Awen Cultural Trust, the registered charity which runs the Met theatre and community events venue in Abertillery, is launching Awen Skills, a free programme of creative industry workplace training courses for adults and young people aged 16 years and older. The programme is being funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in partnership with Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council.

There are three courses on offer – Awen Tech, Write Now and From the Ground Up – each designed to provide participants with the practical skills and understanding needed to break into the rapidly growing creative industry, which currently contributes over £108 billion a year to the UK economy and supports over two million jobs. The training will take place during the evenings and weekends and no previous experience or knowledge is required.

‘Awen Tech’ starts in September and will provide hands-on experience of the industry-standard equipment needed to work behind-the-scenes on live events, stage performances and location-based productions. The course is split into modules including lighting, sound and stage management, each led by stagecraft professionals within a working theatre environment. The sessions will run every Monday evening at the Met, term-time only.

‘Write Now’ is aimed at anyone who has a story to tell, enjoys putting pen to paper as a hobby, or wants to elevate their writing to a professional level. The sessions will be ideal for novelists, poets, songwriters, playwrights or even those who want to develop their written communication skills for blogging, reports or job applications. The sessions will run every Wednesday evening at the Met from September, term-time only.

Valued at £104.4 billion, the food and drink industry is an important part of the theatre and events sector in the UK. The ‘From the Ground Up’ courses will begin later this year and will provide an introduction to the booming business of coffee with the essential skills and responsibilities for anyone interested in working as a professional barista or even thinking of setting up their own café, but with little or no previous experience.

Richard Hughes, Chief Executive of Awen Cultural Trust, said:

“We are grateful to the investment we have received from the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund, through our partner organisation Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, which will help us offer local people a whole host of community-based learning opportunities from the Met.

“We will support and empower the participants to make the most of their new transferable skills, whether they are looking for employment within the creative industries, turning a hobby into a career or even discovering a new passion for the performing arts within them.

“I am certain that the Awen Skills programme will make a positive contribution to the communities of Abertillery and Blaenau Gwent as a whole.”

Councillor Sue Edmunds, Blaenau Gwent Council’s Cabinet Member for People & Education added:

“We welcome this free programme of creative industry workplace training courses offered by Awen Cultural Trust, and the funding that has made it possible.

“As a Council, we are fully supportive and committed to the training and skills agenda here in Blaenau Gwent and recognise that traditional forms of learning do not necessarily suit all. We want to do all we can by working with a range of partners to make sure our young people are equipped with the skills and qualifications to give them the best possible chance of finding and maintaining meaningful employment in the future.

“It’s great that these courses are going to be available right on the doorstep of young people in our communities. It’s a fantastic opportunity which I hope will be taken full advantage of.”

Places on the Awen Skills programme will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a short online form on Awen’s website for participants to register their interest for any or all of the courses available: