By Belinda Willis
Picture this – just as the long hours of intense conference training begins to fuddle the memory bank, a group of young musicians steps on stage to rap the key messages.
It is a memorable summary and one where “young people have a fantastic perspective and can have a new way of thinking for businesses,” Paul Mayers, from the state’s leading youth arts centre Carclew, says.
The conference rap is among a host of creative approaches Paul previously oversaw in a program he started in England to support young people moving into new jobs in the arts.
Now, Paul has moved to Adelaide to create similar opportunities for young South Australians. Last month Creative Consultants was launched at Carclew with its first cohort of 12 talented young people aged between 18 and 29 years.
Backed with two years seed funding from the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation, the plan is to charge a fee to businesses as it supplies services like role-playing customer service, redesigning social media sites or supporting budding playwrights.
The fees from businesses pay the consultants, with plans for the group to eventually deliver a surplus so proceeds can flow back to Carclew.
Paul believes there are many opportunities in the state, with his job to support and train the Creative Consultants for hire to boardrooms or community groups.
“It’s about growing the creative economy, if we can work with businesses to help them realise the importance of creative thinking it grows the sector and grows their business,” Paul, who moved to SA with his partner in September last year, says.
“I’m a convert to the advantages of SA, we’ve put in the time and effort to come here because of the opportunities.”
Paul says the Manchester-based program Creative Experts was highly successful and worked with a large number of high profile businesses including Siemens and IT giant Cisco, accountants, lawyers and electricity infrastructure companies.
It helped businesses take a fresh look at problem solving, while at the same time helping young people launch their careers in the arts.
“Young people need to know that there is a path to the career they want without having to leave the state,” Paul says. “To fully develop and maintain professional momentum, there needs to be a clear line of sight from training to career.”
The Carclew program received 65 applications in its first round and Paul is keen to grow its core numbers over the next five years, with the group already having delivered work to the Adelaide Youth Orchestra, an author and an eco-friendly holiday group.
Members are equipped with skills ranging from digital photography, music production, dance, a muralist, work psychology, theatre work, costume and fashion design.
“A key message is that by working with us businesses can fulfil their training obligations whilst also fulfilling their CSR (corporate social responsibility) obligations,” he says.
Creative Consultants sits among a host of programs for young people at Carclew, a multi-art form and cultural organisation working to support the state’s young people aged 26 and under.
The North Adelaide-based centre also hosts workshops, exhibitions, arts events, arts projects and skill development programs – while three young creatives were awarded residencies in January.
Painter Loren Orsillo and installation and performance artist Felicity Townsend were announced as artists in residence at the historic Carclew House studios, while Jack McBride was chosen as one of Carclew’s 2018 Emerging Curators.
He will receive 12 months mentoring, with Jack saying he is keen to learn more about the field while extending “professional networks within the local arts community and assisting other emerging artists in showcasing their art for the first time”.
Carclew was first started in the Dunstan government era in 1972 with its goal to be a centre for creativity for young people.
“Carclew’s mission is all about helping young people navigate a changing world, supporting creative development in communities, schools and in careers,” Paul says.
He thinks it’s the right fit for a similar program to Creative Experts in Manchester where 93% of participants went on to have careers in the creative industries.
“This is a really great opportunity for me to re-do this program, we’ve hit the ground running with this because I’ve learned a lot of lessons from Manchester,” he says.
“It’s was a really emotional moment bringing the 12 young people together, it’s so exciting to meet them … to see the fire in their eyes. I’m really keen now to set up meetings with businesses and find people willing to be the early adopters of this program.”
Businesses interested in learning more can contact [email protected]
Industry in focus: Creative Industries
Throughout the month of March, the state’s creative industries will be explored as part of I Choose SA.
South Australia is home to a thriving ecosystem of creative businesses and specialists who are delivering world-class works VFX, TV and film production, app development and the VR space. Read more creative industries stories here.
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