Rachael Garrett from Coleraine has been named Northern Ireland Intern of the Year for her work with the National Trust in the NI Creative & Cultural Skills Awards.
The NI Creative & Cultural Skills Awards show that youthful potential and creativity can be developed through support from employers, educators and the opportunity of paid apprenticeships and internships.
Rachael, a Preventive Conservation Intern, was nominated for the award for her hard work and dedication to the National Trust’s many properties.
Sara Graham, Nations Director of Creative and Cultural Skills, explained that now more than ever young people need a chance to get a foot on the career ladder.
“It can be incredibly difficult to land that first paid job within the creative industries and we are celebrating not only the young people who are the future of the sector but also the tutors and the employers who foster and develop that emerging talent,” she explained.
Creative & Cultural Skills supports the industry in many ways including through the NI Creative Employment Programme, which provides funding to employers for internships and apprenticeships within the sector. The programme is supported by the Arts Council for NI Lottery Fund. These are paid apprenticeships and internships challenging the culture of unpaid work and creating new entry level jobs.
“We know the sector is under financial pressure but through the NI Creative Employment Programme, finance is available for organisations in the creative industries to employ apprentices and interns for totally new posts. In the past year, the programme has invested £151,500 to help create 42 new jobs and there will be another three funding rounds in 2017. The aim is to support both our growing creative economy and promote a fairer and more diverse sector,” she added.
For the NI Apprentice of the Year, the award was shared between Danielle Travers, a Community Arts Management apprentice with Sticky Fingers; and Emma Wilson, a business apprentice with Cahoots NI.
The awards also celebrated those working behind the scenes to build the creative industries here. Rhonda Donaghy, an associate lecturer in Fashion and Textiles, North West Regional College won tutor of the year. Father and son, Rainer and Sean Pagel of Production Services Ireland, won the NI Creative Industry Skills Award.
The event, which included speakers and panel discussions with creative professionals, educationalists and young people on the state of diversity and fair access in the creative industries, was held at North West Regional College in Derry.
NWRC Principal and Chief Executive, Leo Murphy commended the winners. “It has been a great pleasure to host these awards in our Foyle Theatre, and we extend our congratulations to those recognised. The College is proud of its role as a Creative & Cultural Skills Leadership College as we work together with industry to nurture the talent of young people, and provide them with the skills and experience they need to make a valuable contribution to the sector.”