Elisha Two Years On: How RFF’s First BT Trainee Became a Successful Music Producer

Two years ago, Elisha lacked direction and motivation – he wasn’t in education and struggled to get enthusiastic about work. He had always been passionate about music but felt that following a career in the industry was too challenging.

When Elisha found out about the BT Work Ready programme in March 2017, he decided to give it a go. He struggled working in classroom settings so thought that the opportunity to work off-site and shadow BT staff would help him build a routine and maybe open up engineering as a possible career route. “I wasn’t doing anything with my life,” he says. “I felt like I had nothing to lose by trying something new and local to me and I wanted to get hands on skills and experience.”

“I wasn’t doing anything with my life… I felt like I had nothing to lose by trying something new…”

On the 13 week programme, Elisha learned the ins and outs of a BT engineer’s role. In a team with his BT mentor, John, he learned about fitting landlines, fixing faults and interacting with customers. Elisha says, “Working outside and learning on the job was brilliant for me. I found my mentor’s job really interesting – going out to fit internet was only a small part. I learned about how important customer service and chatting to people is – I’d forgotten a lot of social skills because I would just sit at home and listen to music all the time.”

Completing the traineeship in June 2017, Elisha regained his motivation. The positive role models at BT encouraged him to pursue his dreams of becoming a music producer and solo artist. “The BT traineeship has given me the self-belief and motivation to go for what I always wanted and my family are incredibly proud of me,” he says.

“The BT traineeship has given me the self-belief and motivation to go for what I always wanted.”

By 2018, Elisha was producing his own music under the name LISHPROD. Only one year after his traineeship, he had his music played on BBC1extra Radio, played live performances at festivals such as Reading and Leeds, joined Charlie Sloth on tour in Leeds and Liverpool, and played the Warehouse Project in Manchester. “I know if I hadn’t pushed myself out of my comfort zone with BT, I would never have picked up the phone to start making connections in the music industry,” he says.

Now, in 2019, Elisha has his own production company, ‘Lish Productions Limited’, and owns a music studio in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. He is producing music alongside some exciting artists and making money as his music is played, downloaded and streamed. With DJ bookings, live performances and working in the studio, Elisha is kept busy. “I’m going for interviews to speak about next steps with my music, I’m collaborating with other artists and I’ve been invited to play live at festivals. I can’t believe this has happened!”

“I’m collaborating with other artists and I’ve been invited to play live at festivals. I can’t believe this has happened!”

Elisha has now decided to go back to study and will be attending Arden University in Coventry to study a degree in Criminology and Psychology this September. “Music is still my passion and I will continue to work in this industry alongside my studies,” he says. “I want to study to develop my knowledge and use my life experiences to help those wrongly accused, passing my learning on and providing support to people who need it most.

“I never usually have time to look back and reflect on where I started two years ago but I’ve definitely come a long way! I always wanted to work for myself and I know that the life skills and confidence I gained from the BT Work Ready programme helped me to start my career and take those first steps into work.”

The Rio Ferdinand Foundation extend special thanks to BT for their partnership and support with the Work Ready Programme.