As part of a plan of expansion for our Apprenticeship programme, the RSC Costume Department has welcomed two new members of staff, who are learning while earning.

Apprentices at the RSC_ November 2023_Photo by Sara Beamount _c_ RSC_363057
Costume Apprentice Jessie creating garments for stage in our workshop
Photo by Sara Beaumont © RSC Browse and license our images

Our world-renowned Costume Department has welcomed two new apprentices into its workshops as part of a major expansion of our apprenticeship scheme.

The Apprentice Costume Maker and Apprentice Costume Accessories Maker roles last for two years and each work towards the successful completion of a Level 3 Garment Maker apprenticeship.

Read on to learn about our two new apprentices and their journeys into the world of work.

Jessie Humby, Apprentice Costume Maker

"I finished my A’Levels in the summer and I really wanted to do an apprenticeship as university didn’t really interest me. I just couldn't really see myself going. I'd been looking for ages for something like this in this industry and couldn't find anything and then came across this and applied and managed to get it. I’m really enjoying it so far.

I did Geography, Business and Textiles at A’Level. I've been doing textiles outside of school since I was in Year Five and it’s just my favourite subject. So I wanted to pursue that. 

Today I’m working on a mock-up corset for a fitting, which is happening tomorrow, and it'll be really nice to actually see it when it's all done, having gone through all the stages from the beginning of making it on the stands, to now having a finished one on an actual actor on stage.

Walking in on my first day and seeing the facilities and all the desks and how it's all laid out and everything going on was like: “Wow!”

Everybody's so chatty and always wanting to talk and so helpful when I don't really know what to do next or I'm a bit stuck on something. I can ask anyone and they're all really helpful. I've learned so much already from everybody in here who's so talented. I can't wait to keep learning more and having new skills.

I like being creative and always trying to find things that I can do, so I’d like to stay on this path of costume-making and develop that and see what the future brings really. I’m really happy."

Kay van-Wyk Apprentice Costume Accessories Maker

"I didn't really want to go to university and so an apprenticeship seemed like the right idea for me. At A’Level I did Classical Civilization, Textiles and Drama. A lot of the knowledge that I learned in those has come up while I've been here.

I work in Millinery, Jewelry, Costume Props, Armoury and Footwear. I learn skills and I make some things for shows, and it's really nice to know that things that I'm helping to make are going to live on with The RSC.

I like the routine of having a job, but I’m also really enjoying the balance between going to college and having to lay out my work and show my progress throughout the two years that I'm going to be here. I'm not very good with essays and I know you have to write essays at university and I can't concentrate for that long. So this a good mix. It's really nice to have a bit of both but also be able to work on things that are actually going to be used. I think that's the best thing about it.

I always have moments where I just think, wow, I'm getting paid for this, I’m actually getting paid to make things and go and watch dress rehearsals. It’s really cool, it is a great opportunity. 

From the first day, I felt a sense of community here, which was really nice. I’ve felt very welcomed by my colleagues and I really enjoy working with them on a daily basis. They’re lovely and we have great chats. We are like a little community here. It’s a really nice place to be able to start off my career journey.

I would like to keep on working in this industry and exploring the more creative side of it and with the specific apprenticeship that I have, I'm learning skills that aren't typically taught anywhere else. I think that's really exciting and it will open quite a few avenues for me."

Apprentices at the RSC_ November 2023_Photo by Sara Beamount _c_ RSC_363065
Photo by Sara Beaumont © RSC Browse and license our images

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