In March 2010 Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Culture Minister Margaret Hodge announced a two-year grants programme to provide at least 40 internships with established arts companies for graduates who could not afford to undertake unpaid internships. The initial £850,000 began in September 2010 and was managed by the Jerwood Foundation and the Jerwood Charitable Foundation.
Speaking in Downing Street as an event to mark the 5th anniversary of Billy Elliot the musical, a story which celebrates a young boy realising his dreams, the Prime Minister said: 'We are rightly proud of the huge amount of talent and creativity that exists in the arts in the UK.
'This funding will help give some of our gifted young artists the extra support and valuable experience they need to get a foot in the door of our creative industries and help them on their way to realising their full potential. It is a vital boost for some of our great future actors, artists and musicians who may otherwise have slipped through the net."
Culture Minister Margaret Hodge said:
"There is no shortage of cultural and creative talent in this country. But breaking into the business, and turning talent into a job or career can be really difficult unless you come from a well-off or well-connected background. This pilot scheme aims to help create a level playing field of opportunity so that real talent in the arts can get through, regardless of economic barriers. It further demonstrates how the Government has nurtured creativity, ensuring that the past ten years have been a golden age for the arts."
Chairman of the Jerwood Foundation, Alan Grieve said:
"We have given strong support to young people in the performing and visual arts for some 20 years and opened doors to a wide range of careers. The DCMS Jerwood Creative Bursaries will give more opportunity and an entrance to the arts for committed arts graduates."
The scheme continued until March 2012; by then forty-two placements has been created with host organisations including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, The Sage, Gateshead and DanceXchange, Birmingham. The Scheme has proved highly effective at giving bursary recipients the very best start. 90% (38 out of 42) are employed in the arts at the conclusion of the pilot and 60% (25 out of 42) of hosts extended their recipients' contracts either permanently or temporarily.
The Scheme has had a significantly positive impact, achieving not only what it set out to do – opening up access to careers in the arts – but also enriching the sector with a strong network of future leaders. Our aim is to create long-term change in these areas with the right partners and to develop the Scheme’s future beyond the end of the pilot period in March 2012.
For all enquiries and information about the DCMS Creative Bursaries Scheme:
DCMS Creative Bursaries Scheme © Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Margaret Hodge and Alan Grieve with Billy Elliot actors outside No. 10