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Inspiring Talent – Creative and Culture

Posted: 11th February 2016

“Identify career pathing opportunities from placement to internship to employment with a specific focus upon persons from primary through to higher education”.

Members of this small working group consisted of:

  • Brigadier David Allfrey MBE – Chief Executive and Producer of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and Events and Festival Champion for the Scottish Tourism Alliance
  • Katri Vanhatalo – Edinburgh Film Festival Recruitment Manager
  • Caroline Patterson – Lecturer in Event Management – Edinburgh College

According to the panellist it is the employers who turn their expectations into real life experiences which then gives them the confidence to be sure of future career choices and aspirations.  In some cases this means being creative with opportunities and taking on board the social aspect of sustainability.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival

The Filmhouse and the Edinburgh International Film Festival seek individuals with strong communication and administration skills for front of house and customer facing roles and they also offer opportunities in hospitality. EIFF engages young people in several different ways before and during the Festival dates (15th to 26th June 2016).

They have a group of 15-19 year old Young Programmers who will programme films, write reviews and host Q&A sessions during the festival. There are also a number of events geared towards 16–26 year olds at the Youth Hub, a venue solely for these events. For over 18-year-olds the opportunities also extend into recruitment; they recruit around 130 volunteers each year and tasks for volunteers span from behind the scenes volunteering, for example with the technical team to customer facing roles such as volunteering in the Audience Awards team.

This year there will be twelve paid internships in different teams for which recruitment starts at the same time as recruitment for volunteers. EIFF Internships are supported by Creative Scotland. Internships are mentored, learning opportunities, providing valuable work experience within a specific team at the Festival. Normally lasting up to 3 months and allowing for flexible working, they are designed to provide a clear understanding of a team’s contribution to the festival, and need an engaging and valuable learning experience. Within the context of an agreed learning plan, EIFF also aims to ensure individuals gain an understanding of the wider planning and organisation that goes into delivering a major international festival and the role that other teams play.

Most internship are full-time roles of approximately 35 hours per week; however, EIFF will always consider flexible working arrangements. Some internship positions can be organised to suit learners who require a work placement as part of their University or college course thus fulfilling the progression from education to work. While, progression to full time employment is limited, the benefits of networking allows for advancement or promotion within the informal network of film festivals and events.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

The career pathing opportunities from placement to internship to employment within the REMT is based on people as part of their business model and the social component of sustainability of developing people and contributing to wider societies.  The Tattoo itself, is not a large employer with only 23 people year-round but has many casual workers over the summer period.  They do not offer formal work experience and have found that when they previously offered internships it involved more input than output.

They are, however, closely aligned with the Cadet and Scout movements and work in partnership with Police Scotland on a project known as the Glasgow Boys taking ex offenders and youngsters from challenging environments and backgrounds and influence them to behave in a way that is legal, appropriate and professional. They have a chance to take part in a world-class event and gain a written personal statement/recommendation that could be invaluable for future studies or employment.

Staff retention at the Tattoo is excellent which means an expert and committed staff but not a great deal of career progression or opportunities.  That said, they are expanding rapidly and seeking to double the turnover in the next 5-10 years which will generate new employment opportunities.  However, those will not be for those just starting out in the events and festivals business but will be more relevant to those who are already established and the intention is to reposition REMT as a leading global events and production business.

Moving Forward

Education is working to the standards of CfE and the events and festivals industry is aware that managing expectations and providing schemes or experiences that can be valued by the young person will undoubtedly enhance their overall confidence, skills and knowledge. Further development is required though in motivating the individuals especially with regards to volunteering.  Innovation, energy and the ability to be a self motivated starter can, along with punctuality, commitment and qualifications lead to employment success.

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