Life is certainly throwing us some tricky curve balls lately! The Covid-19 pandemic catapulted a major spanner into the works both in terms of working life and the way we have had an enforced moment in time to re-evaluate our lives. Follow that time of devastation and grief with the cost-of-living crisis, and the upheaval of political and constitutional change, and you have the perfect storm of flux and readjustment.
For many, life has continued much as before, with perhaps a little more time spent in mindful occupation. For others, it has been an enormous wake-up call! It has been a valuable reminder that there is potential to change and to live a better life by recognising and embracing the arts and crafts skills that they have and the willingness of others to learn from them. Are you one of those people?
Do I need a qualification to be a craft tutor?
There are no mandatory qualifications required to teach arts & craft workshops in the UK, but it would be beneficial to have some experience or understanding of teaching methods and how people learn. People tend to learn in different ways and respond to a variety of teaching styles.
Although not legally necessary, there are lots of training courses that you can complete to help you gain teaching skills if you feel it would be worthwhile:
- City & Guilds have a number of Teaching and Learning qualifications that you can complete at Colleges and Training Centres across the UK
- Advance Training Academy runs a Level 3: Award in Education & Training (AET/PTLLS) Course. The course is an introduction to teaching that will give an insight into the roles, responsibilities and relationships in education and training, how to plan and deliver inclusive teaching sessions and how to assess and give constructive feedback.It is held at venues across the UK as well as online via distance learning or in a live virtual setting.
Potential students will expect you to have a high level of experience and expertise in your art or craft, so that you can provide a well-rounded course, answering any questions that arise, and leaving your students with the desire to learn more. The returning student is, after all, the greatest compliment an arts and crafts tutor can receive!
The number one factor that will convince students to book a course with you is previous students’ positive reviews. A well-run course with a professional, personable and knowledgeable tutor is the best way to get those five star reviews rolling in.
What is the market for learning arts & crafts?
We’ve been seeing rapid growth in the demand for creative workshops and in the past 12 months over 1.3 million people visited the Craft Courses website to browse for a creative workshop or course near them.
More than 140 years after William Morris encouraged us to “have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”, we seem to have taken this fully to heart. The Crafts Council attributed the maturing of the craft market in the UK to a number of wider trends likely to accelerate as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic – the rise of e-commerce, investment purchases over throwaway objects, and an interest in sustainability and supporting small businesses. In the decade to 2020, the numbers of Brits buying craft online has more than tripled!
There is also a recognition that people are inextricably linked to their phones and computers but crave activities where they use their hands; tapping seamlessly into the normalised behaviour where people share their creations on social media. Social media platforms are creating huge communities of crafters who are inspiring people to try out a craft for themselves, and popular TV shows such as The Great British Bake Off, The Great Pottery Throwdown, and the Great British Sewing Bee are encouraging more people than ever before to have a go at craft.
Venues: where to host my course or workshop
You could run your workshop from a dedicated studio or workshop, or you could host the class at a local school, college or community centre. Some tutors are willing to travel to events or private homes.
You will need to bear in mind how many people will be attending the workshop, what you will be teaching them and how much space and equipment will be required.
Lighting is very important when you are teaching craft work and you’ll need to make sure there are toilet facilities and access to refreshments.
You should also consider parking, public transport and disabled access too.
We publish the details of many creative workshop venues available for hire/rent across the UK.
Pricing: what should I charge for my workshop?
A good starting point is to check out what other people are charging for similar courses in your area on CraftCourses.
You will need to work out how much you need to spend on hiring a venue, or the running costs for a home studio, supplying equipment and marketing and then factor in your hourly rate for planning, teaching, and sourcing materials. You also need to consider how many people you can comfortably teach and then the cost of added extras such as supplying refreshments. Homemade cakes and biscuits are usually a huge hit but always check for dietary requirements and consider if you can reasonably accommodate them.
Rates per student per hour vary considerably due to many factors including, the topic taught, the cost of materials and refreshments, venue costs, energy costs and others particular to your art or craft. Market research and experience will help you to decide your rates. It is not advisable to undercut your closest competitors. Rather, it is better to ensure the product you are providing is second-to-none and priced accordingly.
Marketing: how do I tell people about my creative workshops?
- You can list your workshop on Craft Courses with no registration fee or monthly subscription. Think of as many keywords as you can related to your course and include as many as possible. This will help your course to be more visible on internet searches.
- Good quality photographs are absolutely essential.There is no limit on the number of images per listing, but we recommend a selection of about 10 for optimal browsing. Photographs should be clear, in focus, and vibrant. Make sure the main subject of the picture is well-centred and include in your selection the items being made, a workshop in progress, and your studio space. Try and tell a story with your images so arrange them in an order that takes the browser through in a logical way. When using images with students, make sure you have the students’ permission to include them.
- Utilise social media – set up Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and/or Pinterest pages to promote your workshop on community and craft groups. Ask your friends to share details of your workshop with their contacts.
- A ‘Google My Business’ page is free to set up. You can describe your business, add photographs and your contact details. This will improve your visibility on Google too.
- Print flyers and posters and distribute to local schools and colleges, art and craft shops, libraries and craft fairs – think about where your target audience spend their time. Make sure you include full details of the course, your experience, and your Call to Action.
- Your Call to Action is making sure people know how to book a place on your course. If you have registered as a tutor with CraftCourses, you will tell people how to find your course on CraftCourses.com
- Create a mailing list and make sure you let these people know about your new course or workshop. Anyone that comes to your course should be added to your mailing list (with their permission – find out more about GDPR)!
- Consider creating a short video to give people a flavour of what they’ll be learning (go to youtube.co.uk and enter ‘craft workshop’ in the search box for examples of other arts and crafts tutors doing this).
- Set up a website making sure it’s optimised so that Google and other search engines can find you. We already know that people are looking for craft courses so make it easy for them to find you.
Legalities: insurance, health and safety, copyright & design protection, terms & conditions
An arts and crafts tutor may require a number of insurance policies, including:
- Public liability insurance, which covers arts and crafts tutors against claims from students and members of the public injured or adversely affected as a result of their activities.
- Employers' liability insurance, which is mandatory as soon as you become an employer.
- General insurance cover, which will be needed to cover the tutor's premises, equipment and supplies against accidental damage, fire, flood, theft, and any business interruption arising as a result.
- Cover for use of any vehicles for business purposes, which must include a minimum of third-party cover. Cover can also be obtained for supplies and equipment stored in the vehicle. Specialist insurance for arts and crafts tutors is available from insurers such as Craft Insurance.
- The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 stipulates that, implicit within any contract for services, they must be carried out with reasonable skill and care, within a reasonable time, and at a reasonable charge.
Health and Safety
Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, all employers, including self-employed people, are legally required to assess risks in their workplace, including rented workspace, and provide health and safety training for employees such as workshop assistants. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) publishes guidance about carrying out a risk assessment.
Arts and crafts workshop tutors and their students may come into contact with potentially harmful materials, including lead, ink, paint and adhesives. Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH), they must have health and safety measures in place to protect themselves, any employees and students from hazards arising from exposure to these substances. A guide to the Regulations can be found here.
Inks, paints and adhesives must be stored properly to comply with health and safety regulations; this includes keeping the storage area well ventilated, storing certain materials separately from other equipment and supplies and placing heavy containers on lower shelves.
Tutors are responsible for any students or employees injured in their workplace or rented workspace. The HSE recommends that as best practice the first aid requirements of non-employees such as students should also be included in risk assessments.
You may want to consider doing a First Aid course but, at the very least, remember to keep a well-stocked first aid kit to hand at your studio or workshop in case of small injuries!
Working with children
Arts and crafts tutors who run classes for children or vulnerable adults should obtain a DBS check (formerly known as a Criminal Records Bureau or CRB check).
Copyright and design protection
Craftspeople and artists are more aware than most of the importance of copyright; anyone planning on using arts or crafts designs, images or training materials, must ensure that they have permission from the copyright holder.
You must always get permission to use your students’ images to promote your workshops. 'Courses in progress' shots can be a valuable asset and you should include in your Terms of Service (see below) a section covering photographs taken during a workshop and informing students that images may be used in promotional material with their permission. You should also remind students of this at the commencement of the workshop so that they have an opportunity to decline.
Under the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988, original works of 'artistic craftsmanship' are protected by law. Tutors must also ensure that they avoid infringing other craft makers' intellectual property rights.
Terms and conditions (the 'Ts and Cs’)
Terms and conditions (the 'Ts and Cs’)
It is best practice for arts and crafts workshop tutors to write up a terms and conditions (Terms of Service) agreement which is shared with students via email prior to a course. These serve to usefully protect both student and tutor in the event of a misunderstanding or complaint. This should typically include:
- Pricing and payment details.
- The time and venue of sessions.
- Any materials or supplies that are included in the price.
- Cancellation policy.
- Refund policy.
- Use of digital imagery.
Useful research relating to Arts & wellbeing
In 2017 the All Party Parliamentary group for Arts, Health and Wellbeing published an inquiry report called: Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing which stated that;
“arts-based approaches can help people to stay well, recover faster, manage long term conditions and experience a better quality of life… arts interventions can save money.”
Detailed in the report, an Arts on Prescription study found that two hours per week of Creative Arts such as drawing, mosaic or pottery sessions resulted in a 37% reduction in demand for GP appointments and a 27% drop in hospital admissions after 6 months.
Research done by AGE UK found that creative and cultural participation is the top-most contributor to wellbeing in older age.
The Crafts Council have lots of resources on their website about research carried out on the Craft Economy.
Are you ready to take the plunge?
We hope this handy guide has given you a few pointers and is a good place to begin your research into becoming an Arts & Crafts Tutor. Please bear in mind that, as a starting point, this blog is designed as a guide only. You will need to double-check relevant legislation as they can change and be updated at any time.
Professional legal advice about the possible impact of legislation should always be obtained before making any business decisions.
Good luck and feel free to Contact us for a friendly chat!