Gold Arts Award is a fantastic opportunity for young people to develop as the arts leaders of the future. Despite the opportunities that Gold can offer young people, national take up for this level of the award was low, with very few arts and cultural organisations or schools offering this qualification.
Knowing that Gold Arts Award is a route to support young people to be arts leaders of the future, RIO made increasing participation in Gold one of its priorities for Bridge activity in 2013/14.
From consultation with Arts Award mentors, youth settings and arts and cultural organisations, RIO understood some of the main barriers to offering Gold Arts Award were due to concerns and misconceptions around capacity to deliver the Award, how to embed it within programmes offered and an unawareness of the value and benefits for both the young people and organisations involved.
To address these concerns RIO developed a tender process to recruit a range of organisations to deliver Gold Arts Award. RIO offered some subsidy to help deliver at this level, along with a package of training and support.
RIO now has 36 organisations offering Gold Arts Award right across the South West, enabling young people to engage with real arts leadership in the region. There is a broad spread across theatre, dance, music, media, visual arts, craft and circus, youth centres and even four schools.
RIO has trained 70 new Gold Arts Award Advisors across these organisations and has created a peer support network which meets regularly to discuss best practice, challenges, solutions and opportunities for young people across art forms, as well as ways to generate income and ensure the sustainability of the award.
As a result of an increase in organisations offering Gold, RIO has brought about an uplift of more than 700% in young people achieving their Gold Arts Award. In 2011/12 just 22 young people achieved their Gold Arts Award in the South West. This year we are anticipating 180 young people to achieve Gold.
In the 2014/15 Bridge year RIO will be working with the Gold Arts Award Network to support them in continuing to deliver at this level, with a particular focus on income generation to make Gold sustainable for them to offer.
RIO will be supporting to profile the young people’s work with celebration events in the region, helping to raise the profile and value for the young people themselves as well as for Gold Arts Award.
The programme has been a real learning curve for all those involved which we will be sharing at conferences over the next year in order to inspire and support others to get on board in offering all levels of Arts Award.