Curtains Rise for Offstage Choices 2010

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The National Skills Academy for Creative & Cultural (NSA), working with The Stage, has launched its 2010 Offstage Choices programme, offering 13-15 year olds the opportunity to experience and learn about life behind the curtains.

Students at Offstage Choices, Birmingham Hippodrome, 2009 learn from professionals

Offstage Choices is an essential part of the jigsaw to engage employers in providing a diverse and professional workforce for the future, enabling young people to ‘try before they buy’ through a real time experience.

The National Skills Academy for Creative & Cultural (NSA), working with The Stage, has launched its 2010 Offstage Choices programme, offering 13-15 year olds the opportunity to experience and learn about life behind the curtains.

Venues up and down the country will open their doors from 1st October to 8thDecember, delivering practical and informative one day programmes for young people focusing on backstage, technical and administrative roles available in the industry.

On the day, participants will meet and learn from in-house professionals, including lighting and sound technicians, stage managers, and those working in marketing and front-of-house, who will share their tricks of the trade and offer participants the chance to experience working outside of the spotlight.

Ric Green, Vice Chair, NSA and Technical Director, Opera North says: “Offstage Choices is an essential part of the jigsaw to engage employers in providing a diverse and professional workforce for the future, enabling young people to ‘try before they buy’ through a real time experience.”

Robert West, Education Curriculum Manager, NSA, says: “Offstage Choices is a fantastic opportunity for us to broaden young peoples’ perceptions of what a career in the backstage theatre and live music industries actually entails. Equipped with this knowledge, gleaned from experienced professionals, thousands of young people will be in a stronger position to make the appropriate career choices for them.

“Many of those who come through the Offstage Choices doors will be unaware of the types of roles that exist in our sector. What we want is to get young people thinking about how they can marry the skills and passions they already have with the job opportunities available in our sector, helping to plug some of the skills gaps that we are currently facing.”

Whilst the sector continues to attract a high number of degree-educated students (above the national average compared to the UK working population), employers continue to cite skills shortages as a barrier to improving levels of productivity.

Rosemary Squire, Joint Chief Executive, Ambassador Theatre Group adds: “We are acutely aware of the skills shortages that currently exist in our sector, and this is why we are committed to working with the NSA on Offstage Choices, as a practical outreach programme – we need to think about engaging with and inspiring the next generation now, nurturing their key skills and highlighting future career opportunities.”

Employers involved in this year’s events include the Ambassador Theatre Group, Sage Gateshead, West Yorkshire Playhouse and HQ Theatres, as well as a wealth of other prestigious UK venues. They are partnered by a network of 20 Founder Colleges who work closely with the NSA to promote opportunities and training within the creative and cultural sector.

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For more information on this press release please contact Jessica Hope, Senior PR Advisor at Creative & Cultural Skills – Jessica(dot)hope(at)ccskills(dot)org(dot)uk / 0207 015 1819

Notes to editors:
The events will take place between Friday 1st October and Wednesday 8th December 2010. A full list of dates and host venues can be found here.

Press are welcome to attend, please contact Jessica Hope for press passes or additional quotes.

Image caption: Students at Birmingham Hippodrome 2009 learn from professionals
Further images are available upon request

The National Skills Academy for Creative & Cultural (NSA) is an industry-led membership organisation, developing and governing the delivery of industry approved standards, training and related skills through its network of creative and cultural employers, trade associations and 20 Founder Colleges across the nine regions of England.

Please visit http://www.nsa-ccskills.co.uk for further information

Creative & Cultural Skills is the sector skills council for the creative and cultural industries. Our remit includes craft, cultural heritage, design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts across the UK. Creative & Cultural Skills was granted a new licence to operate in January 2010.

Creative & Cultural Skills is a member of the Alliance of Sector Skills Councils. Together we oversee the strategic development of the workforce in our industries and deliver realistic solutions to skills needs.
For further information please visit http://www.ccskills.org.uk

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