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Further education programme TheWRD to kickstart young creative careers in music

Pre-degree diploma in Creative Entrepreneurship launched by The Ivors Academy.

A new wave of music education

The Ivors Academy is launching a new two-year diploma in Creative Entrepreneurship for students aged 19 years and over.

Backed by the biggest players in the music industry, TheWRD is a further education course offering young people the chance of building a career in this highly competitive industry, with the first intake starting in September 2022.

Following GCSEs, this new pre-degree diploma will be delivered through a combination of a ground-breaking, immersive learning platform for remote-learning alongside regular group sessions and mentorship days in local grassroots music venues across the UK.

Students learn online and in person at their own pace on this accredited, UCAS-recognised course, which takes up to two years to complete. The skills and knowledge that students develop will create new opportunities whether they stay in education, start a career in music – in front of or behind the mic – or in another industry.

Taught and mentored by top music artists, publishers, producers, composers, technicians, marketeers, business executives, lawyers, accountants, graphic designers, publicists and agents and powered by TheWRD’s talent development technology, students will have a unique opportunity to chart a more fulfilling career in the creative industries.

The course will be state-funded for those who qualify, or it can be funded privately. For those students who aren’t eligible for state funding but who are unable to fund themselves, TheWRD is forming a network of partners to offer bursaries to meet the cost of the course.

A FocalData survey commissioned by TheWRD found that of over 500 young people aged 19 to 29 interested in a career in music, over 70% felt that starting a career in music would be difficult, citing barriers such as not having contacts, being too much of a financial risk, lack of opportunities, and the industry not being open to people from their background. When asked about the barriers young people faced in accessing further education, almost 50% of those surveyed felt they were unable to afford it, and 1 in 4 said they do not have access to courses near where they live. Only 7% of respondents felt they weren’t facing any barriers.

Reservoir’s Jamie Hartman, winner of two Ivor Novello awards, said, “With inspiring educators, cutting-edge, interactive digital platforms, and affordable access models, TheWRD is one of the most exciting innovations in arts education for a generation,’ said. ‘It’s truly different. It guides students from scratch to a genuine point of entry into the music business across all areas, from writing, playing and production to management, publishing, law and record label positions – and you hear it from the people doing it every day at the highest level. Plus it does so in a way that young people understand and connect with.”

Oscar and Grammy winning producer Paul Epworth said, “Offering unparalleled access to valuable insights from professionals at the top of their industry, TheWRD fills the gaps in the current educational system, providing a bridge between standard educational models and both university and practical experience. Passing the knowledge and experience to the next generation is vital to the evolution of music and the surrounding culture. TheWRD is the foundation of that process.” 

Graham Davies, CEO of The Ivors Academy said, “Many young people can’t access state-funded arts education, careers in the creative industries or a creative life. We believe that everyone, everywhere with the desire and talent should have the chance to start and establish a career in music. It is essential that we create new opportunities to support the next generation of music industry professionals and music Creators. TheWRD from The Ivors Academy is an important investment in our talent pipeline and part of our mission to open up access to the creative industries.”

The Ivors Academy, founded in 1944, is the leading independent professional association for songwriters and composers. Its members include Ed Sheeran, Annie Lennox, Stormzy, Paul McCartney, Joan Armatrading and Elton John.

Its annual Ivor Novello Awards are known around the world as being a pinnacle in the career of many songwriters and composers. Uniquely, they are judged by music creators and awarded to their peers.

Every student on TheWRD will join The Ivors Academy to access its community and opportunities, giving them an unprecedented head start in this highly-competitive industry.

RCA Records Promotion Manager Ellie Best said, “If we want the country’s music industry to grow and flourish, we need innovation in our education system to increase the skills base and improve access for future generations. TheWRD offers just that, targeting young people that are disengaged from their education, and offering them a path that inspires and galvanises them.”

TheWRD founding director and music industry professional Ian Mack said, “TheWRD is about giving young creatives access to what they need, when they need it and at a price they can afford. Students don’t want long tedious lectures about irrelevant subjects. They want premium, relevant content delivered in bite-sized pieces in immersive online experiences and through real-world mentorship in real venues. TheWRD is a safe, creative space where students can fulfil their potential.”

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