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Friday, 29 August 2014

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Exploring art of finding the right career

EXPERIENCE is being shared and knowledge pooled in a bid to create more opportunities for young people in the arts.

Spurred on by several fruitless months of job-hunting, English literature graduate Matthew Wilson launched a weekly drop-in session on Tuesday to provide a platform for networking.

He hopes sixth formers and perhaps returning graduates will use it as a means of exchanging ideas and giving each other tips.

The sessions will take place in Scott’s cafe, within Hexham’s Forum Cinema, every other week.

Hexham Community Partnership manager Tamsin Beevor said they planned to tap into the rich vein of experience running through the area’s many creative businesses, too.

“There are a lot of people in and around Hexham with careers in the arts who could perhaps share how they got their foot on the ladder,” she said.

The idea for the new group was raised during last autumn’s Hexham Arts Symposium and again during an open spaces development event held for local sixth form students.

Many of them had raised concerns about the dwindling source of careers advice available nowadays, something exacerbated by the fact three of Tynedale’s four high schools no longer subscribe to the annual fortnight of work experience that used to be offered to Year 10s.

Since Matthew returned from Glasgow to his native Hexham, he has found many people are pursuing few opportunities.

As a result, he is now back at the Forum Cinema, where he worked while in the sixth form at the town’s Queen Elizabeth High School. “I hope he won’t be here long!” said Tamsin. “For his sake, I hope he finds a permanent job soon.”

In the meantime, he has decided to help young people help themselves during the sessions that will take place after the early finish at the high school on alternate Tuesdays.

The discussions will range across careers in the arts, in the widest sense of the word. Performing arts and just about any enterprise that demands creativity will be included.

Having said that, it will be up to students to define what they want out of the group themselves, said Tamsin.

“We will be listening to them to find out what they actually want to know.

“Ultimately, we hope the group will help them to get on the right track by sharing the experiences of others.

“It’s fine for some students if their parents are professionals with a good network they can call on, but many don’t have that, so this is about creating a network of their own.

“Sometimes students are more open to suggestions, too, if they aren’t coming from their parents!”

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