Staging Connections Partners with Service Skills SA to Train Next-Gen in Events

South Australia is making strong head-way to reclaim its title as “The Festival State”, a slogan you may have noticed proudly printed on their number plates. Last week Staging Connections participated in the second round of the Adelaide Events Crew: Skills Intensive – a training initiative funded through the Strategic Employment Fund from the Department of State Development and designed and facilitated by Service Skills SA with the support of Festivals Adelaide.

According to Event Consultant, Hayley Horton, the role of the training intensive is to provide the necessary education and skills to enter the events industry with the added support of realistic job opportunities at the end. With 80% of students from the first round (trained at AC Arts) gaining employment as a direct result, it’s clear the initiative is already a success. Staging Connections’ Safety and Training Manager, Andrew Thorne, says, by supporting this training initiative it shows the government recognises the long term benefits of investing in up-skilling the market and providing real opportunities to work in the Adelaide events industry.

In the second round of the training intensive, held at the Hotel Grand Chancellor Adelaide, 40 students received practical training from industry leaders. Staging Connections provided training across four key services areas – audio, vision, lighting and staging. In addition, the training armed them with the prerequisite licenses such as Forklift ticket, Elevated Work Platform, First Aid and a White Card – all paid for by the government.

When Staging Connections were approached to deliver technical training, we jumped at the chance. Leveraging our RTO [Registered Training Organisation] training programs, meant we were able to develop technical modules, giving participants the opportunity to learn the basics from our technical experts,” Mr Thorne says.

According to Ms Horton, partnering with Staging Connections enabled them to give the students practical, hands-on, industry led training.

“Staging Connections enabled access to a major event at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre during rehearsals so the students could be exposed to “behind the scenes” of a major event and see what is involved from a technical perspective.”

“They [Staging Connections] even allowed the students to set up all the equipment and staging for the Employers Panel day under the guidance of experts, which is invaluable experience,” she continued to say.

In the last week of the intensive, students were treated to an Employers Panel. Comprised of industry leaders across various fields, they shared different insights into what the industry is like and career progression possibilities. The panel was attended by Gair Bethley, Organisational Development Manager for the Adelaide Convention Centre; Hugh Covill, Head of Programming at the Adelaide Fringe Festival; Staging Connections, Operations Manager, Tatu Murch-Lempinen, General Manager of SA, WA and NT, Ashley Gabriel, in addition to other individuals working in the events industry.

According to Mr Gabriel, “the [Employers Panel] gave students the opportunity to hear different career paths by established event professionals, what employers expect and what would enhance their employability. It was a fantastic way to “give back” to the industry and share our stories to hopefully inspire the students to pursue their passion.”

The Adelaide Events Crew Skills Intensive is one of many government funded projects aimed at reviving the events and entertainment industry in SA. Over the past few years the government has focused on plans to redevelop the Torrens Riverbank area, which included a $600million Adelaide Oval upgrade, the $2.1 billion build of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, a $350m casino redevelopment and the $396m rebuild of the ­Adelaide Convention Centre. The Riverbank is now the focus of attracting new and improved events to South Australia which in turn puts pressure on existing resources.

Off the back of the success of the first two rounds of the government funded training intensive, Service Skills SA and Staging Connections are already discussing the possibility of gaining funding for a third round later this year.

Mr Gabriel says, “We are thrilled to be involved and help foster more Event Crew for an industry that has a widely accepted skills shortage. This is something every state should offer.”

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