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Leeds students with the X-Factor prepare for the final of the Amp Awards

By Claire Schofield and John Blow

The Amp Awards regional final will take place at the O2 Academy in Leeds tonight

The Amp Awards regional final will take place at the O2 Academy in Leeds tonight

Music mogul Simon Cowell may be given a run for his money as nine business teams from across Yorkshire promote the latest musical talent at the AMP Awards final tonight.

Secondary and sixth form pupils from nine Leeds schools will take part in The Association of Music and Promotion Awards (AMP) – a music and enterprise competition which teaches business pupils and band members real-life enterprise skills.

The competition, now in its sixth year, challenges business teams to plan, market and finance a music event and promote a band to represent their school.

AMP Awards director, Marian Farrar, said: “It is a very exciting event. The difference we make is that the students do the work. It isn’t just a battle of the bands competition and we don’t want the teachers to become too involved in the work; we want the ideas to come from the students.”

Nine teams will compete in the final tonight at the O2 Academy in Leeds, which will see each band perform two original songs and each business team will give a presentation to business judges detailing how they prepared for the event.

The business teams taking part in tonight’s final are Boston Spa’s team ‘Fusion’, managing front of house; Ralph Thorseby’s team ‘Hit the Roof’ who have produced the programme; Cockburn’s team ‘Abstract’, in charge of VIPs and sponsors; Wetherby High’s team ‘Serendipity’ will organise the pre-show VIP hospitality; Horsforth’s team ‘Stallion’ together with Allerton High School’s team ‘Arketype’, are responsible for selecting merchandise to sell at the event; West Oak’s team ‘We Can Do Co’, responsible for audience hospitality; Allerton Grange’s team ‘Rebuild’, in charge of graphic design, and finally team ‘Roundhay Roar’ from Roundhay School are responsible for PR and social media marketing.

Stewart McGill, business studies and maths teacher at Ralph Thoresby High School, said:  “It was nice to see there were students with real aspirations to take business further – they understood a little bit more about the financials.

“Clearly for them as students it means they’ve got so much that they can write down on their CVs, but it’s much more than that – it’s about how they’ve been successful and how they’ve taken a project from cradle to grave.”

Business Teams will show  off their enterprise skills at tonight's final

Business Teams will show off their enterprise skills at tonight’s final

This year the AMP Awards have expanded, thanks to support from Youth Music and O2 Think Big, and now operates in Harrogate, Leeds, York and Bradford.

As well as giving the teams excellent hands-on business experience, the awards also present an unprecedented opportunity for young musicians to perform original music on a professional stage in front of a capacity audience of parents, friends and music industry experts.

Marian said: “Students often don’t get enough hands on experience at school so this competition is a great opportunity for them to get real evidence of real life work that they can show to employers. Learning shouldn’t just be about exams, real work experience really matters.”

Project manager and coordinator of the mentor programme, John Fellows, added: “For the business teams, it is the challenge of delivering their event responsibility using initiative and enterprise, meeting the project deadlines and learning that they cannot do either without planning, budgets and collaboration. For the bands, it is the thrill of playing to the best of their abilities in front of a large audience and esteemed music judges, possibly for the first time.”

Three groups from each category can win, with 20 per cent of the results judged by professionals from across the business world and music industry, with the rest being decided by the audience whose choices are published on a live text wall.

The winning business team will be awarded £300 to take back to their school to spend on future enterprise projects, as well as a Business Experience Day organised by O2 Telefonica.

The winning band will get the opportunity to play on the main stage at Galtres Parkland Festival in August, as well as receiving a recording session with online music channel Ont’ Sofa and Czar Studios, a photo shoot at itchyKOO studios in Wetherby and a mentoring  day with guitarist Rich Huxley from Leeds rock band Hope and Social.

Music teacher, Kate Mayger, from Allerton High School said: “Taking part in the AMP Awards has been an exciting experience for our school and the team has shown great independence, creativity and drive in getting to the final. It has been a great learning experience for them.”

Syet Ye Cheung, 17, from Allerton High School’s Team Arketype talks about representing the school for the first time in the AMP Awards final tonight:

Allerton High School business team 'Arketype'

AMP finalists: Allerton High School business team ‘Arketype’

Bands and business groups at Leeds’ O2 Academy speak before the AMP Awards:

The final takes place at the O2 Academy in Leeds tonight at 7pm. For more information about the event visit

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