Music charity Attitude is Everything has launched Beyond The Music, an initiative designed to help improve inclusivity within the music industry by boosting career opportunities for deaf and disabled people.

Findings from Arts Council England show just 4% of staff at National Portfolio Organisations, and just 1.8% of staff at music industry organisations, consider themselves to be disabled. This is a significant disparity from the UK’s general population, where 19% of working adults are considered disabled under the Equality Act.

Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, the three-year Beyond The Music programme will work to identify employment gaps and help deaf and disabled people to gain the necessary skills, experience, support and contacts needed to work or volunteer in the music industry.

The project is launching with a survey, open to any deaf or disabled person who works or aspires to work in the industry. Organisers said responses will play a key role in shaping the programme over the next three years.

Operators of venues including the Barbican, Brighton Centre, Manchester Arena and the Southbank Centre, have established a Venues Advisory Group that will help formulate a strategy around the survey findings.

Aspects of the initiative include:

  • A Beyond The Music Network – a place for deaf and disabled people working or seeking to work in the industry to meet, network, share ideas and find support around navigating the industry.
  • Structured opportunities for deaf and disabled people to develop their skills through training, mentoring, shadowing and skilled employment and volunteering opportunities.
  • Accessible Creative Environments training – a new training course tailored to support companies within the industry to create a truly inclusive workplace culture.
  • An Accessible Employment and Volunteering Toolkit
  • A Future Leaders programme – a year-long skills development programme designed to help talented deaf and disabled people develop the skills to lead the industry in the future.

Attitude is Everything head of volunteering and skills development, Paul Hawkins said, “This is a challenging time for everyone in the music business, especially within live events. The industry’s #LetTheMusicPlay campaign has highlighted the gravity of the situation but as we plot a pathway back from coronavirus, Attitude is Everything believes it is crucial that deaf and disabled people have full and equal access to any employment opportunities on offer.”