How can a building make you smile?Reimagining and redeveloping The Courts Imagine a place where a young person’s background, race, beliefs, gender, physical ability and economic status had nothing to do with how good they could be, what they could achieve. A space where they could fully explore their creative potential, receive support and mentoring, and find meaningful work. That place is the Old Bristol Magistrates Courts (The Courts). An enterprise centre to help young people set up their own creative businesses and develop their opportunities. A place where there are no barriers to their future, where the only things that count are their abilities and talents. Thanks to the The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Bristol City Council we are developing detailed business and architectural plans to reimagine and redevelop this historic city landmark as a place that will complement Bristol’s renowned and growing creative industries sector. To get involved and keep up to date with our progress, sign up to our newsletter. The Problem with Creativity The Creative Surplus UK creative industries are a true success story. They are growing at twice the rate of the UK economy, while employment in the sector grows at four times the rate of the national workforce. Creative industries form a key sector of UK industry, generating around £92 billion per annum and contributing more than 5% of the UK economy (DCMS, 2017). Taken as a whole, the creative industries employ about 15,900 people in the Bristol and Bath area. The region’s creatives are estimated to be 50% more productive than the UK average and productivity in creative businesses across Bristol and Bath has increased by 106% since 1999. The Creative Deficit All those positive statistics mask stark reminders about how inequality and other disadvantages are stopping many very able young people from entering the creative industries. White people hold 88% of the jobs and only 11% are occupied by BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) people. Men dominate the sector holding 63% of the jobs. In the gaming industry, a creative field in which the UK excels, 86% of jobs are held by men, 96% by white people. It is also significantly difficult if a young person comes from state education. Since 2010, there has been a 28% drop in the number of students taking creative GCSEs, with a corresponding drop in the number of specialist arts teachers. Our Solution The Courts will throw open the doors to creativity through an open, enabling and supportive environment for those talented but disadvantaged or marginalised young people seeking to enter the creative industries. Floor by floor plan Basement It is envisaged the basement level (the old cell block) will contain incubator space and enterprise workshops for young people. Our plan is to let this space on a short-term and quick-release basis for people looking to develop a business, or starting out as a young professional. Ground floor The ground floor currently has four courtrooms, one of which will be restored to its original condition and offered as a film, television and performance location. The remaining rooms will be developed into lettable spaces for multipurpose use. These will include space for Creative Youth Network services, for creative industries, youth participation work, performance, gallery exhibition and a bar/café.A public entry will ensure everyone, regardless of their physical ability, can use the same entrance. First, second & third floors The first, second and third floors will provide 1,115m² of high-quality office space let commercially and accommodating around 110 workers. These tenant organisations will share our organisational values and ethos for the building.A new lift will connect all four floors, again ensuring full access, while the old staircase will be retained as a heritage feature. We are also considering a green-roof across some of the open spaces covering the rooftop to complement the high-spec insulation, heating and cooling, and energy conservation measures planned to ensure The Courts has the lowest possible environmental impact. About us Blog Are apprenticeships as accessible as we think? For young people with multiple barriers to employment, are apprenticeships a viable option? At Creative Youth Network, we work with 15-25 year olds who are not in employment, education or training and experience multiple barriers. We have worked with 195 young people through our West of England Works partnership and we also provide support through our Job Club, where anyone under 25 can come to get support with their job search. Young people we work with experience multiple disadvantage: they might have disengaged from education, without a Maths or English qualification, they might have a precarious living situation or face homelessness, or could suffer from a disability, have suffered discrimination because they are from minority backgrounds, and the list continues. The needs of the young people we work with are complex and we always work to enable them to find the best opportunities. We have found many of them are interested in learning and developing their skills further, at the same time as earning a wage. Apprenticeships are very attractive, as they enable professional and skills development. This Apprenticeship Week 2019, we ask: Who is not benefiting from apprenticeships? One of the most common struggles of young people we work with is the pressure to support themselves. We work with a high percentage of care leavers, and the additional responsibility of covering their cost of living means they don't consider education as a viable option. This leads them to considering apprenticeships as more attractive. However, it's significantly more difficult for the young people we work with to gain an apprenticeship, compared to going to a college course or other employment. The market is increasingly competitive and the qualifications and the experience needed are hardly ever held by the young people we work with. Learning trades This is an issue especially in the construction industry, where it's much easier to take on 'cash in hand' payments for odd jobs rather than gain an apprenticeship. This means although young people get the short term benefits, they don't have employment rights and also don't gain the skills required for climbing the professional ladder. Our jobs are to make sure young people have a good grasp of the opportunities available to them and ensure they are balancing their long term ambitions with their short term needs. It's always disheartening to see a young person who is in supported accommodation and needs the money to pay their rent, bills and food, dismiss an opportunity which might benefit them much greater long-term, because they need to meet their basic needs. The benefits of apprenticeships As an employer ourselves, we are very proud of enabling young people to join us as apprentices. One of our first apprentices, Alex, has been with us since we were a small organisation putting on yearly gigs for young people in Kingswood. He's grown with us and is now our IT and Business Support Officer. We were also grateful to have Emma with us, initially as an apprentice and then working through Level 2 and Level 3 business administration to become our Estates assistant. We are part of Coach Core, employing two sports apprentices who work in our youth clubs, developing their skills and engaging other young people through sport. One of our apprentices on the scheme, Kayleigh, won Coach Core Apprentice of the Year and had the amazing opportunity to go to Twickenham to watch the England rugby team training and meet Prince Harry, the patron of the scheme. We do believe more support is needed for young people with multiple barriers to be able to benefit from apprenticeship opportunities. Our one to one support is truly a step in the right direction, but we'd like to hear from you. What do you think can be done better to open this type of opportunity to more young people? How can we help?