What is ELAM ?

ELAM is a world-class 16-19 Academy which opened in September 2014 in one of the most deprived areas of the UK. ELAM offers young people everything that they will need to lead successful lives within the music, games design and film and television sectors – the Recognition, the Access and the Relevant skills to become, what we call, ‘Industry Ready’. To be Industry Ready is to have all of the technical and personal qualities that allow young adults to progress into the workplace, or onto university.

Reflecting our ambitions, ELAM’s Programme focuses equally on developing ‘Expertise’ and ‘Personal’ skills areas. Trainees build the broadest possible set of musical and digital skills across business, performance, design and technology. These are accompanied by core skills in Mathematics and English, as well as professional mentoring and work placements. Everything that ELAM offers is practical, relevant and plugged into the real world; a foundation for our Trainees’ futures.  This is all achieved by working closely with key organisations that share our Vision and Values, and our aspirations for the Trainees.

Underpinning the development of our Trainees, and the practice of our staff are ELAM’s Values of Collaboration, Excellence, Innovation, Integrity and Drive. These Values align ELAM with our partner industries and are embedded at every level of the school as a signpost of the behaviours and characteristics that we strive for.

ELAM provides an amazing opportunity for young, talented people to realise their full potential the same way I did.
— Jamal Edwards MBE

Why do we exist ?

The rationale behind establishing ELAM was two-fold:

  • To address the abundant supply of young creative talent across East London which is often not realised

  • To address a growing demand within the UKs creative sector for talent

In Britain today, children from low-income backgrounds are significantly less likely to achieve highly at school, progress to university or take up fulfilling employment.

For the many creatively gifted young people within this group, opportunities to pursue a creative  talent have become highly restricted. In general, creative education fails to develop meaningful opportunities within the sector for talent from low-income backgrounds - a sector in which networks, facilities, and additional expertise contribute so heavily to entry.

In a recent study, 60% of music chart acts had been educated at a private school compared with 1% at the same point twenty years previously. With only 7% of our children attending private schools this is a concerning statistic; unfair for many talented young people from low-income backgrounds and evidence of a clear wastage of talent and lack of diversity within the music industry.

It has been shown however that when real collaboration occurs between professionals from within both the creative and education sectors, opportunities can exist for young people of all backgrounds to realise musical potential and successfully pursue careers within the creative industries.

Many of the young people growing up in Tower Hamlets and its neighbouring boroughs of Islington, Hackney, Newham, Lewisham, Southwark, City of London (“Target Boroughs”) grow up at a socio-economic disadvantage. Of 2011’s Key Stage 4 leavers, 40% of children claimed Free Academy Meals, with Islington experiencing the second highest rate of child poverty in the capital, and Tower Hamlets the highest in the UK.

The UK creative sector is employing at double the rate of the economy as a whole and by 2018 will employ more people than our financial sector. It directly employs 675,000 people itself and around 1.5 million further in creative roles across all sectors and has been highlighted by the Prime Minister as an important growth area in rebalancing the economy.

Our growing music and creative sector is seeking youth, diversity, innovation and enterprise. This is an opportunity waiting for the communities of East London where music is a cornerstone of youth culture. East London has become internationally synonymous with modern British music through successful recording artists including Plan B (Forest Gate), Dizzee Rascal (Bow), Professor Green (Hackney) and Tinie Tempah (Plumstead). In their footsteps is a generation that feel passionate about the movement; connected to a thriving music scene and looking for opportunities to become a part of its future.


What do we want to achieve ? (Vision)

ELAM aims develop the next generation of young creative and business talent to better the creative industries of tomorrow.

How will we achieve our vision ? (Mission)

ELAM will equip its Trainees with the right expertise and the right personal qualities to move into excellent destinations with the creative sector. At the same time we will work with these industries to increase the access routes into these positions across the sector.

What do we focus on day to day ? (Strategic Objectives)

We have three strategic objectives (Access, Recognition and Skills) which link to the outcomes we believe will provide Trainees with the opportunity to achieve our mission and vision.

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1. Recognition

ELAM Trainees complete respected English, Maths and Musical Qualifications.

  • ELAM is full unique in that it is a full time five-day course of study. Every Trainee is undertaking the equivalent of 3+ A – Levels (minimum).

  • We run the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Music or Digital Media, which all Trainees undertake.

  • In addition to the BTEC, all Trainees undertake a diet of Math’s and English to develop their literacy and numeracy skills, which may include: A-Level, AS Level, EPQ, Core Maths or GCSE depending on their starting point.
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2. Access

In order to achieve our vision, ELAM Trainees, Industry experts and employers engage frequently and meaningfully.

  • We hold a weekly Masterclass where leaders from the music and creative industry come into ELAM and work with the Trainees to help develop their skills and knowledge of the industry. See here

  • All our Trainees undertake two weeks of Work Experience within the music and creative sectors. See here.

  • Each trainee at ELAM is given a mentor from the creative industries. See here.

  • We link the academic work directly into the industry. One of our events units in conducted in conjunction with London’s largest music festival Lovebox (see here). This culminated in our Trainees performing on the main stage alongside some of the biggest artists in the industry. One of our performance units resulted in students work being playlisted on BBC 1xtra and receiving over 100k views on YouTube. See here.

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3. Values

ELAM Trainees focus on the skills and qualities used by industry leaders. We build and design all projects to ensure Trainees are developing and assessed against the five ELAM values: Innovation, Drive, Collaboration, Excellence and Integrity.

  • Our admissions process assess each prospective trainee against each of our five values, we do this without referring to any prior academic attainment.
  • We build the values in to all aspects of ELAM from governance through to trainees meaning we are committed to building a values based environment.