Introducing DiVA Apprenticeships
Founded by Arit Eminue in 2011, DiVA is an apprenticeship provider for both business and creative talent across the UK that's helped hundreds of young people start their careers in the creative industries.
Historically, breaking into the creative industries has been tough. Arit Eminue tells us how a proactive approach, passion for the industry and an all-round good attitude will help you land that dream placement.
DiVA was formed in 2011 by Arit Eminue, with the stated intent of becoming ‘the first-choice independent apprenticeship provider for both business and creative talent across the UK’ and has helped literally hundreds of young people to start their careers in the creative and business industries. Today DiVA is the go-to place for many music business employers seeking new and fresh apprenticeship and intern talent and has a high-end and credible reputation within the educational and training sector – indeed, Arit was a speaker at the recent ICMP Reboot conference on a panel looking at the topic of work experience and Internship in Music Business Education.
We recently spoke with Arit about DiVA, what qualities go into make a good apprentice in the music business and a bit of practical interviewing advice when going for that first placement...
Please can you tell us a bit about DiVA, your award-winning recruitment and training company - who is DiVA?
DiVA essentially helps people take ownership of their careers, whether through employment, entrepreneurship or a mixture of both. We do this in two key ways:
Recruitment and training specialising in business, creative and digital apprenticeships. Clients in the DiVA family include All3 Media, Universal Music, Fremantle, Sony Music, BBC Worldwide, PPL, UK Music, BPI, OMD, Southbank Centre, PRS, Domino Records, Dawbell, Warner Music and a host of other well-known brands.
Leadership development workshops & coaching: one-to-one or group workshops designed to help individuals move up or across in their career or establish their own business. I also have a YouTube channel packed with interview tips and career advice.
You organise a lot of apprenticeship schemes in the music and entertainment industry – The BPI, Universal Music, Warners and the UK Music Industry Trade Association - what are the top 3 attributes that you are looking for in selecting potential candidates for these placements?
Firstly, a good attitude – anyone can teach you the skills you need to do a job, but if your attitude is jacked up, you stifle your growth and become a liability to a business rather than an asset.
Second, a demonstrable passion for a career in the music industry – so many people say they are “passionate about a career in the music industry” yet have done little to nothing to demonstrate that passion. Passion manifests itself in action. We all have access to free tools and information that can help us get started. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not about having a blog with 10,000 subscribers. Rather simply setting up a blog where you post regularly or attend gigs or networking events frequently, for example, all make a difference.
Another great quality is ‘proactivity’ – doing what you’re asked to do is the first step. Going beyond the call of duty is what sets you apart.
In any interview situation for a work experience or intern position, what do you think are the most important messages that the interviewee needs to get over to the interviewer?
An understanding of what the company they have applied for does and its position in the market-place (this goes beyond reading and regurgitating the ‘about us’ page on the company website).
Confidence in the skills and experiences they bring to the role, including transferable skills.) Note: confidence is different to arrogance.
Intelligent questions that help the interviewee get under the hood of the business and job opportunity they have applied to. I can always tell the quality of a candidate’s research and genuine interest in the company by the questions they ask. Remember, interviews are a conversation between two parties, not an interrogation of one party into another.
Diversity and gender balance are now very much on the agenda when discussing workforce and employment topics in music. You are very close to the reality of this, how do you think this is progressing in terms of actual placements?
As a minority-owned and managed business, diversity has always been front and centre of what we do and who we are. Discrimination is a distraction, designed to prevent you from realising your full potential. Our focus, therefore, is less on what others may or may not be doing, but on what we can do to ensure we push the needle in the correct direction.
You founded DiVA in 2011 and have helped literally 100s of young people to begin their careers. When you began, what were your ambitions and where do you want to take DiVA in the next 10 years?
My reason for being is to help people realise their full potential. DiVA is one way I get to do this. Having had the benefit of excellent film education at the NFTS, Europe’s leading film school, and seeing how doors opened because of the NFTS brand when I started DiVA, I wanted anyone who came through DiVA to experience the same “fairy dust” effect. From the outset, I was a “DiVA” about who I wanted to work with and still am! I chose to work with brands who were established names in the industry, did excellent work, thus ensuring if a job was not available at the end, the talent who pass through DiVA would have a well-known brand on their CV that would make building their career that bit easier. Plus, I always wanted to run my own business and I wanted to make enough money to pay my bills, have money left over, go on holiday when I wanted and buy nice shoes. I like nice shoes. If all goes to plan, ten years from now, DiVA will be running without me and I’ll be doing what I love to do somewhere hot!
Taking off your DiVA hat for the moment, as simply a fan and music lover; what was the first (and most recent) record that you can remember purchasing?
First Album; ‘Whitney’ by Whitney Houston and obsessing now over an oldie but goodie, ‘What’s the 411’ by Mary J Blige.
The first/last concert that you attended?
First concert ever attended – Bros! in full costume i.e. braces, bandana and Grolsch bottle tops on my pods!
Who do you think has done most to take music forward in the last 10 years?
Oh, that’s a tough one. I admire what Beyoncé has done with her career. She has taken ownership of her work from a creative and business perspective. Few artists control their narrative, have their audience and the industry in the palm of their hands like she does.
Thanks for your time Arit. ICMP loves what you’re doing and keep up the great work... DiVA can be found on https://www.divaapprenticeships.com/
Author: Julian Wall
Julian has worked at a range of record labels and industry organisations, in a career spanning several decades in the music industry. He was Director Independent Labels Membership at the BPI 2007-2012, VP International Marketing at The Sanctuary Group (Iron Maiden’s long-time management company) and held a variety of marketing, sales and promotion roles at Sony Records (RCA & Arista labels) and Universal Music (MCA & Phonogram Records). More recently, he was Head of Industry Relations, Press and PR at PledgeMusic, but left that company in 2018 pursuing a range of consultancy roles and freelance projects in music-related areas.