Operation England: the future of the sector and the next generation

Meet Anja England, an intern teaching assistant at the Music Learning Collective (MLC). Anja’s role involves teaching students up to year 6, delivering personalised 1-2-1 and small group tuition.

England’s responsibilities extend to creating music pieces and informative videos, contributing to the Discover and Explore Arts Award, and engaging in administrative duties vital for the success of her role. Anja’s training revolves around MLC’s pillars of safe people, safe environments, and safe practice.

In addition to teaching, Anja collaborates with her colleague George to create resources for MLC’s online learning materials. Their latest composition, titled ‘The Antarctic of Monkeys,’ features piano, drum, bass, and guitar parts for a debut-grade rendition of “Do I Wanna Know?” by the Arctic Monkeys.

Anja’s involvement extends beyond teaching, as she actively participates in MLC concerts, taking on various roles to ensure the events run smoothly. From selling MLC merchandise to acting as a runner, Anja’s dedication shines through. At the Christmas concert, she not only ensured the logistics ran seamlessly but also performed on stage, showcasing her piano skills in support of two drummers.

The Army Cadet Connection

Anja and Paul attend the same ACF unit in Nottinghamshire. Paul first recognised Anja’s musical talents at an ACF event in 2022. A year later, MLC had developed its internship programme which launched in September of 2023. Following an interview with Steve McCabe, the Director of Operations, Anja secured her role as an intern teaching assistant with Paul being able to vouch for her character and reliability to the team at MLC Nottingham.

Love and Admiration for MLC

Anja’s affection for MLC is palpable. She describes her experience at MLC over the past three months as inspiring. The company’s values of inclusivity, accessibility, and creating a relaxed and fun learning environment resonate with her. Anja highlights the refreshing departure from her past experiences of learning music solely for grades. At MLC, the focus is on playing for the love of the instrument, encouraging freedom of expression and building self-confidence.

The people at MLC, according to Anja, contribute significantly to the company’s vibrant culture. Her colleagues are described as passionate, creative, and supportive individuals. Witnessing the collective achievements at the Christmas concert, Anja recognised the impact not only on students but also on the teachers. The shared joy, pride, and sense of achievement showcased the family-like atmosphere fostered by MLC.

Aspirations and Contributions

Anja aspires to create a space filled with love for music and learning, where her students feel supported and confident in their musical journey. She hopes to be a valued asset to the MLC team, supporting the company’s growth and contributing to new ideas. Anja’s overarching goal is to share her love for music and make a positive difference in everyone’s musical journey.

The Cadet Influence

Anja’s role as a Cadet Sjt (Serjeant) has significantly contributed to her integration at MLC. The values instilled in the Army Cadet Force, including courage, discipline, respect for others, integrity, loyalty, and selfless commitment, align seamlessly with MLC’s principles. Over her two years as a cadet, Anja has gained transferable skills such as confidence, maturity, responsibility, teamwork, motivation, time-management, and resilience.

Her role as a Cadet Sjt includes supporting and developing younger cadets, teaching lessons, and undertaking various responsibilities. Completing the Junior Cadet Instructor Cadre (JCIC) has equipped Anja with the skills needed to deliver well-structured lessons tailored to individual learning needs. These skills have proven invaluable in her role at MLC, reinforcing the mutual benefits of her cadet experience and MLC integration.

Anja’s Role in MLC’s Vision

As a Community Interest Company (C.I.C.), MLC is dedicated to inclusivity and accessibility, striving to make music education available to as many people as possible. Anja’s role perfectly aligns with MLC’s vision by contributing to the creation of a music-centred pathway that inspires, enlightens, and enables the community, known as the Collective.

Tier 4 Internship Initiative: Fostering Growth and Inclusivity

The Tier 4 Internship Initiative at MLC addresses specific needs within the business, aligning with its vision and values while fostering the growth and development of individuals. This initiative recognises the importance of cultivating talent, bringing fresh perspectives into the company, and providing opportunities for skill development.

Anja’s role as part of the Tier 4 internship initiative seamlessly aligns with MLC’s commitment to inclusivity and skill development. Emphasising that “Everyone is welcome at the MLC,” the initiative supports a diverse environment where individuals from various backgrounds can contribute and thrive. The incorporation of Communities of Practice (CoPs) further enhances collaboration and knowledge exchange among interns and existing team members.

Training Anja: A Holistic Approach

Anja’s training at MLC takes a holistic approach, encompassing onboarding, managerial guidance, specialised courses, and alignment with organisational values. The onboarding program focuses on safe people, safe environments, and safe practices, instilling a sense of responsibility and safety.

Anja’s manager plays a crucial role in her training journey, serving as a guide and mentor. This one-on-one relationship fosters a sense of belonging and ensures a tailored learning experience. Anja has completed a level 2 safeguarding qualification and is working towards a Level 3 teaching qualification course, equipping her with the pedagogical skills required for her role.

A Cadence of Success

Anja’s integration with MLC reflects not just an employment transaction but a mutually beneficial relationship. Her journey signifies personal and professional growth, with MLC providing a platform for development beyond immediate employment. The Tier 4 Internship Initiative has successfully nurtured talent and aligned with MLC’s vision of inclusivity, continuous learning, and innovation.


CEO, Paul Hose expresses immense pride in Anja’s remarkable qualities and contributions to MLC. Her role extends beyond a transaction, embodying a commitment to providing a platform for personal and professional growth. MLC’s goal is not merely for Anja to ‘turn up’ to work but to create an environment that enhances her skills, qualifications, and self-worth. Anja’s journey at MLC showcases the profound impact of a supportive work environment on an individual’s holistic development.

The Music Learning Collective, through its innovative vision, dedicated team, and nurturing environment, continues to support it’s community one beat at a time. Anja’s story is just one note in the symphony of success that the MLC orchestrates, creating a lasting and positive impact on individuals and communities alike.

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