But for me, my Silver and Gold awards certainly gave me the next best thing. My Unit 1 for Silver meant I had to participate in arts activities and attend training. This lead me to getting a lot of experience in technical theatre and also leading me to undertake a specialist qualification in lighting for theatre at The Garage in Norwich. For Unit 1 of my Gold, I focussed on arts management (as mentioned in my last blog). This meant I got involved in all the shows I could and helped to put them on.
Such hands on experience, with the guidance of my adviser to help me reflect and learn, is pretty much what I consider apprenticeships to be all about. So if you choose to stay on at 6th form like I did (or college) then all I can say is that whilst A-levels give you big qualifications, doing a Silver or Gold (being the equivalent level of A-levels) will give you the hands on experience often vital in the arts.
If you do choose the apprenticeship route, what do I think you can expect?
- to learn more about your chosen field
- to get guidance and support from both your employer and an apprenticeship assessor
- to have hands on, practical experience
- to be paid (normally around £350-£400 a month, sometimes more)
- and if you're doing a creative apprenticeship I also feel you should have the opportunity to do a Silver or Gold arts award
It can be hard for employers to make the right judgement about whether to employ someone for a job. Balancing the idea that you will get training with whether you already bring the right basic skills and passion. If this is your first try in an industry, how do you know if it's right for you?
This is where demonstrating experience and commitment through Arts Award really helps. If two candidates were level peggings, I'd opt for the one with an Arts Award.
There are several apprentices featured on this website, are you one that could share your expertise and experience?We'd love to hear from you.
Originally published 4 November 2015.