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Six actors dressed in business attire in Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama’s ‘Machinal’. Photo by Mark Douet

Professional Development Programmes

The Business / Arts Skills Exchange

The key asset of any organisation it its staff.

The Professional Development Programmes (PDP) bring vital business advice and experience to the arts in ways that enhance the skills of both sectors.

This expert guidance not only has considerable impact on the organisations involved but also makes a significant contribution to developing individual arts managers. The enthusiasm and fresh viewpoint of business volunteers has often acted as the catalyst for dynamic change in arts organisations.

For business’ staff, the programmes provide unique opportunities for gaining confidence, enhancing coaching skills and contributing effectively to the community. By transferring their particular skills in a new and creative environment, individuals feed back into their workplace fresh ideas, better motivation and a wider perspective.

There are five strands to the programmes:

Skills Bank gives business managers the opportunity to extend their coaching and problem-solving skills by undertaking short-term, part-time placements with arts managers, helping in a specific area such as strategic development, marketing or IT.

Mentor Bank gives senior business executives the opportunity to enhance their coaching and management skills by offering support to senior arts managers. Focusing on the development needs of the individual, the mentor acts as an invaluable sounding board and confidence-giver.

Board Bank enables business managers to extend their horizons while making an effective contribution to arts organisations by becoming non-executive directors and trustees. Business knowledge and experience can make a major impact on an arts organisation’s Board, helping to ensure the long-term health of the creative sector.

Diversity in Governance It is widely acknowledged by individuals working in the sector that the management and governance in the arts in Wales does not reflect the vibrant nature of its communities. As part of a strategy to tackle this, A&B Cymru is actively seeking professionals from Black, Asian and Ethnically Diverse backgrounds, as well as those who are Disabled, D/deaf and / or Neurodiverse, who are interested in joining arts Boards in order to influence organisational decision making.

Young Professionals on Boards places business leaders of the future, aged between 21 and 35, on the Boards of vibrant cultural organisations. Participants contribute their skills, energy and expertise. In return, they gain the distinction of sitting on a cultural Board, the knowledge they are giving something valuable back to the community and a creative route to professional development.

Ensuring Success

When matching individuals, major consideration is given to the personalities involved. The development needs of the business adviser are as important as the knowledge they can bring to an arts organisation.

To ensure the success of placements, A&B Cymru provides in-depth support throughout – from the initial interview and training to monitoring and thorough evaluation.

Image: Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama


Find out more about the Professional Development Programmes by reading our Case Studies here

Want to apply to take part?

To apply to take part in the Professional Development Programmes, please complete this contact form.

    Find out more about the Professional Development Programmes by reading our Case Studies here.

    Read our Case Studies here