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Oscar-winning producer Paul Epworth congratulates the first Ivor Novello Scholar, Andy Skinner, calling him “an inspiration”

Songwriter Andy Skinner from Bangor, Northern Ireland, has been confirmed as the first Ivor Novello Scholar and will have his fees paid to study TheWRD from The Ivors Academy.

Andy Skinner and Paul Epworth Andy Skinner and Paul Epworth

TheWRD is a new Access to Higher Education Diploma in Creative Entrepreneurship with backing from some of the biggest names in music including Oscar-winning producer Paul Epworth, Ivor Novello Award-winning songwriters Jamie Hartman and Celeste, Fellow of The Ivors Academy Peter Gabriel and 2022 Rising Star Ivor Novello Award winner Naomi Kimpenu.

There are 100 scholarships available for students from low-income households across the UK. Scholarship applications must be in by 23rd September to start TheWRD course this autumn.

Andy Skinner, who has a condition called spondyloarthritis that causes pain and affects his mobility, said, “I’ve been writing music since the mid-90s where almost everyone I knew played an instrument and wanted to be in bands. I managed acts, promoted gigs and was in many bands, only for a condition called spondyloarthritis to stop me in my tracks in my 20s. I couldn’t play music anymore and the passion for the business had left me. About five years ago through new medications, I was able to start playing music again and found myself getting the passion for music back.

“I can see the potential pathways that TheWRD could open up for me and that does not look like anything I thought would be possible without the programme. Due to disability and limits that are put on me elsewhere, it feels like TheWRD wants to let me fly.”

Paul Epworth said, “Andy is an inspiration to me and everyone who loves music but is struggling to turn their passion into a career. He is exactly who we want to help through TheWRD, someone with talent, grit and ambition, but isn’t in London or a big city and faces challenges getting into the business. Congratulations mate.”

TheWRD from The Ivors Academy is a two-year diploma in Creative Entrepreneurship for students aged 19 years and over. The first intake starts on 26th September 2022 to provide new opportunities to break into music and the creative industries.

Starting with knowledge from industry professionals as the basis for the course, the diploma is delivered online and in person using an immersive learning platform alongside regular group sessions and mentorship days across the UK.

Fundraising by The Ivors Academy Trust has created scholarships to cover the course fees for 100 students from low-income households across the UK. Scholarship applications must be in by 23rd September to start the course on 26th September. There will be a second intake in January 2023. The course is state-funded for those who qualify, or it can be funded privately.


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