is changing

Try our beta site and let us know what you think

Boris launches Culture Squad 2012 – new apprentice producers scheme

14 November 2011

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson, in partnership with Arts Council England and leading arts organisations The Albany, Barbican, English National Ballet, Roundhouse and Watermans, is looking for five outstanding individuals, aged 19-24, who want to develop a career in producing outdoor events. Called Culture Squad 2012, the scheme aims to be a flagship for best practice and will offer five full-time, paid apprenticeships which will give the successful applicants direct experience of producing a major outdoor festival for London during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Each apprentice will be based for 12 months with one of the arts organisations involved in the scheme. They will be mentored by one of the five producers who are producing the new outdoor festival commissioned by the Mayor to coincide with the London 2012 Festival. At the end of the scheme, each apprentice will receive an NVQ Level 2 in Live Events.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: 'Culture Squad 2012 is a fantastic opportunity for young Londoners with raw, creative energy, drive and talent to learn from some of the best producers in the business. London leads the world in the creative industries and to remain the best, we must train up the younger generation with apprenticeships such as these.'

Moira Sinclair, Executive Director London, Arts Council England said: 'We know that, now more than ever, it is incredibly tough for young people to break into the creative and cultural industries. Getting experience is really important, if you are to be a credible candidate for employment, so we are happy to support Culture Squad 2012. It offers a wonderful opportunity to work in some of the capital’s best arts organisations and to gain a qualification at the same time – and we hope that every young person who loves the arts and has dreamt of turning their passion into work will think about applying.'

Ruth Mackenzie, Director, Cultural Olympiad & London 2012 Festival, said: 'This scheme is an outstanding opportunity for young people to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime event and develop skills which will open up future opportunities for them in the arts.'

The closing date for submissions to Culture Squad 2012 is Monday 28 November. Full application details are available from The first phase of the selection process will be Tuesday 6 December and successful applicants will start the apprentice scheme in January 2012.

Gavin Barlow, Chief Executive at The Albany: 'As South East London's leading performing arts venue, the Albany is delighted to be part of the Mayor's apprenticeship scheme. The Albany works closely with young people as well as emerging artists and practitioners to develop new ideas and create exciting new work. This is a great opportunity to be involved in programming arts events across South East London in 2012.'

Sean Gregory, Director of Creative Learning, Barbican Centre and Guildhall School said: 'The Barbican is a strong supporter of apprenticeships, and I’m delighted that we are a partner of the Culture Squad 2012 scheme. Our programme in 2012 offers an extraordinary mix of great cultural experiences for all, both in the Centre and beyond. With our particular focus in East London, we have a firm commitment to working with local partners, and of course across the art-forms. The Barbican is dedicated to working with young people through our Creative Learning programme, and the Culture Squad apprenticeship scheme will offer the opportunity to get involved with some incredible Barbican off-site projects and give us the opportunity to share our skills and experience in this area.'

Craig Hassall, Managing Director, English National Ballet: 'English National Ballet is delighted to be collaborating with the Greater London Authority and its partners on this very important project. It is a fantastic initiative that will help to develop the career path of several young people, and deliver great art to our community whilst inspiring many more. These aspirations are at the heart of our ethos and we relish the opportunity to make this contribution.'

Marcus Davey, Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Roundhouse said: '2012 will be a unique moment in London's history and the Roundhouse is delighted to be hosting a young apprentice. The Roundhouse has an ongoing commitment to provide opportunities to enable 11 - 25's to realise their creative potential. We are excited to be a part of this scheme which supports young apprentices who will contribute so much to this major cultural event.'

Jan Lennox, Director, Watermans: 'Watermans is really looking forward to hosting one of the Young Producers next year. There is a really full programme of outdoor events planned which will provide plenty of opportunities to develop skills and experience and we hope to benefit from the energy and creativity that someone young and new to the field will bring.'

The Mayor's new outdoor festival for 2012 will run from 21 July to 9 September across the length and breadth of London, bringing to life squares, parks and town centres in all 33 boroughs. The festival will be free of charge and will include live performances, film, visual arts, comedy and other events. ENDS


Notes to editors

1. In November 2010, the Mayor launched a campaign to boost the number of apprenticeships in the capital. The campaign has seen 40,000 new schemes being set up in a year. The Mayor has now set a new target in association with the National Apprenticeship Service to create an additional 60,000 new apprenticeships by the end of 2012 – bringing the total to 100,000. The Mayor is keen to build on the success of work done with business sectors that play to London's strengths, namely financial services, digital, creative, cultural, retail and hospitality, where apprenticeships are still underrepresented compared to the size of their workforces. For more on the Mayor's plans go to:

2. The Mayor of London will announce more details about the programme of free events being planned to take place in every borough during the London 2012 Festival early next year.  The Mayor sees the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games as providing an unparalleled opportunity for London to showcase itself to the world. He is responsible for ensuring there is a lasting legacy for London from the Games, and is focused on ensuring that Londoners benefit from opportunities and investment that the Games bring – both now and in the future - particularly in East London. The Mayor coordinates the City Operations programme, which is designed to spread the look, feel and excitement of the Games throughout the capital (e.g. London Ambassadors, Live Sites, London Look programme) and to bring together London agencies to keep the capital moving and functioning successfully during a busy period. In 2012 the capital will demonstrate its creative prowess, creating new opportunities for cultural connections for Games time and beyond.

3. About the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival

The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements.  Spread over four years, it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people.

The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad will be the London 2012 Festival, bringing leading artists from all over the world together from 21 June 2012 in this UK-wide festival – a chance for everyone to celebrate London 2012 through dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, fashion, film and digital innovation.

Principal funders of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival are Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor. BP and BT are Premier Partners of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival.

For further information please contact Paul Woodmansey in the London 2012 Press Office on +44 (0)203 2012 100,, or visit the website at

4. Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2011 and 2015, we will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £0.85 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.


MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Press information is available from Ben McKnight on 020 7983 4071.

GENERAL PUBLIC/NON-MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Call the Public Liaison Unit at the Greater London Authority on 020 7983 4100

DUTY PRESS OFFICER: For out-of-hours media enquiries, please call 020 7983 4000