Grass roots music boost

Apprentices Mark Barron, centre, and Helen Cannon, right, with Preston's College technical theatre assessor, James McAlpine, left
Apprentices Mark Barron, centre, and Helen Cannon, right, with Preston's College technical theatre assessor, James McAlpine, left

A GRASS-roots Wigan music facility is ensuring two of its team members earn while they learn after getting its first apprentices accredited.

Mark Barron and Helen Cannon from the 21:12 Music Community will combine their work at the Swan Meadow Road facility with studying at Preston’s College.

Studio engineer Mark and Helen, who heads up the administrative side of the organisation, will complete one-year level two courses in technical theatre with the option of a further level three course of study.

The music community hopes the link with Preston’s College, based in Fulwood, will enable more young Wiganers to study and develop their skills in areas such as live engineering, sound and lighting while gaining work experience at 21:12.

Mark, 20, said: “We wanted to kick-start the apprenticeship programme and the course looks really good. We want 21:12 to be a peer-led facility and if people know the peers have been on the apprenticeship it will influence them to do it themselves.”

Hawkley Hall student Helen, 17, said: “I know I’m going to be the only girl on the course so I want to show you can do anything if you put your mind to it. It’s also an opportunity to show what 21:12 can offer. There are hardly any jobs in music but we can offer roles, and if there’s a qualification with that you can learn on the job.”

The music facility, located in the former Eckersley complex, was visited by Preston’s College technical theatre assessor James McAlpine to see the facilities and launch the apprenticeship programme. Mark and Helen will study one day a week at the Fulwood-based college and also carry out projects and coursework in Wigan at 21:12.

The link with Preston’s College marks another step forward for 21:12 which endured a turbulent 2014 including council investigations into the facility.