Maven VCTs invest £1.1m in WaterBear Education
Maven has completed a £1.1 million VCT investment in WaterBear Education Ltd (WaterBear), a private higher education college which provides a range of Master of Arts (MA) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree courses across the creative industries in partnership with the University of Chichester. The funds will be used to set up and roll out WaterBear’s primary campus in Brighton and support the opening of additional campus locations in the future.
WaterBear’s industry-relevant creative degree courses, which offer bachelor and masters qualifications for musicians, artists and entrepreneurs, will be accredited and validated by the University of Chichester. Its innovative syllabus delivers a blended learning programme, combining both online and on site learning, with a key emphasis on preparing students for employment, developing contacts and opportunities and offering work placements within industry as an integral part of the courses.
The curriculum aims to address the fundamental shift which has taken place across the creative industries driven by the digital age and rework out-dated teaching methods which have seen limited innovation over the past decade. The courses are designed to be industry relevant, tailor-made for creative industry professionals, and include increased one-to-one tutorials and smaller group discussions than traditional classroom models. The highly focussed blended and real-world work offering is expected to resonate in a market that has had limited innovation over the last decade.
The creative industries have a large addressable market for these degree programmes, with students increasingly looking at alternative education providers which offer a more vocational curriculum and stronger links to the relevant industries than mainstream universities.
WaterBear’s senior management team, led by Bruce John Dickinson, includes established touring musicians and recording artists with strong links in the wider music industry. The team has a proven track record having previously worked for the largest providers of private music education and founded the British and Irish Institute of Modern Music (BIMM), which pioneered the music education industry and grew to become the most successful private education provider in the UK. BIMM now supports over 6,000 students per annum, and thousands of its students have since gone on to graduate, with many enjoying successful careers in all areas of the music industry.
The creative industries MA and BA courses are now open for enrolment and are due to commence in September 2018.
“The WaterBear management team has identified a substantial gap in the market to offer industry specific degree courses in the creative sector to support its greatest talents and ensure that students are able to capitalise on these skills in the workplace. There has been limited innovation in creative industries higher education over past 10 years, but Bruce and the team have a proven track record in delivering highly popular, successful vocational degree courses, providing a strong academic foundation to support students in their future careers.”
Dale Bellis, Investment Manager at Maven
“We are delighted to have secured the support of Maven to enable us to open the first campus in Brighton and help deliver the education and skills that our creative industries need. The investment team at Maven demonstrated an immediate understanding of our business model and has been hugely supportive from the outset. We look forward to working with Dale and the team over the coming years as we strive to redefine the model for creative industry education.”
Bruce Dickinson, Founding Director at WaterBear