Project information

Portsmouth Creative Employability Programme

Artswork will deliver an innovative partnership project with young people leaving care, building employability skills. Specifically adapted to their needs, supported by mentors, care leavers will work creatively developing readiness-for-work and undertake work placements in creative businesses.

April 2018 - April 2020

Charity information: Artswork Limited

Artswork Limited logo
  • Need


    Portsmouth includes areas of extreme deprivation. Portsmouth City Council looks after 300 young people. Recent evidence gathered by the Children’s Commissioner shows that almost four in ten (38%) care leavers are not in education, employment or training (NEET), compared with just 11% of all young people. Without routes to progression young people remain in a cycle of poverty. For more information, see the 2014 report from Ofsted:


    Our project offers care leavers unique creative skills and employability training with work placements. Through our partnerships with creative businesses, the leaving care service and social workers, young people will develop confidence, aspiration and skills in a supportive work environment. Building pathways into the workplace, young people will engage in arts-related jobs, develop social, communication, team and employability skills and gain nationally recognised qualifications.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To empower young people by increasing confidence, self-esteem and interpersonal skills.


    » Our project builds employability and readiness-for-work through engaging young people in creative work combined with key skills training.

    Through using a combination of:
    • online blogs
    • film and video
    young people will capture impact by interviewing peer participants and organisations/practitioners.

    Aim 2

    For young people to gain a recognised qualification and build leadership skills.


    » Delivering Arts Award, an accredited qualification, is key. Young people also achieve and lead through peer-to-peer mentoring and teamwork.

    By obtaining their Arts Award and taking the lead in peer-led evaluations. This will capture the development of stories and case studies informed by the voice of young people.

    Aim 3

    To provide authentic work placements, onto further education, apprenticeships or jobs.


    » Young people will take up mentored creative work placements backed up with sessions on next-step planning, job applications and interview skills.

    We will capture and evaluate visible evidence of success, through seeing young people progress onto an apprenticeship, into further education, or employment.

  • Impact


    Young people will have:
    • Developed self-discipline, communication, and team working skills though practical work-placements and training resulting in increased self-esteem, aspirations, independence and future employability
    • Achieved an accredited qualification and built leadership skills
    • Become more resilient helping them to make healthy life choices leading to stronger, lasting physical and mental health
    • Progressed onto further education or employment/apprenticeships


    Care leavers often face both poverty and life disruptions including frequent changes in addresses. Our biggest risk therefore is around retention of young people feeling able to commit to the whole programme. Artswork’s project however includes the payment of a bursary to participants as well as one-to-one mentoring. This gives young people some stability, helps foster resilience and commitment, and as a is more likely to result in a successful outcome.


    We will ensure that the project has a framework of monitoring, review, evaluation and reporting built into it – with the views and voices of young people integrated creatively into this process. An evaluator will enhance this to ensure we capture short-term achievements and longer-term impact.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £113,418

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £31,998 Management & overhead Programme coordinator, travel, and overhead
      £2,000 Advocacy & steering Steering group costs, arts and cultural employer advocacy and networking
      £57,740 Creative work programme Employability training, mentoring, bursary, subsistence, and travel
      £7,000 Early intervention Fees for artists and arts organisations for early intervention using arts and culture
      £10,000 Monitoring and evaluation Evaluation and young people's creative evaluation
      £4,680 Other DBS checks and contingency for unexpected emergency costs and inflationary increases

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Blagrave Trust £50,000 Guaranteed
    South East Bridge £24,370 Guaranteed
    Arts Council England Catalyst £4,419 Guaranteed
    Portsmouth City Council Virtual School £13,332 Guaranteed
    Artswork £1,066 Guaranteed
    Other sources of charitable trusts and foundations £10,631 Conditional
  • Background


    Almost a quarter of children live in poverty with many impacted by multiple-deprivation in education, poor health, crime and unemployment. Portsmouth is also home to arts and cultural organisations including theatres, music venues and e.g. HMS Warrior, HMS Victory, and The Mary Rose. Educational attainment in young people in care is extremely low; this project offers an alternative way of learning functional, life and employability skills outside of school.


    Over 2 years the project will benefit:
    • 20 young care leavers aged 16-19 particularly those with poor educational outcomes struggling to find employment.
    • The wider community through transforming the futures of young people in and leaving care now more able to progress into further education or employment.
    • Creative businesses engaging the young people by working with and learning from their youthful insight and fresh perspectives.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Artswork has a 30-yr track record of improving the lives of young people particularly those who are disadvantaged and at risk. We have strong strategic alliances between those in the arts and those working with young people in order to facilitate the best chances for progression. Working through the arts is a unique way to engage with young people, drawing from their enthusiasms and building leadership, confidence, communication and team working skills, as well as improving their life chances.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Judith Carrie

    Project Co-ordinator, successfully managed a major 3-year programme engaging children and young people with the Heritage Sector.

    Peter Taylor

    Artswork’s Strategic Manager for Hampshire, Portsmouth, Southampton & Isle of Wight. He oversees the Creative Employability Programme.

    Lindy Elliot

    Portsmouth City Council facilitates work placements and leads cultural education partnerships.

    Tina Henley

    Headteacher, Portsmouth Virtual School and our key strategic partner on the programme.


...will support interpersonal skills training for a young care leaver.

"It's really exciting to be working in the creative sector…meeting other creative companies and networking with people who people who can give you advice on building your career. I’ve been able to grow my experience and develop a list skills that in reality, university might not have given me."

Olivia, Creative Apprentice, 2016