From Trainee to Host Employer

From Trainee to Host Employer

From Trainee to Host Employer

The ArtsReady program assists employers in the arts and creative industries to engage young Australians in traineeships.

Having gone through the program as an ArtsReady trainee, James Handsaker knows the benefits of the program to employers and the young person trying to break into the arts, cultural and creative industries.

James completed a traineeship at the Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP) and is now working at NIDA (the National Institute of Dramatic Arts), supervising his own trainee.

“It’s really great to be in a position where I can return the favour and give another young person an opportunity to get a career start,” said James.

“I really wanted to bring someone in who was going to be excited about their own development.

Andrea is exactly that, she is enthusiastic, and passionate and just loves learning.

With the traineeship program you are guaranteed to get someone like this, someone who is eager to learn,” he added.

James believes that one of the key benefits of the program is that the young person is able to explore different areas of the industry which gives them an idea of what their future role might look like.

“In my traineeship, I really got to see all aspects of the arts, and how they come together.

I got in involved in lots of different types of work, I was learning about finance, getting a sense of marketing and learning some of the production side of things. It gave me a really good breath of experience that allowed me to figure out what I might be interested in and lead me to working in the role I am in today.”

He also believes the networks he made through his traineeship were vital in helping him to advance his career in the arts.

“It was someone from ATYP that lead me to the job at NIDA and the person who interviewed me at NIDA was friends with someone at ATYP and therefore put a good word in for me.

My traineeship made me realise how much of a strong relationship you build with your colleagues and the networks in the industry and just how important they would become in your life and it’s something I really encourage Andrea to do, to network as much as she can.”

Andrea is working as a Reception and Administration Assistant at NIDA while completing a Certificate IV in Business. She started her traineeship before Christmas and is thriving in her role.

James hopes to one day employ more trainees and continue giving young people an opportunity to get experience in the industry.

“There is just so much breath of what you can do in the arts. It’s not just the people who are on screen, or on stage. There are so many people involved in the arts and they all have crucial roles. Letting people know this is important and a traineeship really achieves this.”


This article is part of a series to highlight the real stories of young people who chose a Traineeship as their career pathway.

The ‘Careers are made through Traineeships’ article series features AFL SportsReady alumni demonstrating ‘where they ended up’ post Traineeship.

​To find out more about our Traineeship program and the opportunities it can lead to, click here.
James was a guest speaker at our ‘YOUR CREATIVE FUTURE’ webinar as part of our, ‘How did you get that dream job’ webinar series. Click here to watch to a recording of that webinar now.


Date: 22nd of March 2021

Image: James Handsaker

Author: Marissa Pagliarello