible by giving up to 40 recent graduates, who could otherwise not support themselves through an unpaid internship, the opportunity to take up posts with arts and cultural organisations for up to 12 months.

Recipients will take up a variety of posts including production assistant, marketing assistant and assistant director. Placements are being opened up across the country with diverse organisations like the Manchester International Festival, Dartington Arts in Devon and The Sage in Gateshead all taking part.

Minister for Culture and the Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey said:

“The biggest challenge for arts graduates is getting their first break. Culture and the arts is one of the most competitive fields of employment and it can be difficult for those less able to afford it to take advantage of the excellent work placements out there.  Through this support talented graduates will be able to get a foot in the door by gaining experience with leading organisations like the RSC and the Liverpool Philharmonic, who in turn will benefit from the enthusiasm and creativity of the next generation.”

Bursary recipient Gemma Connell, Manchester International Festival, said:

“This is such a fantastic opportunity for me. It is extremely difficult to make the jump from working on student productions at university to being involved in the production of professional art, but this scheme bridges that gap. I am enormously grateful to DCMS and Jerwood, and to Manchester International Festival for providing me with my first break.”

Rob Elkington, Head of Education Partnerships at the Royal Shakespeare Company, said:

“The RSC are passionate about the creative bursary scheme. It offers a springboard for talented young people into the industry that they couldn’t access in any other way by offering them the chance to develop their skills, confidence and contacts to build their careers. The kinds of opportunities that are on offer through the scheme are potentially life changing. The benefits don’t just go one way though. By removing the barriers to involving a greater diversity of ambitious graduates the arts and cultural sector will be strengthened over the long term.”

Notes to Editors

  1. The DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursaries Scheme will initially run for two years. A decision on continuing the scheme will be taken following full evaluation.

  2. For further information and inquiries related to recipients and host organisations please contact Gayle Douglas at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 020 7211 6145.

  3. Further information about the academic and financial eligibility criteria, as well as a full list of all the organisations hosting graduate placements, can be found on the Jerwood Charitable Foundation website.

  4. Jerwood refers to the Jerwood Foundation and the Jerwood Charitable Foundation.

  5. The Scheme is part funded by Arts Council England.

Press Enquiries: 020 7211 2210
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Updates to this page

Published 4 November 2010