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PRESS RELEASE: DECLARE YOUR INTEREST! ABTT LAUNCHES SUPPORT FOR CREATIVE APPRENTICESHIPS

11/06/2013 13:06 HRS

New industry-backed scheme announced at ABTT Show

The Association of British Theatre Technicians today announces its new ABTT Training Package for Creative Apprenticeships with the call, “Declare your interest!” The Association is asking  anyone – would be apprentices, as well as  employers interested in hosting apprenticeships- to declare their interest in being part of the new scheme.

The catalyst for ABTT’s Training Package has been the apprenticeship programme of entertainment lighting supplier White Light. The company has grown its programme from the ground up over the past few years and recently shared its expertise with members of Skillscene, the industry forum for strategic consultation and initiative. The resulting discussions led to collaboration with the ABTT, who’s well established and widely recognised training courses form the industry standard. Combining skills based training and the resources of the ABTT with work experiences of apprenticeship is the best way for the industry to benefit from the interest and enthusiasm of the next generation of technical theatre practitioners

The ABTT Training Package will provide a standardised and industry recognised training element for apprentices. With the inclusion of this new training element, apprenticeships in the entertainment technology industry will provide both formal qualifications and a wide variety of real-world experiences.

Each one year apprenticeship will comprise of working for an employer in the industry, work experiences elsewhere in the industry, and training courses. Courses will cover stage lighting, stage sound, automation, rigging, pyrotechnics, health and safety, access equipment, CAD and video, with many of the courses taught by experienced industry practitioners who are based in or work with the host employers.

In addition to EDI Level 2 NVQ plus non-industry qualifications such as City & Guilds, apprentices will now be able to take courses that form the ABTT Bronze and Silver awards. This allows them to share a common path through ABTT training with many of the established technicians in the industry, providing invaluable contacts and experiences.

The ABTT seeks to administer the scheme and will appoint a new Apprenticeships Administrator to oversee all aspects of the Training Package. Apprentices will be recruited in conjunction with Creative and Cultural Skills and the associated colleges as is already the practice. Those employers taking on apprentices may also qualify for a grant to support the apprentice’s work.

“We’ve had some great apprentices at White Light, who have not only learnt a lot themselves but have been invaluable to us,” explains Bryan Raven, Managing Director of White Light and Chairman of Skillscene, the industry forum which has hosted and led the discussions behind the creation of the new collaboration. “We were aware, though, that there was no ‘standardisation’ in the way different organisations were using or training their apprentices. This new scheme is a great solution, giving apprentices a fantastic foundation for their careers. It is also a great way for employers to judge the level of training and experience that potential future employees will have obtained during their apprenticeship.”

“This new Training Package promises to be a further chapter in the long, proud history of ABTT Training,” comments ABTT Chairman Mark White. “It will see the Association not just supporting the work of existing technicians, as it has always done, but fostering and nurturing a whole new generation of backstage practitioners as they learn from hands-on experience, from the experience of their co-workers and from some of the most respected practitioners in the various fields of entertainment technology. We believe this is the best way to ensure we continue to attract talented individuals into the industry who will be essential in maintaining the UK at the forefront of the technical art of theatre”

Plans for the ABTT Training Package are firmly in place, but to be finalised  the Association needs to know which employers – theatres, manufacturers, suppliers or other industry organisations – are interested in hosting apprenticeships, and how many people are interested in becoming apprentices. To that end, the ABTT are asking all those interested to find out more and sign up to become part of the scheme at the ABTT’s stand (stand 83 in the Green Hall) at this year’s ABTT Theatre Show, which takes place on Wednesday and Thursday this week (June 12th and 13th) at the Old Truman Brewery in London’s Brick Lane. Further information about the show can be found at www.abtttheatreshow.org.uk.

“We hope that this scheme will allow the industry to do even more to help itself,” comments Bryan Raven, “creating the next generation of highly skilled technicians that the world’s increasingly complex productions demand.” For anyone interested in either being an apprentice or taking on apprentices (or simply offering work experience for the next generation) please contact the ABTT via office@abtt.org.uk

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