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This local radio station is helping young people kickstart their careers

Unity Radio’s New Talent Academy offers a real life learning experience in the media industry as well as qualifications

Based in MediaCity, Unity Radio has a 20-year history, having started life as a pirate radio station.

It attracts approximately 30,000 listeners per week in Greater Manchester on 92.8FM, DAB and online – and its New Talent Academy is helping young people aged 15-18 who want to get into the industry.

Unity Radio has as a wealth of experience in delivering workshops to young people from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

The New Talent Academy offers vocational education, training and pre-employment provision for young people and adults providing accredited creative media radio courses followed by training at Unity Radio.

The course aims to assist young people in gaining employment, further education or training – and if this is achieved during the course there is no obligation to complete the course, so they can get into work straight away.

Groups are no more than eight, and upon completion of the course young people are offered a weekly radio show for six weeks, producing and presenting their own live show to put all their skills into practice.

“What makes the New Talent Academy different is our delicate balance between education and professional elements while keeping it a fun, enjoyable experience,” says Unity Radio’s Scott Dawson.

“Our students get to learn within the environment of a fully licensed broadcasting radio station and then automatically get to utilise air space following directly on from the course.

“This is what, to me, makes the NTA different from other ways of gaining radio qualifications or gaining experience.”

Greater Manchester headquartered social enterprise, The Growth Company, has recently announced a partnership with Unity Radio’s New Talent Academy to deliver real life learning and help put theory into practice.

GC Education & Skills, delivered by the Growth Company, will sponsor Unity Radio’s weekly New Talent Show hosted by learners who have graduated from the New Talent Academy.

It will be involved in broadcasting, supporting and offering guidance about local employment, training and education opportunities for young people across Greater Manchester. 

The social enterprise, which was recently named by RateMyApprenticeship as one of the Top 50 Training Providers in the UK, will also be taking over Unity Radio’s breakfast show from July until February 2023.

“The NTA is set up to give learners a real life learning experience in the media industry as well as gaining the relevant qualifications to help kickstart their media career,” explains Unity’s James Bayat.

“One of the biggest elements of the course is connecting the learners with the right employers, training providers and further education establishments that are well suited to each individual learners needs and interests such as the BBC, UTC Media college, Futureskills, Growth Company to name a few.

“This can be done by industry talks or inviting employers into the station to be interviewed on air by the very learners that will be applying for the jobs the employer has to offer.

“This helps the learner to build confidence in their abilities and makes the introduction to employers and training providers a lot less scary for a newly qualified learner.”

The courses offer more than just skills and training. Learners are connected to a larger music, creative and digital culture, enhancing the feelings of belonging to something bigger, meeting the needs of many who may not have this positive environment.

The training and work experience results in significant increases in confidence and self-esteem giving the learner new choices and decisions to make regarding behaviour and future pathways.

“Confidence of course is the biggest change, see my young people go from friendless to friendship, from not believing that there is more to life then what’s happening to hearing that they have progressed in all aspects of their life – applying for work, college, housing and the confidence to live alone,” says Unity’s Eve Hall.

“But I also have to say seeing them, meaning they come to us sometimes unsure of who they really are, and being with us, watching them blossom to the people they were born to be and the amazing young adults that this world needs.”

Renée Bell, a Junior Content Producer, was recently invited onto the show to talk about apprenticeships from a ‘learner’ perspective.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time hosting a show on Unity Radio, a definite highlight of my career here at the Growth Company,” she said.

“It was a really great opportunity for me to collaborate on such an interesting and unconventional piece of content for our audiences, as well as network and explore other channels to promote our offer.

“The New Talent Show team at Unity were so welcoming and encouraging; they soon put my nerves at ease – I left the station feeling inspired by the work they produce and being able to showcase our amazing education, skills and courses for the community.”

It’s no wonder Lee Dinsdale, Director of North West Media, believes Unity now has “one of the best alternative, innovative and impactful provisions in Greater Manchester providing opportunities for both learning and then real life work experience in the creative, media and digital sector.”

Tune into the New Talent Show every Wednesday 1-4pm on Unity Radio. If you are an employer, training or education provider and would like to find out more or be interviewed live on Unity Radio about opportunities for Greater Manchester young people, contact [email protected].

Don’t miss..

Manchester’s #1 independent radio station Unity Radio will present its own stage at the upcoming We Invented The Weekend festival at MediaCity on Saturday 10th September. They’ll be celebrating the city’s hip hop, soul, and R&B scene with live performances from residents and emerging talent from the city, graffiti and street art showcases and accompanying workshops.

Manchester’s July 7, tipped as one of the UK’s most promising new talents, will be taking the stage on the Saturday, joining him on the bill includes BBC Radio 1 presenter Victoria Jane, who is set to bring her soulful and atmospheric music to the Unity Radio stage, exceptional R&B artist Francesca, Link Up TV and BBC Introducing favourite RMDY, and Zambian Manchester based Artist Prido, plus Unity Radio favourites and resident DJ’s Adele Tondu, DJ Yemi, Tone Rarri, DJ Chaise, Dubzy, DJ Bayat, DJ Basha and Eldris Tiller.

Click HERE to see who will be taking over the North Bay Stage and when.

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