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Why the music sector should celebrate National Apprenticeship Week

Oliver Morris, UK Music's Director of Education and Skills, introduces three new apprenticeship opportunities for young people looking for employment in the music sector. The scheme is due to launch in summer 2020.

Oliver Morris, UK Music’s Director of Education and Skills, introduces three new apprenticeship opportunities for young people looking for employment in the music sector. The scheme is due to launch in summer 2020 and UK Music is inviting consultation.

The UK celebrates apprenticeships this week – and their continued importance in the employment landscape. Although a relatively new phenomenon in the creative industries, they have been embraced as an important way to encourage more young people from diverse backgrounds to consider a career in industries such as our own – music. Many companies across the music industry employ apprentices and we hope to see this trend continue. 

UK Music has been a strong advocate of apprenticeships for many years and was instrumental in supporting 70 paid apprenticeships and internships in music through the Creative Employment Programme. Although this funding scheme sadly came to an end, we have more recently been working with other creative trade bodies to ensure careers advice and routes into the creative industries are strengthened through the Creative Careers Programme.

Developing three all-new apprenticeships in music

One strand of this has meant we have been able to secure support from Creative & Cultural Skills and ScreenSkills to help us through the process of developing three all-new apprenticeships in music.

Although the titles of these ‘Standards’ (as apprenticeship qualifications are now all called) are still works in progress, they cover three important areas with a music studio production apprenticeship, a music product assistant apprenticeship and a music instrument technician apprenticeship.

The first of these is simply aiming to replace a previously discontinued ‘Framework’ (as apprenticeships were called before they became ‘Standards’) for studio producer. This is the area I get most enquiries about from potential apprentices, parents and indeed studios.

Although the take-up may be modest in terms of numbers, it truly represents in my mind what apprenticeships traditionally were (albeit with a modern twist)  – the passing of knowledge and insight on from an expert in a field to their apprentice on a one-to-one basis.

The second is our attempt to establish a new Standard by way of replacing the discontinued Music Business Framework. Working with a range of companies from labels to publishers we want this to represent the unique processes and skills required when music businesses bring products to market.

The third has been developed with significant help from the Music Industries Association with the idea that a great entry-level route into music comes from people with an interest in maintaining and demonstrating instruments – both in live and retail settings.

Many people interested in a career in music will have an interest in, and indeed experience of, this. I first handled a soldering iron when reconnecting wires in guitar leads on my guitar as a teen and if I’d realised this could be a skill I could get paid for I may have gone down a very different career path!

Consultation process

We are genuinely excited by these three new apprenticeships and will be looking to launch them in summer 2020. We will be consulting widely on these over next few months before launching to ensure all views have been heard and they are as useful to the music industry as possible.

Do you have questions or feedback? Contact Oliver Morris on oliver.morris@ukmusic.org.