National Apprenticeship Week – Our Experience

Black Country Touring currently has one apprentice, and one employee who has come from an apprenticeship scheme. Here are their words on their experiences and the impact of doing an apprenticeship.


Mathilde Petford – Admin and Communications Coordinator at BCT

I started working at BCT last November and it’s absolutely fantastic. After starting, I was told that one of the key reasons the job was offered to me was because I’d just been doing a creative apprenticeship with another theatre company.

I’m 23 next month, so it feels very satisfying to be out of education and in a full time position. I’ve gone round in circles, and some triangles, to get to this point. It certainly hasn’t been easy. I finished my A-levels, applied for university, took a gap year, applied for university again, went to study History in Nottingham, and then dropped out after the first year. At a loss, I went back to my old youth theatre in Wolverhampton just to re-join as a member. I told them I would be in the city again for at least another year – and so they offered me a 6-month paid Marketing Internship. I snapped it up, and two years later I’ve done a Level 3 NVQ in Digital Marketing and I’m working for Black Country Touring (with a few other jobs in-between).

I left University because it was just the wrong place and the wrong course for me. Until I was there, I’d always thought I was an academic person and would thrive in that environment – turns out I didn’t really know myself. An apprenticeship however, definitely has been the best career move I have made. It has allowed me to work in theatre; an industry I always wanted to work in but didn’t feel I ever could. I’ve now worked for three theatre companies; studied whilst working and will have a NVQ qualification by April – and I got paid for all of it. Now I feel equipped to pursue my desires to work in the arts, not just in marketing, but in any capacity I put my mind to.

When I was younger, I’d always thought you could only do apprenticeships in STEM subjects, whilst its true that these areas are still dominant in the apprenticeship market, there is growth in the creative sector. Its time to recognise the value of apprenticeships for both employees and arts organisations. Apprenticeships offer opportunities to people who may not normally get them, meaning it’s a fantastic way to bring in new talent and diversify the work force of the creative sector.


Donna Clarkson – Business Admin Apprentice

Since its National Apprentice Week I thought I would share my journey of my apprenticeship with Black Country Touring so far.

I started my apprenticeship in September 2017, and since then I have been working towards my Level 3 Business Administration BTEC.

So far I have gained so many skills and learned so many new things about the art industry and my job role. Furthermore, I have really enjoyed my apprenticeship, I have so much support from my colleagues and I have felt my confidence grow every step of the way.

I have worked with BCT before my apprenticeship, in high school I worked with BCT for a week for my work experience; and during my last year of sixth form I did one day a week with BCT. This has really helped ease the jump from school life to the professional workplace, since I’m somewhere that I’m familiar with as well as surrounded by people who know me and know what I am and am not capable of doing.

I’m so glad I started an apprenticeship, I know I wouldn’t feel as comfortable as I feel now if I had gone to university, I’ve always learned better through actually taking part in tasks and doing stuff rather than sitting behind a school desk and listening.