London’s Royal Opera House (ROH) is marking 15 years of National Apprenticeship Week with a suite of online events designed to recognise the astonishing work of apprentices past and present. National Apprenticeship Week runs from 7 to 13 February.
These special events will include a takeover of ROH’s Instagram account by social media apprentice Alison Boateng, a live Q&A with current apprentices and apprentice supervisors from the ROH technical and production team, and a ‘day in the life’ film following 11 current apprentices in six different departments, directed and produced by broadcast apprentice Danielle Patrick.
National Apprenticeship Week brings together businesses and institutions from across the country to celebrate the value and importance of apprenticeship schemes. This year, it will focus on how training can help individuals develop the skills required for a rewarding career.
Employers from all sectors will come together to inspire a new generation, presenting a diverse range of career options available to school leavers, individuals looking to upskill or those wanting to entirely change their career path. There will be more than 1,200 virtual and in-person events taking place across the country.
The Royal Opera House launched its own sector-leading apprenticeship scheme in 2007. Since then, ROH has welcomed 76 entry-level apprentices, providing high-quality vocational training for those without a degree or equivalent qualification. Apprentices gain a relevant industry qualification alongside valuable on-the-job training – guided by some of the most accomplished practitioners in the UK’s arts industry.
They graduate from the scheme equipped with transferable skills and a fantastic breadth of experience under their belts. Almost 90% of all ROH apprentices remain within the arts once they have completed their apprenticeship, and many return to the Royal Opera House to continue their careers.
The success of the apprenticeship programme meant that it was expanded in 2019 and then again in 2021 to include placements in more departments, including IT, communications, technical theatre, scenic carpentry and social media.
Danielle Patrick commented: “Working alongside the best of the best in the theatre industry is an honour. I have learnt an unbelievable amount in the past three years and would recommend the apprenticeship to anyone looking to get into the arts. The greatest part about starting your career like this is that you can ask as many questions as you like. I’ve gained the skills and experience to take the next steps in my career thanks to my apprenticeship.”
Royal Opera House apprentices work between 40 and 42.5 working hours a week, including mandatory college time. By law, an apprentice must spend 20% of their employed hours taking part in off-the-job training. Most of the apprenticeships last two years (a few last longer), and all participants are paid the National Living Wage, rising by 2.5% in the second year.
Dale Haddon, director of human resources, said: “The pandemic has been devastating for the arts, and its impact on young people cannot be overstated. We have worked tremendously hard to support our apprentices, providing sector-leading opportunities in a range of different departments here at the Royal Opera House, and encouraging take up from under-represented groups. Schemes like this one are instrumental in catalysing real, lasting change, and ours has gone from strength to strength over the last 15 years.”
Broadcast apprentice Danielle Patrick will direct and produce a film showing a ‘day in the life’ of 11 apprentices as part of a series of special events by the Royal Opera House for National Apprenticeship Week (Sim Canetty-Clarke).