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Project Artist trains musicians for business

After nine months in the classroom, Red Stripe's first cohort of Project Artist trainees started their internships in January 2010. Thirty-seven of the thirty-eight students have been placed in paid roles with several Jamaican companies including a number of internationally renowned recording studios.

The Red Stripe sponsored Diageo Learning for Life Project Artist programme teaches at risk 18-24 year olds who are musically inclined to use their artistic abilities to generate income for themselves, their families and their communities. The programme is one year old.

Internships include roles as band members, publicists, back up singers, soloists, arrangers, studio engineers, studio managers, artist managers, road managers and stage managers.

"Project Artist is a music incubator programme teaching to unleash their artistic potential and channel it into an income generating opportunity", states Diane Ashton-Smith corporate communications manager with Red Stripe.

The nine-month training curriculum was split into two courses of study; the Art of Music and the Business of Music. Course content included: studio time, airtime for music, music training, live music opportunities, mentorship, stage presence, creative development, lyrics, media techniques.

During their three month internship the students will obtain on the job training towards the development of entrepreneurship, business management, and key skills needed for work in the world of music.

Internship partners include Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts HEART trust NTA, the Jamaica Defence Force, Kingston Restoration Company
The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and some 357 recording studios.
Upon the completion of the three-month internship, these entities have the option of considering whether or not to retain the services of the trainees under a permanent contract of employment states Ashton-Smith.

Andre Fairclough, intern at the studio of renowned saxophonist Dean Fraser, Grafton Studios, states, "being able to watch great artistes such as Chuck Fender rehearsing and being the engineer for the sessions is a learning experience that I will always cherish. I'm looking forward to utilising this experience and knowledge to benefit my own self."

Ashton-Smith of Red Stripe noted, "the programme gives at risk young men and women who would otherwise be unemployed a chance to make a better life for themselves, their families and ultimately their communities by arming them with transferable skills, training and National Vocational Qualification (NVQJ) certification."

Project Artist is funded by the Desnoes and Geddes Foundation with seed funding from the Diageo Foundation. HEART Trust NTA provided the curriculum and trainers in partnership with the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.

Red Stripe Live, a cause related marketing event generates funds for the programme as well, states Ashton-Smith.

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