Music Traineeship Interview by Megan Savage

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TICE is supporting training provider Kaplan to deliver unique creative traineeships for young people interested in pursuing a career in fashion retail, music industry, graphic design and photography. If you’re unfamiliar with Traineeships they are a government led initiative and more information can be found here: Traineeships – GOV.UK

I sat down with TICE Music Mentor Sam Burt to discuss exactly what he’s providing students with this summer, particularly through the music traineeships that he has been running this year.

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So Sam, what is the traineeship all about?

These traineeships are for 16-19 year olds who are not in education or training at the moment to pursue, or at least experiment in various creative areas. I’m leading the music section. It’s not fully guaranteed that a job will be there in the end of it all (although that may happen), but the main priority is for them to get a taste of the industry. It is industry based as opposed to just being purely creative. It’s meant to be quite vocational in terms of progression once they have completed the traineeship and they’re getting a lot of support and advice during the traineeship, so they are better equipped to make good choices when they finish.

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What are the aims for the music traineeship? What do you want to provide to your trainees?

Many students get left behind when they start Further or Higher Education in September and then for one reason or another do not continue. It could be that the course is not what they envisaged or they have simply had a change of heart, or sometimes there are personal circumstance changes, but dropping out in the autumn often means an entire year before they can move on to something else. TICE and Kaplan have provided something that fits in between which helps to keep them on course or encourages them to do something new. It simply means these talented people are not left floundering, not knowing different options out there that organisations such as us can provide. So that is the aim – to guide enthusiastic young people who are just feel a little lost and unsure of what to do next.

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What is involved in the traineeship that makes it stand out to other music courses?

What makes it stand out most is the fact that it’s vocationally based and it’s quite all encompassing in terms of the subject matter covered – career options, how to build a business, self-employment and much more – instead of just being pure musical tuition. The level of skill we get can vary and so we can prefer to work around what they want to pursue. We’re tailoring this to every student so they can get exactly what they want and need out of it which means getting bespoke tuition/placements as well. This means that it heavily revolves around the student and what they need for their own career progression.

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Have you seen your past students improve on a musical and personal level after doing this traineeship? If so, in what ways?

A lot of them came in quite confused and unsure about what they wanted to do and what their skills were. Primarily they’re putting themselves down because they can’t acknowledge their own strengths. Therefore, part of the traineeship is about helping them find out what they really are good at and helping them realise that what they think is nothing is actually a massive skill that can be of great use. One example in the past, was a guy who was super passionate about amps, guitar pedals and general tech gear. He was convinced that it wouldn’t be of much value beyond his own playing, but this guy was also really into working in music retail. I said to him that this knowledge and passion he had would be incredibly useful if he was going to become a salesman or you know, eventually becoming the manager of Guitar Guitar or something! The knowledge he had were things that a lot of people had no clue about, but would want to know. The students don’t actually realise how much they know until they come across opportunities such as this.

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How do you think this traineeship tackles the current reality of the music industry? Is it realistic to those who want a career in the music industry?

It isn’t giving them false hope, in a way. The music industry has changed drastically in the past 10 years. Since the late 90s a huge percentage of profits have been lost in the recorded music business, which has not only had a huge impact on the jobs but how well paid jobs are and how long they can last. We aim to give them a sense of realism as to what is actually out there and how they can go about tackling it. There is no definitive way of approaching things so it’s quite tricky and involves them doing a lot of their own research with our guidance. We try to encourage entrepreneurial ideas as well, so not just options of working as an employee in a publishing company, or a live agency for example – it’s about what their passion is, even if its running their own business. They can start something off independently whilst temping or getting a part-time job to be self-sufficient. A lot of the industry now (the successful people) have found a niche. They’ve found it, they’ve done it and they’re doing it well. It’s time that we pass this wisdom on to these students.

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Have you been getting any good feedback or response from your past trainees?

There’s one lad in particular who sends me a lot of his original songs on a regular basis. He’s been writing some really cool stuff and has really grown to love it since finishing the traineeship. I think he just needed encouragement and it’s given him some enthusiasm about his songwriting process. He hasn’t been playing it to anyone else because of that fear of not being good enough. I immediately replied with “Hey, that’s really good!” whilst also giving him some constructive criticism along the way to try and improve it. He’s really happy that there’s someone there who is taking him seriously.

Are you interested in the creative industries? Join Sam and many other creative professionals on the traineeships. Register here: http://www.thisiscreativeenterprise.com/creative-traineeships/