Young Associates Programme

In response to Covid-19, the Young Associates Programme is currently being delivered online via a variety of remote-learning platforms and tools.

Programme overview

In September 2019 we launched a free, year-long Art and Design programme in Margate, open to young people aged 16-18. The Young Associates Programme (YAP) is for young people across East Kent who show talent and/or interest in creative activities, want to consider art and design as a possible future or wish to gain transferable skills.

The YAP is a place to develop life skills, confidence, knowledge and technical skills in art and design forms including: graphic design, music production, printmaking, sculpture, film and photography, fashion, and furniture design. While on the programme the Young Associates interact with world class artists, designers and industry professionals, and get regular opportunities to showcase their work and develop creative projects in and around Margate. Throughout the year we also organise visits to local and national galleries, museums, theatres and offsite art-making spaces.

How does the Young Associates Programme work?

The Young Associates Programme runs three days a week (Tuesday to Thursday, 10am to 4pm) from September to July, from our home at 39 Hawley Square, Margate.

The programme is assessed through creative assignments, one-to-one tutorials, group work and self-evaluation. In addition to achieving Functional Skills in maths and English, the Young Associates build individual art and design portfolios that support entry into further education and the workplace.

Before lockdown, the Young Associates received breakfast each day, including bread generously donated by Modern Provider and served by the Hot Meals Now Canteen on the ground floor of the Margate Adult Education Centre.

Highlights of the 2019-2020 programme include:

  • Designing, building and decorating furniture, using natural and indigo dyeing processes;
  • Filming on location in Blean Woods and Canterbury city centre;
  • Developing Photoshop skills at University of the Creative Arts;
  • Producing a collection of t-shirts for the POW 2020 Festival;
  • Creating costumes and choreographing a catwalk show;
  • Learning a range of printmaking skills at Well Projects;
  • Creating sound pieces for collaborative sculpture entries to the Turner Contemporary Portfolio Competition;
  • Planning a student-led excursion to London;
  • Attending a performance and meeting the cast and crew of Brigitte Aphrodite’s Parakeet;
  • Taking part in the ARTiculation public speaking event at Turner Contemporary.

Who teaches on the Programme?

We have a small and dedicated team of experienced teachers and support staff who work to ensure the environment is welcoming and informal, offering a personalised approach to student learning. The team is composed of Elissa Cray – Head of the Young Associates Programme, Mark Burrell – Creative Careers Tutor, Carla Knight – Design Tutor, Laura Own – Creative Tutor and Ally Johnstone – Counsellor.

The Art and Design modules are taught by artist Nicolas Deshayes, fashion director Cynthia Lawrence-John, graphic design studio Kellenberger–White, textile designer and printmaker Yemi Awosile, designers and makers Adam Willis and James Binning (of the architecture collective Assemble), artist and musician Dan Scott, and artist and filmmaker Adam Chodzko.

Entry requirements and how to apply

We are now accepting applications for the Programme starting in September 2021. 

We are keen to hear from those with an interest in the creative arts who are looking for a more alternative and supportive approach to education. Entry requirements are flexible so please get in touch if you want to find out more.

The process for applying is simple and straightforward.

  1. Arranging a conversation in person between the applicant and the Head of the Programme (at present, over the phone or video conference);
  2. With our support, submitting a short written application with examples of artworks or creative projects;
  3. Invitation to attend a taster workshop;
  4. The applicant and their parent or carer meet with the Head of the Programme to discuss enrolment and individual needs.

For further details contact, Elissa Cray, Head of the Young Associates Programme: or call on: 07511 159 644.

What do people say about the Young Associates Programme?

YAP is a place where you can freely express yourself with art and be comfortable with what you do.

Chloe, 2019–20 Young Associate

Our son attends the OSE Young Associates Programme and is loving it. He has always loved art and music, and the programme allows him to explore and expand his knowledge and skills in a comfortable and safe environment. Being on the programme has increased his confidence and he is making friends, doing something he loves, while learning new skills. The Young Associates Programme has given him purpose and he feels he is moving forward and preparing his future life in a working environment.

Jean Doncaster, parent