Working in the music industry is seen by young people as a dream career. Quite right! It is.
There has never been a more diverse or technically challenging array of roles in music for young people to choose from. But likewise, the music industry thrives because of the constantly refreshing pool of young creative talent driving it. That talent has ensured the UK is the headline act on the global music stage.
To help fill this pool with the most diverse and talented young people, UK Music launched a scheme for apprentices aged 16-24 to get paid for training, get qualifications and learn more about music from inside one of our businesses.
We launched this scheme at the beginning of 2014 to help young people from all walks of life get a break and earn while they learn. Becoming an apprentice could be an alternative to studying at University and many young people would rather get their teeth into paid work as soon as they can after school. Since the launch of our scheme more than 30 young people have taken up posts in the UK's most exciting music businesses - Beggars Music, Mute Artists, Domino Records, CODA Music Agency, PRS for Music and PPL.
Last month I was privileged to find out first-hand the strength of teenage aspiration for working in the industry when we teamed up with Ministry of Sound to host a job fair for apprentices. Around 330 bright and enthusiastic young job-seekers turned up to find out about career opportunities and learn ways to increase employability with CV-writing workshops and interview tips.
UK Music at the Ministry of Sound
These 330 potential music employees could become the future leaders of an industry that contributes £3.5bn to the UK economy and employs over 100,000 people. Government statistics show that the British creative industries are now worth £71.4 billion per year to the UK economy, with a growth of almost 10% between 2012 and 2013, accounting for 5.6% of all UK jobs.
At a time of shocking youth unemployment, there are real jobs and real careers in music and the wider creative industries. I urge parents and teachers to consider that if their beloved says: "I want to work in the music industry", that this aspiration should be taken very seriously and supported.
I visited a school in East London for a careers day recently. There, it seemed, music was not encouraged as a business option to be considered by students inside school hours. But this is wrong.
At the American Coachella music festival in California earlier this year, I overheard young Americans talking about British music in awe. There were loads of Brits too, from Bryan Ferry to Ellie Goulding, Bastille and Calvin Harris, Blood Orange, CHVRCHES, Disclosure, Frank Turner, Laura Mvula and Rudimental. Each of these bands has an entourage of British workers with them. They helped contribute to a music festival that generates $254 million to the desert region around Indio and $90 million to Coachella itself.
The eco-system that supports and promotes successful British musicians creates thousands of jobs, which offer exciting prospects to young people. We need parents and educators to start considering music as a truly excellent career option for young people. Part of the reason we launched the apprenticeship scheme was to highlight the job opportunities in the sector - in production, business management, event and band management, engineering, technology and lots, lots more.
We know from our report "Wish You Were Here" that music tourism in the UK is big business and that many overseas tourists come to the UK purely for Glastonbury or a pilgrimage to Liverpool for the Beatles. And the Ministry of Sound was an ideal location to host a jobs' fair for the modern music industry. The range of activities within their business - a radio station, a record label, an artists' management team and a nightclub - should give those youngsters a feel for the variety of jobs out there.
The UK's music industry is entering an exciting new chapter and as it evolves, the skills and talent required by the industry evolve with it. Young people, with enthusiasm and digital know-how, are well placed to enjoy successful careers in the industry.
Let's not beat around the bush, the more young talent we can leverage into the industry the more chance we have of maintaining our world leading edge.
Find out more at www.ukmusic.org/skillsacademy/apprenticeships.