The network is led by a team of Youth Network Leaders - 16-25 year olds from different parts of the country and who represent a variety of art forms. In June and early July, we're recruiting for new leaders. Could you be one of them?
There are a few core requirements, and it provides an ideal opportunity to work towards your Silver and Gold Arts Awards.
The team are vital to ensuring young people's voices are heard and provide invaluable feedback on potential developments within Arts Award. Promotional and support materials have been influenced, a new online portfolio system has been developed through consultation, and even the key messages have been based on what the team suggested.
This sort of work helped us to achieve a British Youth Council Youth on Board award for our first year pilot project. But what does it take to volunteer on a project alongside education and even work?
Well testament to the fact we're running apprenticeship and training month, this is where you should start whenever considering what opportunities to take up. What do you have to offer? But more importantly, what can you get out of it?
If you can see the value in what you're doing, then you will commit to a project more, which makes you valuable to the project organisers. That's why I start with what you get out of it. A bit like unpaid internships, you need to think how long you can commit to it and at what point you should say: "I've got everything I can out of this". Volunteering is brilliant at developing your communication, teamwork, leadership, and planning skills. And that's great to talk about in job or college interviews!
I spent most of my teenage years volunteering with projects, and this lead me to be involved in some brilliant times - being the key contact and escort for Arts Council England's Chief Executive at an international arts conference in 2008, meeting the likes of Russell Brand and Fawlty Towers star Prunella Scales, being a key speaker on enterprise for African leaders in their strategic leaders programme, and the biggest thing is making wonderful friends from all around the country.
Thinking about my volunteering years brings back so many happy memories.
We have developed opportunities for Arts Award Youth Network members to travel to festivals and events with press and media passes, cover the costs of putting on events for local young people, interview artists and arts leaders, and speak at a range of conferences, too. So whilst our team help us promote Arts Award and support other young people, we hope they have lots of fun doing it!
So thinking about training for this month: our team get to meet for 4 residentials a year, where we discuss and develop project ideas and share the work we've all been doing. As part of this, we always provide further training on a particular topic or skill that not only supports the team in their work for us but also adds to their employability.
Our summer training this year takes place in a new venue, Unit Twenty Three, in East Anglia 25th to 27th of July. This is an extended version of the usual residential format and will have a greater focus on training the team on advocacy, website skills, event planning and marketing. To do this, we'll have a few guests and even run one day as our version of Dragon's Den!
So remember, if you like the sound of volunteering and getting skilled up, then take a look at how you might involved with the Arts Award Youth Network at: artsawardvoice.com/youthnetwork