The Bluecoat is a contemporary arts centre in Liverpool, which hosts artists and stages events and exhibitions to enable the public to experience art. The Bluecoat has a long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion, has several programmes to support disadvantaged artists, and works with people from the 10% most deprived areas of England. However, Bluecoat recognised it could do more to support these groups to enter and progress through the creative industry.
As a small organisation, the Bluecoat does not have the resource to maintain a formal apprenticeship scheme, but has regularly recruited apprentices when funding and support has been available. The team mentors and supports the individual through college-run apprenticeships in catering or creative management whilst working at the Bluecoat. Apprentices have often come from some of the most disadvantaged areas around Liverpool, and typically have complex, challenging backgrounds. This requires flexibility and understanding from the Bluecoat team in its approach and demands.
Apprentices often join at the age of 17 and some have gone on to stay with the Bluecoat until they are 24, completing Levels 1 to 3. Some have described the Bluecoat as their university experience, where they developed and grew as people. Although some choose to leave to pursue other careers, a quarter have remained at the Bluecoat and most develop lasting relationships with the arts centre.
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