ArtsReady and OzCo partner on new traineeships

The Australia Council is one of the first organisations to sign on as a partner in the ArtsReady program of traineeships.
ArtsReady and OzCo partner on new traineeships

ArtsReady is the first national traineeship program in the arts and creative sector. 

ArtsReady, Australia’s first national training and employment program for young people making a start in the cultural and creative sector, is now advertising for positions to be filled. One of the first to sign on as an ArtsReady partner was the Australia Council (OzCo), which is currently advertising three positions, one in direct event and administration support to the Office of the CEO, and an office assistant position and a records management and general administration role, both based in Corporate Resources .

‘We are very excited to be part of this important new traineeship program,’ said Tony Grybowski, CEO of OzCo. ‘Supporting the employment and education of young people who are passionate about embarking on a career as an arts professional is crucial for the future of the arts and creative industries in Australia.’

ArtsReady is an Australian Government initiative funded through the Office of the Arts and managed by AFL SportsReady, a national not-for-profit organisation that in the past 20 years has worked in partnership with employers to provide career pathways for more than 10,000 young Australians, 1,200 of them Indigenous.

Census figures from 2011 show that 531,000 people work in creative employment, an annual growth rate of 2.8% between 2006 and 2011, which is 40% higher than the 2% growth rate of the general workforce over the same period. To build more capacity in the expanding sector, ArtsReady provides structured on-the-job training complemented by nationally recognised qualifications at Certificate III and IV levels with pathways leading to further education and progression to tertiary studies through articulation agreements with universities around Australia.

ArtsReady rides on the back of the expertise and resources of the highly successful SportsReady model that provided wrap-around support for 641 trainees in 2013 - 225 of them Indigenous - and delivered education courses for 900 students through its own Registered Training Organisation. On the ground support comes from field consultants, educators from the RTO, and mentors for every Indigenous trainee. They are in ready contact with their trainees and together they make a minimum of eight face-to-face workplace visits in the training year.

Key to that supported success is partnerships. ‘Our experience is in helping young people make the transition into a career and we never do that in isolation,’ said AFL SportsReady CEO James Montgomery. 

‘The success of the company has been based on understanding the development and needs of young people by working with and listening to industry to help deliver what they need.' 

The proof of the model comes from the success of the trainees. Of its 2013 graduates, 82% are currently employed, 35% of them with their host employer, and another 12% of them are enrolled in further study.

For employers, Montgomery said ArtsReady makes the task of taking on trainees simple and straightforward. As the legal employer of all the trainees, AFL SportsReady manages all the paperwork for ArtsReady trainees, including insurances and superannuation, the education plan, and the appropriate training provider to deliver the education best suited to the needs of the business.

‘Employers are not only getting a young and enthusiastic worker, but one who is learning on the job from them,’ said Montgomery. ‘A trainee with skills under their belt is an asset to any organisation at the conclusion of their traineeship. We regularly have host companies speak about the importance and reward they receive in starting a young person on their career path.’ 

Indeed, 71% of host employers in 2013 who were survey respondents believed that the most rewarding part of taking on a trainee is providing a young school leaver with the opportunity to develop into a young professional and reach their career objectives, so rewarding in fact that 75% of them have considered offering trainees ongoing employment.

To be clear, ArtsReady is a youth employment program, either for students still in school or recent school leavers who are yet to have a qualification beyond what they may gain at school. Anyone with a diploma, degree or a higher qualification is ineligible. Because it is an employment initiative, ArtsReady program managers are in constant conversation with potential host employers who are ready and willing to support a young person in workplace training. 

Those employers can come from the spectrum of creative enterprises, from the performing and visual arts and on to fashion, design, architecture, film, TV, radio, new media, publishing and writing, production, festivals and events, museums and libraries, advertising, marketing and gaming and software development. They may also be employers outside of the arts but who have creative teams on site. Music, performance and visual arts departments in schools are also seen as significant employers in the program.

AFL SportsReady Chair the Hon. Linda Dessau, a current Trustee of the National Gallery of Victoria and Director of the Melbourne Festival, looks forward to working with a new set of employers and a new brand of trainee. ‘We have already expanded well beyond the sporting industry and work with corporate Australia, including all four big banks and Australia Post, along with hundreds of small to medium businesses,' she said.

'Moving into the arts sector is exciting because it gives us more opportunities to support young people on the pathway to a rewarding career. ArtsReady has so much to offer young people in Australia. I and my fellow board members are most excited by its potential to make a difference in people’s lives and have a positive impact on our culture.’

For more information, visit the ArtsReady website. Prospective host employers and trainees will find contact details there.

Troy Nankervis

Tuesday 18 February, 2014

About the author

Troy Nankervis is an ArtsHub journalist from Melbourne. Follow him on twitter @troynankervis