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New Pathways into Creative Industries for Young People

Young people in Edinburgh with limited education and job prospects are being given opportunities to turn their lives around by entering the creative industries, thanks to an innovative new partnership.

Community arts charity Impact Arts and Edinburgh College have teamed up to create opportunities for both organisations, with the main beneficiaries being students at the college and the young people that Impact Arts works with through its life-changing Creative Pathways programme.

Through Creative Pathways, Impact Arts works with young people who are not currently in education, training or employment, providing options to help them change their lives. Centred around creative industries, 16-19 year olds choose a pathway that will give them training and personal development opportunities, helping them overcome hurdles preventing them from accessing further and higher education. Different pathways have been developed to provide young people with skill sets that will connect them specifically to opportunities in their city. In Edinburgh the focus is on the many festivals the city hosts. Young people can currently choose a pathway into costume design, set design or performance. The programme has an 80% success rate working with young people who have had difficulty finding a job or getting into further or higher education.

The partnership with Edinburgh College’s Centre for Creative Industries – which offers courses in performing arts, broadcast media and photography, music and sound production, musical theatre, and art and design – will offer young people a wealth of opportunities they had previously been unable to access. It will allow Impact Art participants the opportunity to shadow students, giving them an insight into college life. In addition, the Centre for Creative Industries will offer fast-track programme interviews to Impact Arts participants.

In turn, Impact Arts will offer placement opportunities to college students, so they can experience putting their skills into practice in a real-life setting.

A memorandum of understanding to create the partnership was signed by Jay McAlister, regional manager east at Impact Arts and Jon Buglass, head of Creative Industries at Edinburgh College, at a celebration lunch at the college’s Granton Campus on 31 January.

Jon said: “I am delighted at the opportunity to forge this relationship with such a well-respected and well-connected organisation. This partnership is going to benefit existing students of the college and help us bring in a talented group of future students. We’re very excited to watch the relationship grow and develop over the coming year.”

Jay said: “We’re so pleased that the partnership is now official! The benefits for both parties are innumerable, and the real winners are young people on Impact Arts programmes and students at the college. The Centre for Creative Industries has even offered us the use of its state-of-the-art theatre space for Impact Arts performances so watch this space.”

Sean McBride is the first of many young people to benefit from the partnership with Edinburgh Colleges. Having just finished the Creative Pathways Performance programme with Impact Arts, he was accepted onto the Creative Industries NPA Acting and Performance.

“When I started Creative Pathways I had been unemployed for 3 months and was unsure of what I wanted to do with my life. Impact Arts helped me figure this out through the Performance programme and all the help I got with employability skills. It gave me the confidence to apply to college and I’m so happy it led on to the NPA Acting and Performance course at Edinburgh Colleges.”

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The team at Impact Arts work hard to secure over £1.5m of funding per year to provide life changing creative experiences for more than 5000 people.

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