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Arts employment success

Arts employment success

More than 1,200 beneficiaries have found work with help from the Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment (PACE) programme since it began in November 2001.

The PACE scheme was developed from a Labour party 1999 manifesto commitment to assist job seekers to develop a career in the arts and creative industries. It enables job seekers registered with Work and Income to identify the creative industries as their first career choice and to include training and other programmes in personalised Job Seeker Agreements that support this career objective. The scheme builds partnerships with local arts organisations to support job seekers and to help case managers identify employment opportunities in the creative sector.

Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey and Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Judith Tizard said after a period of initial development the PACE scheme has settled in and is achieving good employment outcomes.

“Since the PACE scheme was established 1,230 job seekers have used it to find work. The vast majority (77%) have found long-term employment.

“The scheme is now operating in all 13 Work and Income regions and, as is to be expected, is most successful in those parts of New Zealand where there are strong creative sectors. For example 375 job seekers using PACE have found work in central Auckland, with just under half (181) moving in to employment in creative industries.

“At present 2,127 job seekers are using the PACE scheme. We are now looking at how we can improve support offered to job seekers using PACE. This will include sharing good examples around the regions and investigating a national forum for specialist case managers and arts organisations to develop networks and a national best practice model,” Steve Maharey said.

Judith Tizard said employment in the creative sector is growing strongly.

“Industry New Zealand research tells us that job growth in the creative sector is running at 3.5 percent a year. More than 50,000 New Zealanders already work in the sector, along with many ancillary and support positions. PACE is filling a real need by boosting the skills of those looking for work to take up an arts career.

“The creative sector has strongly welcomed PACE because it finally recognises that art is real work. For example aspirant crafts people (269), musicians (269), film and television production staff (207), actors (171), sculptors and painters (150) and graphic designers (144) are currently the largest groups who are being assisted to find work through the PACE scheme. Real career prospects exist for skilled people in all of these areas.

“In addition one of the strengths of the PACE scheme is that it exposes aspiring artists to the realities of full time employment in the creative sector. Being a full time arts worker is not easy and will not suit all those who aspire to an artistic career.

“Arts work is often project-based, you have to constantly look for new opportunities and you need good financial management and marketing skills. Of the 1,230 job seekers who moved in to work after using PACE, a little over a third (436) found work in the creative sector while the remaining group have decided to pursue other career options (794),” Judith Tizard said.

The Ministers also acknowledged the great partnerships that have developed within Work and Income and the creative sector through agencies and organisations such as Creative New Zealand, The Higher Trust in Dunedin, Standing Ovation in Wellington, the Arts Work Project in Auckland and the increasingly popular on-line resource, The Big Idea (http://

“As of this week, The Big Idea has uploaded 850 employment listings on its site since it began in December 2001. Many of those listings are for multiple employees and the jobs range right across the creative sector,” said Judith Tizard. “This proves that opportunities for employment in the creative industries exist and PACE is an important tool in helping creative professionals to take advantage of those opportunities.”

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