Future stars get inspiration from the experts

Stuart Burnham with 12-year-old Andrew Impey and his mum, Kirstine Burnham   Picture: Habibur Rahman

Autistic Portsmouth lad lives the high life during VIP QA trip

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WORKING in the music industry is one of the toughest career paths people can choose.

So the Portsmouth Cultural Trust held a unique project to try and help those aged from 14 to 24 to get a step on the ladder.

(l-r) South Downs College students Cohen Radcliffe, Mike Heidstrom, Megan Jones and Jess Hanson, with Southern Co-op chief executive Mark Smith and chief executive of Portsmouth Cultural Trust Andy Grays. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (143031-349)

(l-r) South Downs College students Cohen Radcliffe, Mike Heidstrom, Megan Jones and Jess Hanson, with Southern Co-op chief executive Mark Smith and chief executive of Portsmouth Cultural Trust Andy Grays. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (143031-349)

Get into Music took place at the Guildhall yesterday, with the aim of helping youngsters to succeed not just with the performing side of music, but with all the backstage work that goes with it, including sound, lighting and artist management.

People involved in the industry gave speeches about their careers and answered questions.

Over 200 young people were expected to attend.

Hayley Reay is the community development officer for the Portsmouth Cultural Trust.

She said: ‘Loads of people would like to perform and they know how to go about it – it’s not easy.

‘The number of people that make it is very small.

‘But not so many people know about how to get a career in the off-stage side of the industry.

‘People who are interested in performing want to know back-up options.’

Mike Heidstrom, 19, is a student at South Downs College.

He said: ‘Music is what I want to do so it was a good opportunity to learn more about the industry.

‘The performance stuff is what I want to be doing but you have got to know about what goes on backstage too.’

Jessica Hanson, 19, also a student at South Downs College, added: ‘Music is all I have ever wanted to do.

‘I find that coming here gives me a great opportunity to learn more behind the scenes.

‘Performing on stage is a big part of it but behind the scenes is where it all happens.’

The project has been supported by the Southern Co-operative, which provided £50,000 of funding.

Chief executive Mark Smith said: ‘We want to put activity back into the community and target it to things that can really make a difference. This does that in a number of different ways.’

Andy Ellis is the education and outreach manager for PRS for Music and was a speaker at the day.

He said: ‘The music industry is a very big employer. It’s an exciting place to work.

‘For many years perhaps people perceived the industry as just performing on stage but really it’s a pyramid and there are an awful lot of people behind the stage who help develop that performance into a career.’