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Neko Trust launches new professional development programme

By | Published on Tuesday 7 September 2021

Neko Trust

The Neko Trust has launched a new professional development programme called Neko 18 which will see eighteen early-career artists, producers and music industry professionals take part in a three month training and mentorship scheme, based out of Neko’s own hub in Wandsworth, South West London.

Free for the participants, the trust says the programme has been created in “response to research conducted over the last eighteen months into the barriers facing those who wish to progress their career in music and live events”. For the pilot Neko 18 programme, the charity has “identified eighteen early-career individuals from diverse backgrounds with a wide range of skills and experience to undertake a three-month programme of professional development”.

After an induction week taking place this week, participants will have access to workshops, creative retreats, mentors, and shadowing and commissioning opportunities – including a weekend retreat curated by CMU:DIY. Across all that activity, they will learn about the wider music business, the realities of being a freelancer and running your own company, and how to better understand and manage mental health.

The Neko Trust was launched by former Muse tour director Glen Rowe in 2018, building on the work of his previous charitable organisation the Cato Trust and the Cato Academy “roadie school” he founded.

On the new programme, Rowe says: “The need for the Neko 18 programme is more important than ever following the last eighteen months of challenge and despair for the music and live events sectors. It will allow young creatives and entrepreneurs with an idea and a collaborative nature, who may have been at risk of leaving the sector, to come together to benefit from building a network with like-minded professionals as well as mentors to guide their development”.

“We have attracted some of the most talented, determined and passionate individuals committed to working in music and live events”, he adds, “with a view to safeguarding the future of the sector and levelling up opportunities to work within it”.

The CEO and Creative Director of Neko, Mary Rose, says: “The COVID-19 pandemic represents the biggest threat to the UK’s cultural infrastructure, institutions, and workforce in a generation. It is vital that we attract and retain the talent we need to ensure the music and live events industry emerges better and more resilient. For Neko, this is about creating equality of opportunity, so that people from all backgrounds can access, learn and progress within it”.