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Free Course Removing Barriers to Education & Work

Posted 13 Jul 2023 by Joe Duggan

Our latest Stepping Up course is underway, National Youth Theatre’s free acting and leadership course for young people facing barriers to access stable education and employment. Find out more about the course and sign up for the final sharing below. 

Stepping Up is part of the charity’s expanding targeted inclusion programme and runs alongside Playing Up, which for over a decade has been supporting young people in their journey’s back into education and work. The course is 3-months in length and offers two learning strands, one in creative leadership and one in acting. Young people on the course gain skills that prepare them for a career in the creative industries and with a high level of pastoral and academic support Stepping Up is also designed to empower those who wish to re-enter the education system to do so. 

One participant said:  “I’ve got autism as well as anxiety and depression combined, but when I come here to National Youth Theatre I feel a lot happier in the space. I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve become more social. Before coming here I'd dropped out of Uni and i’d never performed on stage before, but coming here has changed my life and I feel more confident than I was before. I made friends, normally I'm not very sociable but I've come out of my shell a lot since coming here. I’ve developed my social skills and my acting skills and feel confident in them and I've really found a path I want to take. I’m a lot happier. 

Speaking about the impact of Stepping Up, Creativity Squared Funding said: “The project enables young people not in education or employment and unemployed and economically inactive adults to gain industry-relevant and pre-apprenticeship skills and progress into sustainable employment, education or training opportunities in the creative sector. Alongside training in specific job skills, participants are supported with barriers to work such as confidence, lack of recent experience, basic skills, job-seeking skills or other related barriers such as debt or transport difficulties.”

Stepping Up is delivered in partnership with The JGA Group and on completion young people gain a OCN accredited Level 2 Qualification, which is an alternative to GCSEs for many. Many graduates from Stepping Up go on to further training with National Youth Theatre, through our membership, Playing Up and creative leadship courses. Graduates have also gone on to work professional with our charity and other leading creative industry organisations and here are some of their stories. 

Before Stepping Up Ryan was not in work or education, since he has since gone to gain employment with National Youth Theatre as a Venue & Buildings Assistant, perform at the Royal Court Theatre in NYT’s Big Weekender and is currently working towards a Level 3 Diploma. Ryan said: “Thank you for all the support and kindness you have given and all the positive vibes and energy”

Before Stepping Up Yiga was working as a musician, she is now a cultural leader for Peckham Theatre with a musical career going from strength to strength including being played on BBC Radio 1. Yiga said: “Thank you so much for everything. I have learnt so much and feel so confident about the future. I’ve felt so supported and happy and could not have asked for better leaders.”

Before Stepping Up Lisa was not in work or education, they are now in employment. “ I remember walking in on the first day I was sooo nervous. The course has sparked a genuine passion in leadership for me….I’ve never felt so at home. …I don’t know where I’d be without Stepping Up”

Before joining Stepping Up Yssy was not in work, they are now applying for University. “Thank you so much for an incredible three months. We are all so grateful for the support, love and friendship you have brought to this course. Thank you for believing in me and giving me this opportunity. You have taught me so much about the world of theatre but also myself as a person.”