creativeopportunityprogramme | A FOOT IN THE DOOR – LILA B
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Lila B tells us about her experience on the 2017 Creative Opportunity Programme this summer and how she landed her first job in the cultural sector. 

“I went into the Creative Opportunity Programme without any major expectations. I had recently graduated from university and spent a lot of the summer applying for full-time jobs, which was really unfamiliar territory for me having been in education for such a long time, and honestly quite a disheartening experience – so when I heard about the programme I was keen to get involved, and hoped to get some guidance on the whole process of applying for jobs within the arts sector. I went along to the recruitment day at A New Direction’s office to find out whether I was a good fit for the programme, and was really excited to find out a week later that I’d been given a place.

Looking back over the programme now, and having been in my job for nearly six weeks, I can confidently say that the Creative Opportunity Programme was an amazing experience that really helped to give me the extra push I needed to get me where I wanted to go. It was great to be surrounded by like-minded creative people from east London and led by an inspiring team, and I felt that the atmosphere was always very supportive and motivating. We had the opportunity to visit leading arts organisations around east London and further afield and were able to build important skills through workshops and Q+A sessions with industry professionals.

For me, the most helpful parts of the programme were the one-to-one sessions about CVs and cover letters with the LLDC and A New Direction, and interview preparation with Viv and Freya. The role of Office Assistant at Spitalfields Music was pitched to us at the beginning of the week, and despite going into the programme thinking I was only interested in applying for STEP, I knew straight away that this was the job I wanted and was passionate about. I completely rewrote my application for the job about three times after receiving feedback after every change, and spent a panicked Wednesday and Thursday doing mock interviews with Viv and Freya, but it was definitely worth it, and I feel that their suggestions and support played a big part in me being offered the job.

I have now been working for an organisation I’m passionate about and learning new skills for nearly six weeks. I strongly believe that the difference between me getting a job after going on the Creative Opportunity Programme, and being rejected from similar jobs before, was the extra guidance I received on the course. There was nothing different about me in terms of who I was or what I had achieved, but the programme taught me how to give myself the best possible chance in the application process and what employers are really looking for. I have come out of the programme with the job I really wanted, massively improved interview and application-writing skills, more confidence in myself, and great friends and mentors who have continued to support me.”

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