Academy launched to help access the music industry

10/07/13

Alenah Dacosta and Vanessa Browne

A new virtual academy has been launched to help young people get a job in the music industry.

The UK Music Skills Academy will offer the chance to gain experience in all parts of the business.

Hundreds of young people will be able to apply for apprenticeships at record labels, recording studios and management groups.

Universal, Sony and independent labels, including Adele's musical home Beggars Group, are all involved.

It's now about giving people some proper structured mentoring, guiding them to courses that will make them more employable
Paul Latham
Patron of UK Music Skills Academy and chief operating officer of Live Nation

Alenah Dacosta, 20 and from east London, says she has always wanted to work in the music industry.

She says unless she can get on an apprenticeship, she doesn't know how she can get the job she wants.

"I think it's really hard," she explains. "Before I found out about this apprenticeship I did send out a lot of applications.

"It's really hard to get in contact with anyone who will reply to you, not knowing who you are."

Vanessa Browne, 26 and from Belfast, has just got on a paid internship at a company called Urban Development.

"It's hard gaining experience being a graduate when you don't have the money to support yourself," she says.

"These things are important for people wanting to get their foot in the door.

"You fund yourself through uni, then graduate, then they say, 'You need experience' then a lot of places want you to do full-time internship for just expenses, it's impossible."

Right skills

Paul Latham is patron of the academy and also the chief operating officer of Live Nation, the company that run festivals such as Reading and Leeds.

He says: "It's about giving students the right skills to make them more employable.

"As one of the biggest employers in the country I was always bamboozled by the number of degrees that really have no relevance to anything we were doing.

"It's now about giving people some proper structured mentoring, guiding them to courses that will make them more employable.

"[It's] actually giving them proper paid work experience with the people who are the proper practioners, whatever the job is."

Andy Heath is chairman of UK Music and also the director of the independent label Beggars Group.

He says: "If we can actually engage with colleges and universities to produce the kind of graduates the industry require, then get the industry to focus on what they require, that's a hugely positive step."

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