As a youth worker, you strive to support young people’s personal and social development, raise their aspirations and broaden their horizons for future education, training and careers. One way you can do all of this – and gain accreditation for your creative projects – is with Arts Award.
If you work or volunteer with young people and provide artistic, cultural or media activities, then Arts Award is for you. Across the UK it enriches young lives in after-school clubs, Scout and Guide troops, holiday schemes, young offender units, youth clubs, children's homes, charity projects, homeschool groups and more.
How does Arts Award work?
Arts Award combines the appeal of the arts with the motivation of a qualification. It’s youth-led and caters for all interests, backgrounds and abilities. Young people can achieve it through:
● performing arts e.g. drama, dance, music or circus skills
● visual arts e.g. painting, photography, fashion design or comic strip
● literary arts e.g. poetry, scriptwriting, creative writing or journalism
● digital arts e.g. film-making, video-game design, app creation or website design
● crafts e.g. weaving, woodturning, jewellery-making or ceramics
● support and technical roles e.g. lighting design, set design, sound engineering or arts marketing
You can use Arts Award to accredit your existing activities or structure new ones. It works with regular clubs as well as short-term activities like school-holiday schemes.
What’s in it for young people?
On their Arts Award journey, young people develop valuable 21st century skills including creativity, communication, problem-solving, leadership and teamwork. In independent research, half of participants reported tangible benefits such as getting a job, securing a college place or improved school performance.
‘Arts Award is full of opportunity, you will learn so much about your art form as well as others. It will get you places, you could meet great people and you can create amazing things.’
Georgie, Bronze Award achiever, neighborhood youth centre
For young people who feel disengaged from formal education, or who struggle with exams, Arts Award can provide a route to a Level 1, 2 or 3 qualification (take a look at our tips for using it in this way). You can even use it to accredit apprenticeships or volunteering placements. Created with accessibility in mind, Arts Award is also ideal for projects involving young people with additional needs.
Some youth groups use Arts Award to support social action projects involving young people helping others through fundraising, campaigning or volunteering. Check out our special resources to find out more.
What’s in it for youth workers and youth groups?
Offering Arts Award is a great way of developing partnerships with cultural organisations and professional artists. You might find there are other benefits for your group too – attracting new members, raising your profile in the community, or helping with funding applications.
As an Arts Award adviser you’ll gain training and transferable skills that could boost your CV and bring new opportunities. You don't need to be an arts specialist (find out about this and other misconceptions in our Myth Busters) what’s important is your experience of working with young people.
Running Arts Award is also hugely rewarding and a lot of fun!
‘Arts Award gives us the flexibility to work through young people’s strengths. It provides a framework and validation for young people that contributes hugely to the work we do.’
Simon Glenister, Director, Noise Solution
Download our Arts Award Youth and Community leaflet for more details.