BUDDING pop stars at the first Pete Waterman Training Academy at West Cheshire College signed off the 12-week programme by performing a live show in front of the music mogul last week.
The academy, established by the college and supported by Jobcentre Plus and Cheshire West and Chester Council, aims to give young people the skills and experience to work in the music industry as a promoter, event organiser, DJ, studio engineer or performer.
The students, aged between 16 and 24, performed several music tracks during the live performance and recorded their own album, The Pete Waterman Project, as part of the course.
Darren Evans, 22, from Chester, was one of the students on the programme and said: “I decided to do the course as music has been a big passion for me since I was four years old. I have always wanted the opportunity to be in a band and since joining the programme I have joined three bands.
“In the past 12 weeks I have developed my skills on the bass guitar, had singing lessons, written songs and helped with the recording of our CD.
“Before joining the course I was unemployed and volunteering with the Cheshire Jets basketball team. I have now decided to study Level 2 music practice at the college in September and then I’m hoping to go on to the university.
“The course has changed my life in a big way – it’s given me an opportunity I never thought I would get.”
Adam Newell 18, from Chester, who also completed the project, said: “I decided to join the academy as I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn about the performance side of the music industry.
“I started learning the drums three weeks ago ready for the performance tonight, it’s been intense but I’ve picked it up quite easily.
“We’ve met Pete Waterman a couple of times and he’s a really nice guy. We went to his recording studio in London and he took us on a tour around, which was a really good experience.
“Before the course I was unemployed, but it has given me the confidence and motivation to achieve my dream of being a performer.”
Pete said: “I believe that if you give people an opportunity they will take it. To think that 12 weeks ago these kids had never worked together before is unbelievable as they have achieved a lot and they have so much potential.
“Music is a wonderful tool that can bring people together. Tonight we have seen that this programme has changed the lives of these students.”
For more information on the Pete Waterman Training Academy at West Cheshire College, call the college hotline on 01244 656 555.