A new £500,000 programme of skills development and job support to help unemployed young people in Lewisham get a job in the creative industries has been announced.
Inspire Lewisham is a partnership between Goldsmiths, University of London, Lewisham College, the Albany, and Do it Now Now.
The two-year project will focus on helping young people from ethnic minority groups, young women, and young disabled people begin a career in the creative industries. The programme will include training in employability skills, creative and digital skills and a creative mentoring programme.
Creative industries firms in Lewisham will also be offered support to help build their understanding and capacity in diversifying their workforces and offering opportunities to young people.
It is estimated that currently 20% of young people in Lewisham are not in employment, education or training. 47% of the population are from black or ethnic minority backgrounds, a group currently underrepresented in the creative industries.
Inspire Lewisham aims to provide unemployed Lewisham residents with qualifications, training and paid work experience through creative industry firms which are based in the borough. The programme aims to help at least 125 participants move into employment, education or training with 60% of participants from ethnic minority backgrounds, 50% female, and 22% people with a disability or health condition.
The project, which runs from now until 2023, will look to help unemployed people aged 16 and above “level-up” their skills regardless of their previous educational achievements. To qualify both participants and businesses must be resident in Lewisham.
The project is receiving up to £500,000 of funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England.
Lewisham FE College and the Albany will offer support to participants with lower skills and qualifications and those with higher qualifications and more experience will access Goldsmiths’ programmes. Do it Now Now will provide training for creative industry enterprises to help build inclusive and diverse workforces.
Professor Frances Corner, Warden of Goldsmiths, University of London said: “In the rush to ‘level up’ Britain it is vital that young Londoners are not left behind. With one in five young people in Lewisham not in employment, education or training we have to do more to help them overcome the barriers to getting a good education and a good job.
“By joining together with our Lewisham partners this initiative can give young people the skills and support they need to develop their talents and carve out a career in the creative industries.”
Asfa Sohail, Principal at Lewisham College, said: “At Lewisham College, we're committed to inspiring young people, nurture their talent and encourage them to take full advantage of the opportunities available to them.
“We’re pleased to be part of Inspire Lewisham and to work in collaboration with like-minded local organisations. This programme is an excellent opportunity to combine our knowledge and expertise to support the development of minority groups within the borough, and to break down barriers to help young people in these groups realise their potential and achieve their career goals.”
Gavin Barlow, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the Albany said: “Getting more young people from a range of backgrounds into creative careers is essential not just for the arts, but for society as a whole. This investment, combined with the knowledge and experience of deeply embedded local organisations will really help young people to realise their ambitions and talent, regardless of background.
“As a venue that has always been committed to supporting routes into and through the creative industries, we’re pleased to be working in partnership across Lewisham on a project of this scale.”
Bayo Adelaja, CEO of Do It Now Now said: “We are pleased to partner with other organisations that are passionate about the development of Lewisham’s workforce. We are proud to offer our expertise as Diversity and Inclusion trainers and consultants to the organisations that will be affecting change and creating opportunities to people that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic and the connected economic crisis.”
Inspire Lewisham launched as part of The Mayor of London announcing £1.3m of investment in programmes to support creative jobs and training through his Creative Enterprise Zones in Croydon, Lambeth and Lewisham.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “This new funding will bring a huge boost for skills, training and jobs in these areas, and be a much-needed catalyst for economic regeneration and growth.
“The creative industries have the power to drive our social and economic recovery through innovation and job creation but have been hit hard by the pandemic.
“That is why I am delighted to build on the success of the Creative Enterprise Zones in Croydon, Lambeth and Lewisham by supporting more talented Londoners into lasting careers in the sector.”
Image: Courtesy of Lewisham College