Neko Trust has joined forces with Gallowglass to launch Future Crew – a training scheme to tackle the lack of diversity in backstage crew and support the reskilling of the sector.
The programme is being piloted between June and August 2022 to inspire young people most in need to access jobs and training. The initial group will be 10 young people aged 19 and over, not in employment or training and who are claiming Universal Credit or facing significant barriers.
Future Crew is a direct response to the Government’s Levelling Up agenda and youth employment crisis across London and represents an opportunity to build the music industry back following the exodus of talent during lockdown.
Over the summer, participants will enjoy both paid work as event crew with Gallowglass – gaining experience at a diverse range of events – as well as receiving free live event production training from Neko Trust covering tour management, production management, live sound and backline.
The programme will take place at SW19 Studios in South West London – a music hub offering rehearsal, storage and offices – who have offered the charity space for free. Neko’s live event production training has also gained the support of the Wimbledon Foundation Community Fund through The London Community Foundation.
Participants will be given the opportunity to gain industry recognised qualifications in health and safety, as well as IPAF and PASMA, and will benefit from career development sessions including task-setting and CV writing, as well as mentoring from Gallowglass Crew Chiefs and Neko’s expansive network of live events professionals.
Successful completion of the programme will lead to guaranteed employment as Event Crew with Gallowglass, as well as the potential to progress into live event production roles.
Future Crew is the latest initiative from Neko Trust in partnership with Gallowglass, leading on from Neko 18 in 2021, which fast-tracked employment opportunities in the music industry for budding onstage and offstage talent.
Commenting on the potential of Future Crew, Neko Trust CEO Mary Rose said: “Neko Trust is actively driving forward the diversification and reskilling of the live music sector with its partnership with Gallowglass. Together, we want to attract and support a new talent pipeline in live events production by creating training and employment opportunities for individuals from all backgrounds. We will be leaving no stone unturned to ensure this opportunity reaches passionate and motivated young people who want to work in the exciting world of live events but are often overlooked for such opportunities. Levelling up means giving everyone the opportunity to flourish, and we believe Future Crew is not only a direct response to this challenge but a strong and meaningful response to the challenges facing the live music sector when it comes to diversity and skills.”
Chris Parry-Jones from Gallowglass said: “We all know that there are some real problems at the moment in the world of arts and events – skill shortages, a lack of diversity, and very few opportunities for disadvantaged young people. Gallowglass has done what it has always done by offering an entry solution to those problems. We are delighted and excited to be partnering with Neko Trust on the Future Crew initiative which will continue to help young people into our industry.”
Jenny La Rocque from Recruitment partner Ingeus added: “We at Ingeus provide services for people with barriers to employment and are delighted to be working in partnership with Neko Trust and Gallowglass, in helping our participants secure employment in the world of Entertainment as Event Crew.”
Mat Podd of SW19 Studios said: “SW19 are really pleased to be working with Neko and Gallowglass to build the next generation of a music family for the whole industry.”
Future Crew is the newest professional development initiative to emerge from Neko Trust in partnership with Gallowglass. It follows the Neko 18 pilot which took place in 2021, which accelerated employment opportunities in the music industry for a diverse group of emerging onstage and offstage talent.
The cohort of 18 individuals comprised:
· 66% female, 27% male, 7% non-binary;
· 52% Black/Global Majority;
· 51% received free school meals (against a national average of 15%)
Since completing the intensive three-month programme in November 2021, 60% of participants have been offered paid work within the music and live events industry through connections made during Neko 18. 40% of participants have been offered shadowing and mentoring opportunities to support the development of their skills in new areas; and 23 further shadowing opportunities have been provided.
“My life has completely changed since doing Neko 18. I didn’t know what I was going to do when I started; now I know where I am going and have opportunities to hone my skills,” said Chiedza Chikanza, Neko 18 alumni.