23 November 2012 at 4.07pm | Comment on this article
In May, myself and two other participants of the Creative Jobs Programme (CJP) arrived for our very first day at the Royal Opera House. It was to be an induction like no other; we were attending an opera - David McVicar’s production Salome. It wasn’t long before we realized this was not your typical employment scheme or place of work.
CJP is an initiative that offers unemployed young people the chance to gain six months paid work in an arts organization. This year, the CJP programme has taken 40 young jobseekers and placed them at a variety of arts organizations including the V&A and National Portrait Gallery, as well as providing them with accredited training and personal mentors. Positions ranged from customer relations staff at Somerset House to IT support at Sadler's Wells, with applicants a mixture of recent university graduates and school leavers. It’s been quite a way to spend the period of the London 2012 Games and Cultural Olympiad.
As a Film and Television production graduate, I was given the opportunity to work in the Royal Opera House’s Digital Media department. It has been an absolutely fantastic experience: within a week I found myself filming world-renowned tenor Bryan Hymel and later on recording an interview with Roberto Alagna. One of the most enthralling experiences has to be travelling to High House Production Park in Thurrock to assist on one of the ROH's One Extraordinary World trailers, and marvelling at the spectacle of dancers of The Royal Ballet performing 30 feet above our heads on a wire platform.
Aside from those great experiences, the programme is an invaluable addition to our CVs and also, most crucially, that initial foot in the door – something that so many graduates struggle with after leaving full-time education. The Creative Jobs Programme is rare in that all participants are paid for their time and are given a tremendous amount of support by colleagues and project organizers throughout the six months. In many respects it has been a transformative experience for all us, and we leave our posts feeling far more confident about the future.
Watch one of the projects Jack was involved in – an interview with Roberto Alagna speaking about his role in L’elisir d’amore:
The Creative Jobs Programme would not have been possible without the support of LOCOG, Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and BP. Find out about the Royal Opera House work experience programme, First Stage.