Young Associates Programme

three people look at camera equipment in the woods on a workshop

Programme overview

A free programme for young people living in East Kent, ensuring they are part of growing arts ecology in Margate. OSE will work with young people and partner with organisations that reflect and enhance this work and approach. YAP adapts yearly responding to current access issues that young people face in the cultural sector and we are currently developing the next programme that sees Associates and Young Associates work closer together through mentoring, co-learning and collaborative works and commissions. It is an innovative, alternative approach to arts education with an emphasis on developing essential creative and employability skills. The programme encourages the development of a sustainable career in the arts and creative industries by offering young people direct experience working with leading international arts and creative practitioners and professionals to develop their own arts practice and projects. Young Associates will have exciting opportunities to work on curatorial projects, live briefs, attend specialist skills-building masterclasses, and mentorship as well as developing their own programmes.

Through participating in the Young Associates programme students will have the opportunity to gain experience, network and create projects with organisations both locally and nationally. We aim to ensure that young people can thrive within the growing arts and creative sector here in Thanet. 

Course details

Entry to the programme is taken on individual merit rather than prior qualifications and functional skills in maths and English is offered for those that need it.  

As part of this programme, learners will gain:

  • Gold Arts Award, a level 3 certificate worth 16 UCAS points which gives recognition as a creative arts leader
  • Functional skills in Maths and English ( if required)
  • A portfolio of work
  • A mentor for guidance throughout the course
  • Development of digital, business and leadership skills
  • Workshops in marketing, fundraising and freelance career development
  • Valuable insight and knowledge into the arts and creative sector
  • Access and networks to arts and creative professionals and practitioners
  • Work experience with leading arts and cultural organisations locally, regionally and nationally
  • Skills and confidence from meaningful work experience to take the next step towards a future in the creative industries
  • An established support network through peers and alumni

Who are we?

Open School East is committed to making the arts a more open, diverse and accessible sector. We believe art must be part of everyday life and accessible to all, we know that young people need outlets for creativity to carve out a future for themselves.

Our team at Open School East are highly experienced in leading international arts and education programmes and have extensive experience in developing programmes; career pathways; creating opportunities with and for young people, etc. We aim to reduce barriers that young people can often face entering into the creative industries. 


Term one explores and develops core and technical skills in a range of art disciplines.  Partnered up with a relevant mentor, learners gain experience straight away producing work on high-profile projects in Thanet.  Term one also sees the start of the learners creating their own leadership project working towards a Gold Arts Award.

Term two focuses on developing specialist skills in workshops led by our esteemed  faculty of artists. Experience of working directly with artists, along with immersion days with galleries, art studios and industry experts will feed into completion of the Gold Arts Award, culminating in a public event.

Term three continues with our faculty-led workshops and partners individuals with relevant and meaningful work experience. Students continue developing their portfolios by working with industry and community organisations to create enriching work-based projects accumulating in a final end of year exhibition to showcase their talent and achievement.

Over the duration of the programme, learners will build an impressive portfolio and CV, participate in exhibitions, gain progression and career guidance for the next stage – whether that be university or a rewarding career in the arts.  Advancing maths, english and digital skills will be embedded for all learners with the opportunity to work towards gaining functional skills qualifications in maths and english, as required.


  • No fees 
  • Course running over two days a week,   10am – 4pm    Sept 2022 – Jun 2023
  • Main sessions take place at the OSE building  – 39 Hawley Square, Margate
  • Some sessions will take place at local and national galleries / organisations

Entry requirements:

  • A proven passion for making and creating
  • Commitment and drive to succeed
  • Aged 18-21 
  • Live in the Thanet area
  • School Leaver 

Qualifications:  We select people on individual merit. Please note that we do not accept applications from those that have already studied at University.

Please click the button below to complete a short form and register your interest.
You can contact Elissa Cray if your require further information: