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Preparing young people for arts business

Shane Johnson discusses the launch of an arts traineeship program for young people inspired by a successful sports traineeship program…..

The team at AFL SportsReady is excited to launch our new traineeship program, ArtsReady, in Queensland.  We are providing entry level traineeship opportunities for young Australians in partnership with the arts and creative sector and recently celebrated our first traineeship in Queensland with a new role at the Centre of Contemporary Arts (COCA) in Cairns. Eben Love (pictured) will receive practical on-the-job experience allowing him to learn new skills across lighting, sound and audio visual as well as administration, arts marketing and social media, while also gaining an accredited qualification by studying a Certificate III Live Production, Theatre and Events.

Cairns COCA was one of the first arts organisations to contact us after ArtsReady had been launched as they’d had Eben volunteering with them for six months and could see this was a very real opportunity to support him.  He’d already shown his genuine interest in the arts and also the technology that goes into making a performance. All this added up to real promise which was recognised by COCA’s Manager, Charles Wiles.

ArtsReady provides a model of support that assists young people into employment. It is a new program for the arts and creative industries and an extension of AFL SportsReady’s existing traineeship programs – essentially an entry level training and support program that combines practical experience at work with vocational education. It is a wrap-around support system for a young person to gain a qualification while being employed.

AFL SportsReady is a national company with the capacity to deliver a national program. We have close to 20 years experience helping upwards of 10,000 young people, including over 1,200 Indigenous trainees, start their careers in a variety of back-of-house roles in sport, recreation, banking, finance, horticulture, IT, administration and other areas.   We are currently working with close to 400 organisations from governments, schools, large corporate groups and a myriad of small and medium businesses; we have over 650 trainees across Australia of which over 220 are Indigenous.

AFL SportsReady’s development of ArtsReady has been based on our previous successes: understanding the development needs and interests of young people, working closely with and listening to industry to help deliver what they need, and partnering with organisations who can provide the technical and industry skills and experience to deliver real outcomes.    For ArtsReady, we have developed our own arts industry focussed Business qualifications that will cater for most roles across entry level administration, project/event coordination, marketing and development traineeships.  But like the COCA example, we can also partner with other education providers to tailor the traineeship to individual scenarios. We’ve made the ArtsReady qualification transferable yet practical, providing an essential skills framework for trainees as they move through their careers.   From AFL SportsReady’s experiences, we know support and mentoring throughout is critical to ensure  success. It’s important that young people get the best possible start to their careers. We are all equally passionate about investing in young people through what we do and growing the capacity of individuals and communities regardless of the sector they are working in.

For employers, ArtsReady makes the task of hiring a trainee as straight forward as possible, as we are the legal employer of all the trainees. We look after all the paper work, we organise the education plan and arrange the appropriate training provider to deliver the education that best suits the needs of their business.  We oversee and support the traineeship for its duration, ensuring the experience is a success.   We are really looking forward to watching Eben’s traineeship unfold and celebrate his development with the Centre for Contemporary Arts Cairns.  It’s an opportunity to learn and add real value; bringing the energy and perspective of young people into our arts organisations and businesses.

Shane is Queensland State Manager of AFL SportsReady, a Group Training Company looking to place young people in employment traineeships with suitable host employers predominately in sport and recreation, business and horticulture.  Shane was born and raised in Tasmania working with the Commonwealth Bank and playing three years of senior football with Wynyard and Hobart before moving to Brisbane in 1975.  He played over  200 senior games in Queensland with Mayne and Maroochydore whilst working fulltime in junior football development at Mayne for 6 years, running a small business and managing a sports store.  Coached Mayne under 19’s, Reserves, Maroochydore seniors to a flag, the Queensland Under 17 Team and worked with various Sunshine Coast Representative Teams as well as working in recruiting for the Western Bulldogs.  In 1986 Shane joined AFL Queensland as State Director of Coaching and Junior Development coordinating coach education, talent identification and implementing and developing long term successful programs such as Auskick and the Independent Schools Football competitions whilst supervising a development staff of up to 20 operatives throughout the State.  In 1992 he joined the AFL with the Brisbane Bears/Lions in Football Operations and Player Welfare/Mentoring roles with some recruiting remaining in those positions for 14 years until the end of 2006.  He was a selector for the Queensland Team of the Century and the inaugural Queensland Football Hall of Fame. 



Feature image:  Eben Love, photo by Tanya Snelling, Strategic PR

2nd image:  Charles Wiles, Eben and Shane at Cairns COCA, photo provided by Shane Johnson