Songwriter Andy Skinner from Bangor, Northern Ireland, has been confirmed as the first Ivor Novello Scholar and will have his fees paid to study TheWRD from The Ivors Academy.
TheWRD is a new Access to Higher Education Diploma in Creative Entrepreneurship with backing from some of the biggest names in music including Oscar-winning producer Paul Epworth, Ivor Novello Award-winning songwriters Jamie Hartman and Celeste, Fellow of The Ivors Academy Peter Gabriel and 2022 Rising Star Ivor Novello Award winner Naomi Kimpenu.
There are 100 scholarships available for students from low-income households across the UK. Scholarship applications must be in by September 23 to start TheWRD course this autumn.
Skinner, who has a condition called spondyloarthritis that causes pain and affects his mobility, said:
“I’ve been writing music since the mid ‘90s where almost everyone I knew played an instrument and wanted to be in bands. I managed acts, promoted gigs and was in many bands, only for a condition called spondyloarthritis to stop me in my tracks in my 20s. I couldn't play music anymore and the passion for the business had left me. About five years ago through new medications, I was able to start playing music again and found myself getting the passion for music back.
“I can see the potential pathways that TheWRD could open up for me and that does not look like anything I thought would be possible without the programme. Due to disability and limits that are put on me elsewhere, it feels like TheWRD wants to let me fly.”