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How Creative Traineeships are helping young people to 'get a foot in the door'

In February 2018, we announced nine year-long full time traineeships for young people aged between 16-24, which were developed to help progress careers in the arts, screen and creative industries.

The Year of Young People Creative Traineeships are being supported at An Lanntair in Stornoway; Taigh Chearsabhagh in North Uist; Dundee Rep/Scottish Dance Theatre and Shaper/Caper in Dundee; Macrobert in Stirling; National Theatre of ScotlandYDance and film production company barry crerar in Glasgow; and Collective Gallery in Edinburgh.

With all traineeships now firmly underway, we caught up with some of the young people working in their roles to see what they're gaining from the experience.

Alia Ghafar, Junior Producer at barry crerar

Alia Ghafar works for screen duo Ciara Barry and Rosie Crerar as a Junior Producer in Glasgow.

"The exciting part of my job is that my duties can vary from day to day, as I’m working across multiple projects," she said.

"I could be doing research for a script we have in development, coordinating meetings with writers/directors, and when we’re in production, whatever needs done to make sure the shoot goes smoothly."

"At barry crerar we have feature dramas, documentaries and shorts on the go, so I get to experience the full spectrum of filmmaking. Each day is a new challenge, which is brilliant!"

Alia graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2017, having studied on the Film and TV undergraduate programme. She has spent some time independently working on shorts, whilst looking for further experience in production roles.

Creative Traineeships give young people a way into the sector, an opportunity to prove themselves and increase their own skills, and thereby also help to keep the creative industries they’re working in healthy and vibrant- Zachary Wallace, Taigh Chearsabhagh

"Their ethos as a company immediately drew me to barry crerar," she says, "encouraging contemporary stories from Scotland, told by diverse voices."

"I totally share their passion for encouraging new work which has international reach, and keeps Scotland culturally relevant in the cinematic landscape. Their commitment to exploring unheard stories from underrepresented groups is something I hugely admire and strive for."

Just a few months into her traineeship, Alia has already been able to attend events at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, as well as the Channel 4 Diversity Conference. She says that every day, she meets a variety of film practitioners who have worked in the industry for a long time, and have valuable industry knowledge to share.

"Within the film industry and the arts in general, the hardest step for young people is 'getting your foot in the door'," she said. "Once you have that first bit of experience and connect with people in your field, it’s so much easier to find future opportunities. I’m very grateful to have had this chance and know my creative traineeship will be invaluable to my future career."

"I’ve realised what an exciting time it is for the industry in Scotland, particularly with the recent launch of Screen Scotland," she said.

"My role at barry crerar seems to be at the perfect time and place to learn all about how films are made in Scotland. I’ve particularly gained invaluable insight into a producer’s role in the development process and all that’s involved in the full journey of a film from script to screen."

And speaking of the future, Alia says her ambition is to "keep learning all I can about the industry, collaborate with exciting talent and be involved in the making of bold, innovative films that have a lasting impact on audiences."

Petre Dobre, BSL Director Trainee at Macrobert

Petre Dobre is working at Macrobert, alongside Artistic Director Julie Ellen, as a BSL Director Trainee.

His responsibilities include creating his own project to show at the end of the traineeship, creating the Deaf Cinema and Theatre club, and producing workshops for hearing and D/deaf audiences.

He said he applied because "the role here at Macrobert would be a challenge and I would learn so many new skills to take forward in my career."

Petre was born in Romania and attended a Deaf school. He said: "At the age of 14 I joined a deaf dancing group called No Limit. A few years later we all went on to learn acting skills."

"In March 2015, I came to Scotland for one week to work with Solar Bear’s Deaf Youth Theatre. It was here I found out about the BA Acting Degree for Deaf people at the RCS (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland). In September 2015, I started my three year degree course and graduated in June 2018."

Petre has found that the role has opened up many opportunities, including "networking within the arts industry, attending the Youth Arts Industry as part of the Edinburgh Fringe, presenting at the last Culture Republic event, observing different directors and their process of working, being invited to be part of Kadamati at Edinburgh International Festival, and working with young people."

"Learning from others with experience within the arts is so important," he said. "To be given this opportunity at the start of my career has been so worthwhile."

In the future, Petre said he would like to direct his own work, and be involved with film making and acting, as well as running workshops for deaf and hearing audiences in acting, dance and visual theatre.

Zachary Wallace, Gaelic Film and Visual Arts Trainee (Neach-trèanaidh Gàidhlig Filme is Ealain Lèirsinnich) at Taigh Chearsabhagh

Zachary Wallace works with UistFilm within Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Arts Centre, producing everything from films for Gaelic broadcasters, to commissions from other arts centres, to promotional and advertisement material for local businesses.

He also helps out with visual arts exhibitions, music nights, film screenings, and some translation and social media work as required.

Originally from Ontario, Canada, Zachary is a self-taught fluent Gaelic speaker who completed his degree at the University of Toronto.

"I applied when I had just finished my undergrad and was looking for an opportunity to combine as many of my main interests as possible," he said.

"The position required Gaelic, was in a Gaelic area, and Taigh Chearsabhagh had an interesting track record with everything from literature to film and back again. But more than that, it continues and strengthens a dialogue between the native Gaelic arts of these islands and the currents of the larger world."

When Creative Scotland spoke to Zachary, he had only been in the position for one month. "But even within that timespan I’ve learned a lot," he said.

"In the area of recording, my training has been focused on sound. I had very little experience in that beforehand, and I’ve learned a lot in a short period of time. Otherwise, I’ve learned new editing techniques, and on different editing software as well.

"This is also my first experience properly working with clients on making their own visions happen, so that customer side of things is very new to me."

"I’ve had opportunities arranged for me to work with a feature film crew and in the filming of a series for BBC Alba," he said. "I also continue to meet many of the people involved in Gaelic television and radio broadcasting."

"As this is my first position in the sector, it’s been a great foot in the door for me. As the year progresses, I’m sure more will come of it."

Zachary said that the Creative Traineeships are important, as they "give young people a way into the sector, an opportunity to prove themselves and increase their own skills, and thereby also help to keep the creative industries they’re working in healthy and vibrant."

Issie Tovey, Young Person's Programmer at Pier Arts Centre

Issie Tovey's work as a Young Person's Programmer at Pier Arts Centre sees her running and coordinating events for young people, encouraging young people to get more involved with the gallery, assisting with exhibition installation, and engaging with visitors to the gallery.

She said applying was "one of the best decisions I've ever made," and that she did so as she wanted to "do something for myself whilst also going on an adventure."

"During my two months here so far, I have worked with other arts professionals in the area," she said, "including Orkney Islands Council’s Arts Officer and community cinema, Westside Cinema."

"A key part of my role has been working with Piergroup (The Pier Arts Centre’s arts collective for young people) and school children."

Issie has recently completed an Art and Design Foundation Diploma, and is unsure whether she wants to attend a university, or continue to gain experience in the world of work. Either way, this traineeship has given her valuable skills which will benefit her in the future.

"Traineeships give young people the opportunity to step on the first wrung of the ladder towards a career in the creative industries," she said.

"They tend to be more practical in nature, which may give possibilities outside of traditional educational routes. Plus, they can lead on to other vacancies in the creative industries."

Creative Scotland's Year of Young People Traineeships are designed to help boost the career prospects of young people interested in progressing a career in the arts, screen and creative industries, by offering the opportunity to develop skills and experience needed to progress in their chosen profession by removing barriers to paid work experience.

Read more about the funding at creativescotland.com/funding/archive/year-of-young-people-creative-traineeships.

(Photo: Issie Tovey at Pier Arts Centre)

This article was published on 17 Sep 2018