Cockpit Arts / The Prince’s Trust Creative Careers Programme

“The Cockpit Arts Creative Careers Programme is a best practice progression route for our clients who wish to establish self employment in crafts. It is proven to develop entrepreneurship and skill and to sustain the businesses beyond the initial support.”

– Mike Nelson, Programme Manager Enterprise & Awards, The Prince’s Trust

Launched in 2010, our Creative Careers programme now runs annually, in partnership with The Prince’s Trust, as a gateway to a professional career in craft and design. Participants are integrated into Cockpit Arts’ professional working environment, while craft mentors provide aspirational role models.


The programme has now entered its fourth year. Four previously unemployed young people are integrated into the Cockpit business incubator and mentored by established Cockpit Alumni to develop their design and craft skills, with the aim of fast tracking their progression to self-employment. This year’s cohort includes Jenny Espirito Santo (textiles); Marion Labbez (architectural glass) and Egle Vaituleviciute (knitwear).

Supported by:

goldsmiths_company Santander Foundation


Year 4 cohort included Sarah Marafie (jewellery), Chloe Owens (textiles and ceramics), Zoe Powell (textiles) and Mary Zreik (fashion and textiles).  The young people are being supported by The Drapers’ Charitable Fund for a further year towards sustainable self-employment.


In 2012/13 the Year 3 cohort comprised Libby McMullin (cards), Natasha Nelson (hand made cards); Charlene Grandison (leather bags and accessories) and Crystal Griffiths (dolls).  Natasha, Charlene and Crystal have been awarded a further year’s support by The Worshipful Company of Drapers.

Read their success stories here….

Natasha Nelson

Natasha Nelson’s business idea was born while helping to organise special events for her family and friends. She realised she had a flare for making bespoke stationery and favours and started to create personalised handmade cards.
Case Study ›

Charlene Grandison

C Grand London is a big, bright, bold fashion brand specializing in unique leather accessories. The label is the brainchild of Charlene Grandison, the daughter of a dressmaker who says she has always been “fascinated and inspired by the principles of dressmaking”. She graduated from Middlesex University in 2007 with a BA in Applied Arts with the dream of launching her own conceptual British fashion label.
Case Study ›

Crystal Griffiths

Cashaloola is a range of quirky soft sculptural animals each with its own distinct personality. Finished to the highest quality by their creator Crystal Griffiths, these limited edition ‘dolls’ are currently strutting their hand-embroidered stuff in the window of Susannah Hunter, a luxury leather handbag boutique in Bloomsbury, London. Case Study ›


Participants in 2011/12 included jeweller Lenique Louis, leather designer Johnette Taylor, and bridal headdress designer Stacey Dee Robertson.

Says Lenique Louis: ‘Since I have been at Cockpit Arts I have become more professional, organised and serious about where I want to take my business in the next few years. My self-confidence and business have gone from strength to strength.’  Read their success stories here…

Lenique LouisLenique Louis

Like gorgeous chunks of gold-encrusted coral, Lenique Louis’ rings have become sought-after statement pieces that sell in London and New York. Yet just three years ago, their creator Lenique was struggling to find work.
Case Study ›

Johnette Taylor

Johnette Taylor creates leather accessories that offer old-fashioned quality with a modern twist. Under her brand name nette’, Johnette has created leather goods that not only look good, but are also functional: bags for cyclists, ipad and camera cases and laptop carriers.
Case Study ›

Stacey Robertson

Scottish designer Stacey Robertson makes bespoke and ready-to-wear bridal headdresses. Each piece is carefully hand crafted using materials such as embroidered lace, beading, feathers and vintage finds to give a unique look.
Case Study ›

Cockpit Arts Radcliffe Craft Award

Radcliffe Trust Logo 2013Creative Careers participants are eligible to apply for the Cockpit Arts Radcliffe Craft Award, supported by the Radcliffe Trust. This award has a focus on craft skill development and provides a further spring board to business success – providing studio space and support within a Cockpit Arts incubator for a year. Winners of the Radcliffe Award in 2013 are Crystal Griffiths and Natasha Nelson.


In 2013/14 our Creative Careers programme is generously supported by

The Worshipful Company of Drapers

Newby Trust
The Newby Trust

goldsmiths_companyThe Goldsmiths’ Company

The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation 

goldsmiths_company Santander Foundation

In 2011/2012 it was supported by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Camden Recycling Ltd.

In 2010/2011 Creative Careers was funded by the 2012 Cultural Skills Fund.

Future Plans

Long term our aim is for Cockpit Arts to become self sustainable organisation, generating a surplus in order to cover the cost of further similar programmes in the future; however funding is needed to support the Creative Careers programme in future years. If you would be interested to partner with us on the programme in order to help broaden access to our activities please contact Vanessa Swann, Chief Executive, on 020 7419 1962 for an informal discussion.

Find out more