Upgrade Yourself - Creative Industry Placements Participants

Upgrade Yourself: Creative Industry Placements

Now in its fifth year, the Upgrade Yourself: Creative Industry Placements programme is open for 5 young people, ages 18 – 24 from underrepresented backgrounds to be part of a paid 1-year placement specifically designed to develop, nurture and grow emerging talent. This one-year professional programme will give participants an insight into how a creative business is run, from day-to-day management through to programming and operations.

For this year's programme, we are offering a two-phase (two x 6-months) placement for 4 participants within two arts organisations and a one phase (one x 12-months) placement for 1 participant on placement with Somerset House Studios.

Split over two 6-month phases, or one 12-month phase for the Studios Placement, participants will have hands on experience of working within two different arts organisations and have opportunities to connect with trailblazing creatives within Somerset House and our resident community.  

In addition to being an employee within a creative team, time on the programme will be dedicated to in-depth wraparound training, off-site trips, workshops and mentoring to support your personal and professional development and to facilitate connection with other young professionals. 

All placements take place at Somerset House and participants are paid the London Living Wage of £25,624 per annum.

Two placement places will be awarded to applicants living in one of the nine beneficiaries of John Lyon’s Charity: Barnet, Brent, Camden, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Kensington & Chelsea and the Cities of London and Westminster.

Here’s what previous placement participants have said about the programme:

‘I feel more confident in both my abilities and using those abilities in the workplace. I have gained knowledge and experience in a wide range of areas and disciplines which has massively grown my toolkit.’

‘Having been introduced to impactful organisations and people both within and outside Somerset House has really helped to form my experience working within the creative industry.’

‘Doing marketing and exhibitions really opened my eyes to different parts of a project. Making my mark on the projects has been invaluable.’


Each year, we work with variety of incredible creative companies as placement hosts. For this reason, each placement programme is unique.

This year, we’re excited to be working with these organisations with the following roles available: 

Phase 1:

Exhibitions (Somerset House Trust) - Exhibitions Administrator  

Greenspace - Studio and Communications Assistant  

Live Events (Somerset House Trust) - Production Assistant  

Mind the Film - Editing and Production Assistant 

Phase 2:  

Art Explora - Community Programme Assistant  

Everyone’s A Singer - Communications Assistant   

PR (Somerset House Trust) - Press Assistant  

Somerset House Trust Exchange (Somerset House Trust) - Exchange Community Host 

We are also hosting a 12-month placement with the Studios team at Somerset House Studios. You can find more information here:

Timeline for 2 phase placements:  

Monday 26 February 2024 - Participant applications launch  

Monday 18 March 2024 - Participant applications close  

Tuesday 16 April 2024 - Participant recruitment day  

Thursday 09 – Friday 10 May 2024 - Placement induction days  

Monday 13 May 2024 – PHASE 1 placement starts 

Monday 11 November 2024 – PHASE 2 placement starts 

Friday 9 May 2025 – Placement ends  


Being a Creative Industry Placement participant means taking on paid work with two different organisations, six months with each, over the course of one year. It means having the opportunity to be part of a team as well as to learn and develop skills from your colleagues, guest speakers, your peers and the wider Somerset House community.

Time spent on the programme will be divided as follows:

  • Two x paid 6-month placements (one x 12-month placement for Somerset House Studios Placements) 
  • Twelve monthly Prepare & Promote workshops, delivered by trailblazing industry professionals  
  • Three off-site trips to arts organisations who host other internships and placement programmes 
  • Monthly mentoring sessions  
  • End of placement Celebration Event curation

By taking part in the Upgrade Yourself Creative Industries Placements programme, you will be supported in developing a broad range of personal and professional skills including confidence in the workplace, administrative skills, working in a team, day-to-day office management and planning your next steps. As a participant, you will be able to contribute to the running of an arts organisation, bringing your own opinions and a fresh perspective. You’ll be paid the London Living Wage and have the opportunity to connect with other young people taking part in placement/internship programmes in other arts organisations.

The benefits of being a participant include pastoral care and professional support from Somerset House, mentoring and wrap around training.  You will also receive all employee benefits from Somerset House trust. These include: 

Discounts & Offers:

Discounts, offers and free stuff

  • The list is endless and includes tickets to Somerset House events and entrance to other London Heritage sites including free access to a number of other galleries and museums
  • Invitations to private Somerset House events
  • Discounts in Somerset House cafes and restaurants
  • Discount to local leisure centres
  • One-year membership to the Exchange co-working space 


  • Enhanced annual leave – 25 days plus bank holidays (pro rata)
  • Birthday leave - additional day leave on or within a week of your birthday
  • Festive day - additional discretionary day off around the Christmas period

The Upgrade Yourself Creative Industry Placements programme is for people aged between 18-24 who identify as belonging to a community that is underrepresented within the cultural sector* and who are interested in learning about creative industries through an entry level role in the arts. Please do not apply if this does not apply to you.

The Inclusive Talent Engagement Team values talent, potential and willingness over experience. We are interested in the challenges that young people face, their goals, and how we can help them to achieve them. We want to discover untapped talent and potential. The programme doesn’t require any pre-requisites, but an enthusiasm for the arts and willingness to learn is important.

*The Inclusive Talent Engagement team at Somerset House acknowledges that particular people are underrepresented in the British creative sector. Particularly those who are:

Ethnically diverse and/or Global majority  
Differently abled or Living with a disability 
Working class and/or from a lower socio-economic background* 
We also acknowledge the underrepresentation of those who self-identify as:   
LGBTQIA+ and/or non-binary 

We also acknowledge that people face barriers in many ways not mentioned above, and we are open to hearing from anyone who considers themselves to be underrepresented in the creative sector.

*Some questions that might help define lower socio-economic background: 
Were you on free school meals? 
Did your parents receive income benefits for a long period? 
Did your parents go to university?


Somerset House pay all of the participants the London Living Wage (£13.15 per hour = £25,624.50 per annum). Participants are paid monthly through the Somerset House payroll.


This is a full time, 12-month programme.


The Creative Industry Placements programme offers full-time work (37.5 hours) to all participants – this is broken down into five full working days a week (usually from Monday to Friday). This time is split between working in the offices at Somerset House (3 days) and working from home (2 days). 

Somerset House has worked with industry leading professional Dr Nicola Sim to produce a pioneering sector report, which uses the knowledge gained from two years of our Creative Industry Placements (formally Creative Careers and Upgrade Yourself: Kickstart) to offer insights into how we can move towards a more diverse and inclusive industry. 

The creative industry placements programme is generously supported by John Lyon’s Charity

John Lyons Logo

If you would like to know about Upgrade Yourself opportunities and to find out more about the work of the Inclusive Talent Engagement Team please subscribe to our mailing list for updates.