Warner Music UK and Warner Music Ireland (WMI) have announced a three-year extension of their levelling-up partnership with The Rio Ferdinand Foundation.
The project is aimed at 14-24 year-olds and aims to educate youth networks about what roles and opportunities are open to them in the music and football business. Support ranges from internships and work experience at WMUK and WMI, to mentoring and advice from Warner Music employees and artists.
In addition, the programme will deliver year-round football and music activities in order to provide a platform for creativity and to raise their aspirations around their community. The project will deliver accredited training that incorporates transferable skills for employment and vocational training in creative industries.
Bauer Media Group’s KISS will also be supporting the partnership through their editorial and content team.
The first event in 2023 took place on Saturday (March 11) at Salford University, with workshops planned across A&R, broadcast media, PR/communications, along with a panel discussion and a networking session, for over 150 young people.
There will be more events to follow in the year in both the West Midlands and Dublin. Beyond 2023, the programme will travel to Cork, Limerick, London, Northern Ireland, the North East, and Yorkshire and Humber.
Rio Ferdinand, founder and patron of the foundation, said: “Football and music are two creative mediums that bring people together from a wide range of cultures and life experiences. It humbles me how well Warner Music understands the importance of hosting these experiences for our youth networks and linking them with local communities. It’s truly great to be officially extending the project with Warner Music to the end of 2025; together we’ll be able to go forward to discover and enable the next generation of leaders.”
Tony Harlow, CEO, Warner Music UK, said: “The Rio Ferdinand Foundation is an impeccable partner; they truly understand and share our passion for levelling-up youth networks with their local communities across the UK and Ireland. We’re striving to bring together the cultural overlaps and opportunities in football and music. And after a brilliant pilot event in London last year, I’m looking forward to getting the tour on the road and seeing our Warner Music teams visit counties that are bursting with young talent but often overlooked and underfunded.”
Priscilla Kotey, SVP, Warner Music Ireland, added: “After an incredibly successful event in Belfast last year, it’s amazing to be able to announce a long-term partnership with the Foundation. The Republic of Ireland is home to so much talent, but often young people don’t know where to look or how to get into the industry. With this tour, my aim is to help connect regional hubs across the country with Warner Music Ireland, so we can help find and guide the leaders of tomorrow to the right people and opportunities.”
Set up by Rio Ferdinand in 2012, the Rio Ferdinand Foundation has supported more than 10,000 young people to date across regional hubs in London, Manchester and Belfast.