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Young Technicians switch on career plans at Lighthouse

Young Technicians switch on career plans at Lighthouse

UK - A revolutionary new learning programme for young people at Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts, Young Technicians has been hailed as a great success and a valuable experience that has improved participants’ chances of working in the industry.

The course is part of the innovative Young Programmers scheme at the heart of Lighthouse’s learning and participation strategy that over the next four years aims to develop the next generation of talented arts practitioners.

The first intake recently completed a six-month pilot making use of the existing workforce at Lighthouse to gain creative, hands-on learning experiences.

“It was a unique and fulfilling experience that you don’t get in many other places,” said one Young Technician. Another added: “The best part was the freedom and opportunity to put what we had been learning into practice, it allowed us to test ourselves and to be involved in a creative show.”

The programme set out to develop technical theatre skills in lighting, sound and stage management by gaining supported hands-on experience with specialised in-house technicians in areas including basic health and safety, electricals, flying and working at height, sound desk operation, knots and splicing, basic lighting design and desk operation, effects and pyrotechnics and an introduction to stage management.

The wider aim was to stimulate the participants’ interest in the arts, improve employment prospects, engage further with Lighthouse and develop their social skills and networks.

The programme was delivered in 18 two-hour weekly sessions followed by a 12-hour day in the Concert Hall preparing the final event, a live music concert programmed, promoted, equipped, staged and managed by the Young Programmers courses.

Selected by interview all eleven Young Technicians were in full-time education and attended every weekly session. Nine members of the group paid the full £130 cost of the course with hardship grants of £100 and £60 made available to the other two.

After the final event the Young Technicians all said they were more interested in the arts, had learned new skills, made new friends, felt happier and would recommend Lighthouse to friends, with 90 per cent saying they were more interested in pursuing a career in the arts and agreeing the course had improved other areas of their education.

Libby Battaglia, Lighthouse learning and artist development, comments: “It is such a thrill for our learning team at Lighthouse to see young people so engaged and excited about working behind the scenes as well as our technicians having the opportunity to share their wealth of knowledge and experience. Our volunteers supporting the programme also said how much they learnt during the programme which shows us the depth of engagement and is immensely satisfying for us as one of the cultural leaders in the region.”

Young Programmers aims to help create a skilled, motivated and experienced workforce for arts organisations in the South West region, although there is enormous potential to replicate the scheme in other areas of the UK.

As well as Young Technicians, courses were also run for Young Writers, Reviewers and Music Programmers with a total of 40 young people aged 14 to 30 taking part in the pilot programme.

30th June 2016

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