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AV Apprentice – You’re Hired!

Our AV/IT Sales Manager, Sarah Page took part in the recent InfoComm Roundtable debate at the Centre and shares her thoughts on how AV apprentices can be a valuable asset in your workplace:

When you mention the word apprentice I automatically think "something my dad and uncle did". For example, I associate it with mechanics, engineers and builders but not necessarily the Audio Visual world. Could it work? As a client, would I be happy that an apprentice was working on my event? Is it a risk that we, as a quality driven service provider, are willing to take? Would I have done one, given the opportunity?

These were the initial questions that crossed my mind when QEII Centre hosted the most recent InfoComm Roundtable event. Having taken the University route, studying a BA (Hons) in Theatre Performance Technology at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, apprenticeships have always been a very interesting subject to me.

So, are these apprenticeships up to standard? How do they compare to a three year degree?  The open discussions at the Roundtable considered the issues, hurdles and drawbacks to hiring apprentices alongside the benefits, advantages and rewards. Whilst we heard many success stories of current apprenticeships we were also able to voice our concerns for relevant accreditation and certification.

The AV industry is complex and ever evolving with a variety of specialist areas. An AV integrator or installer for example would require a completely different set of skills to a theatre or conference technician. If the correct skills are not taught, the apprenticeship becomes useless and unrecognised by the industry. But get it right and we have the perfect entry level training and qualification for our industry. An industry which itself admits needs new, young blood, fresh ideas and insights.

Would I hire an AV apprentice? Yes, but with caution. A successful apprenticeship course must be tailored for the working environment and it's appropriate skill set. Additionally we must consider the impact upon the current working environment including health and safety, safe working practices, scheduling, training time etc. Can we feasibly accommodate an apprentice without stretching our resources? Are we able to continue to maintain our excellent reputation as a quality service provider with an apprentice under our wing?

Have you ever hired an apprentice, or are you thinking about it? Why not share your thoughts with us on Twitter @TheQEIICC

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