A tower of learning

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At the top of one of Liverpool’s most iconic and tallest landmarks, The Bauer Academy runs a range of exciting media-based training projects with schools across Merseyside.

Educate went along to The Radio City Tower to find out more about the innovative workshops taking place more than 450ft above our heads.

The original purpose of The Bauer Academy when it first began was to discover the next writers, presenters and producers for Bauer Media Group – the multimedia giant which owns Radio City, a network of local and radio stations around the world, and magazines like ‘Heat’ and ‘Grazia’.

Very quickly however, The Bauer Academy started to operate industry-based training delivered by media experts with a number of different partners including the Prince’s Trust and the Big Lottery Fund.

“We are now so much more than a media training academy” says Hilary Pickering, from The Bauer Academy team who has worked for Bauer Media, and its predecessor Emap, for 24 years.

“Attendees to an Academy workshop can explore whatever the subject is – documenting it through video, radio adverts or photographs.

“We use our everyday to try and embed learning and inspire people. Media is the vehicle, but the output can be anything.”
On the day of Educate’s visit to the tower, a marketing masterclass funded by Unilever was taking place with expert insight provided by industry professionals including a radio presenter, a producer, a content controller, a journalist and a script writer.

The workshop was based around The Dove Self-Esteem Project, which aims to ensure the next generation grows up enjoying a positive relationship with the way they look. Pupils from West Kirby Grammar School were taken through the Self-Esteem programme with added media “bells and whistles” like audio recording, presentation techniques, and ultimately, radio advert production.

“What’s great is that instead of a 40 year old creating an advertising campaign to target 14/15 year olds – the target market who are living and breathing that world create the content’, developing radio ads, video and digital content created by the target audience for people like them” says Hilary.

Another recent project the Academy ran was with Merseyside Police. Working with nine schools, the ‘Merseyside is Bright’ programme aims to build the aspirations of young people and raise awareness around the dangers of being involved with gangs, guns and knives.

The students created a whole raft of content which was shared via radio adverts, social media channels and back in school through special assemblies.

A programme the Academy runs a lot with young people is ‘Brand Me’, which is designed to get young people to look at what they stand for and what makes them their ‘brand’.

“We get them to think about how they articulate the skills that they’ve learnt through hobbies,” says Hilary.

“So if they’ve been in a football team since the age of three, what does that mean? It shows that they are committed, possess good communication skills and can lead and be led.”

As well as teaching young people media skills which are increasingly essential in whatever career they may hope to pursue, one of the Academy’s most rewarding functions is its ability to build confidence in attendees.

“It’s amazing when you put a microphone in front of somebody how they blossom,” adds Hilary.

“We’ve had instances where young people come in and they won’t give you eye contact, but by the end of the week they are presenting a radio show.”

To find out more about The Bauer Academy contact Hilary Pickering:

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