‘It’s a fallacy that apprentices make the tea – I have never touched a kettle’

By Liz Hughes, Head of Development at Cambridge JunctionThere are many outdated misconceptions about apprenticeships. They now, of course, come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and are offered beyond the traditional trades and industries they have long been associated with, and at Cambridge Junction apprenticeships go far beyond the nine to five.

junction building

Apprenticeships offer routes for young people between the ages of 16 – 24 to become a highly skilled and employable member of the arts and entertainment sector. Working alongside professionals, while they also work towards accredited qualifications. Since 2014 we have hosted apprentices across technical, operational, learning and community engagement roles. Apprenticeships form part of the wider career progression opportunities that we deliver, from creative industry careers evenings through to two-year placements honing specific skills.

Quotes from former apprentices:

‘Although they know you are still learning, they treat you like a peer’

"There is no normal day. It depends what show you are working on. We do theatre, comedy and music’

We feel strongly that offering a variety of pathways into the creative sector is vital for us as a business, as well as also supporting the diversification of the wider workforce. All of our apprenticeships are non-graduate entry routes into the arts and are in partnership with the National College of Creative Industries. Importantly, having apprentices in our team means that fresh ideas and perspectives are bought into the organisation. It also means that there are people ready with the skills we need to be recruited into future vacancies as they arise.

Given our size and structure, as a small social enterprise and charity, hosting apprentices also enables us to offer line management opportunities for some of our more junior members of staff, which in turn supports their development and progression. Many of our apprentices have stayed with Cambridge Junction and have over time moved into more senior and management roles. Previous Cambridge Junction apprentices have also gone to work as event managers and promoters, at events such as at Latitude and the Reading and Leeds Festivals, as well as into careers in artist liaison or Music PR.

Our apprentices talk about how they value the first-hand experience, the skills development and networking, the flexibility to follow their interests and how it can lead to careers or to establishing their own businesses. They also like that they learn while earning some money and not accumulating college debts.

Sam Harry, Creative Learning Apprentice says: 

I first started working at Cambridge Junction in Autumn 2018 as a casual member on the Event’s Team. Since then, I have taken up many opportunities from learning how to manage events and operate a venue, to now becoming the first Creative Learning Apprentice at Cambridge Junction.

The Creative Learning team deliver projects for young people from around Cambridge which provide opportunities to explore many different creative avenues into the arts.

One of my most valued experiences has been offering event management and paid project delivery work to a young person who came through one of our programmes with an alternative education provider. This young person shadow duty managed ‘Declan Mckenna’, a sold out gig in our J1 venue for 850 people, they were then offered our Operations Apprenticeship.

Being in a position where we can help people, who might not normally have access to this sector, discover their passion for art, music, theatre, events and sound has been an unforgettable experience to say the least.

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Learn more here:  Apprenticeships | Cambridge Junction