Music Event Hits Right Notes For Employability

Radio 1 Producer Mairead Campbell & DJ Micky Modelle Join Young People at ‘Urban Affinity’

Young people have enjoyed a music event with a difference at Belfast’s Oh Yeah Music Centre.  Supported by Belfast Harbour, Urban Affinity is an annual opportunity for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to explore career opportunities within Belfast’s growing creative sector.

The aim of the event, which was part of the Sound of Belfast festival, is to introduce young people to employment, training and internship opportunities within the music industry.  It also seeks to build confidence, enhance communication skills and develop wider employability attributes.

Among those taking part were Radio 1 DJ and producer, Mairead Campbell and DJ Micky Modelle, both from Northern Ireland.  Micky has worked for labels such as Ministry of Sound and with artists including Pink, Jessie-J and Atomic Kitten.

Jenni Barkley, Belfast Harbour’s Communications and Corporate Responsibility Manager, said:

“Belfast Harbour runs an extensive programme which supports a wide range of initiatives.  This includes a growing focus on harnessing the arts to improve young people’s employability. 

“Apart from being a great opportunity to work alongside professionals who have achieved local, national and international success, these hands-on style events are also an excellent way to widen career horizons and develop practical skills that can support career advancement in any sector.

“The creative industries offer a wide range of exciting career opportunities and initiatives like Urban Affinity which are great for highlighting pathways to employment. They are also an excellent way to support the development of wider employability skills.”

In addition to testing their skills as DJs and radio producers, there were opportunities to learn about music production and how to take award winning photographs with a smart phone.  The event finished with a percussion workshop with renowned local musician Chip Bailey who has worked extensively with Duke Special.

Sian O’Neill, Oh Yeah’s Youth Engagement Manager, added:

“Urban Affinity is a brilliant way to break down barriers to the music industry, particularly for young people who may come from marginalised backgrounds, have learning difficulties or aren’t currently in education or training.

“By providing a chance to try a variety of sessions under the guidance of professional music industry experts our aim is to help build confidence and highlight career opportunities which may not have been previously considered.”

Now into its fifth year, the Sound of Belfast festival included a mix of live gigs, talks, awards, conferences and community events involving 70 locally based acts across nine venues.