TPi November/December 2021 - #266

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NEKO 18 NEKO Trust launches a new programme to support those at the start of their career.

In September, an innovative new pilot programme, NEKO 18, was launched by NEKO Trust to help build a sustainable future for music and live events. The free-to-enrol programme, supported by funders including Arts Council England’s Culture Recovery Fund, was a response to research conducted over the past 18 months into the barriers facing those who wish to progress their career in music and live events. It identified 18 earlycareer individuals from diverse backgrounds with a wide range of skills and experience to undertake a three-month programme of professional development. Between September and November, the cohort benefited from knowledge sharing with peers and experienced industry professionals, shadowing and commissioning opportunities with resident and associated NEKO artists, focused creative retreats, and mentorship from programme ambassadors. NEKO 18 participants also had the opportunity to achieve accreditation via the CLOCK Your Skills programme, which enables people to learn through work and be validated by sector experts. The induction week, which took place from 6 to 10 September 2021, saw participants focus on the music and live events sector, including the history of recorded music and the importance of building your brand, while taking


time to reflect on how to better understand and manage mental health, with yoga sessions woven into the week’s itinerary. Across the three months, the NEKO 18 learned about music management, record labels, revenue streams, fanbase building, NFTs and future tech, and the live sector. The programme also focused on the reality of being a freelancer in the sector, with sessions on debt management, accounting, negotiating day rates, understanding tax, building a business plan, fundraising, how to build a pitch deck, and networking - giving vital practical knowledge and skills to those looking to develop their career further. The NEKO 18 - which includes artists, marketing professionals, graphic designers, music managers, producers and more - were provided with a free workspace in NEKO’s thriving cultural hub in Wandsworth, South West London, to progress their own ideas and collaborate on tailored creative opportunities. Overall, the programme seeks to improve an individual’s experience and skill set whilst giving them the confidence, knowledge and a network of like-minded creatives to direct their own career. With the program now coming to an end, the cohort may be able to apply for seed funding from NEKO to take their creative ideas to the next level, with continued business support and mentoring. Speaking of the launch

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