Plymouth College of Art secured funding through RIO to deliver Gold Award training to up to 20 young people. Having delivered a highly successful European Funded NEETs project, Plymouth College of Art had an extensive evidence base to demonstrate a need for arts based engagement activities. We had found that most of the funding streams only support young people with basic qualifications and do not offer level 3 programmes or specialist provision. We also found from experience that learning in informal settings was only possible at a basic level and formal learning settings were not always appropriate for some groups.
The Gold Award was designed to work with two groups of young people; Saturday Arts Club students and NEETs progression students. The Saturday Arts Club students have been attending Saturday sessions for an academic year and the Gold Award was a means of recognising their skills and achievements. With arts disappearing from many school curriculums this offered an opportunity to engage in the arts and receive a formal qualification.
The NEETs progression cohort was a very different group of learners. In most instances, they had been through Bronze and Silver Arts Award training, but were not quite ready to take the step into formal education. The Gold Award served as a bridging course from one academic year to the next to allow them to build a portfolio of work that would see them settle well into full time, formal learning. By delivering the training during the summer period it was an opportunity to bring the cohort into the college in a non-threatening way before starting full time sessions.
In total 22 young people successfully completed the Gold Award.
The method of delivery and application to specific groups has been invaluable and is currently shaping future delivery. The college is exploring ways in which this could become a core offer as an addition to the Saturday Arts Club and as part of the outreach work we undertake.