Business, Innovation and Skills CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by the Paul Rowlands, Arenas Rigging

I picked up this link from a Creative and Cultural skills update which I received today and thought I might be able to offer you some useful feedback with regards Apprenticeships in my sector of the entertainment industry.

I work for the NEC Group and manage a team of nine people who are responsible for the attachment of all high level equipment in five Birmingham venues, the work consists of high hazard activity with responsibility for the safety of not only ourselves and other work colleagues but at times over 15,000 members of the general public.

There is a shortage of competent staff who carry out this activity in our industry worldwide.

For a number of years now I have employed trainees which are funded by the NEC Group, these trainees are given thousands of pounds worth of training and assessments before being introduced into our wider industry where due to shortages in our field, work is plentiful.

In short:

I’m taking young people off the dole.

I’m training them to the highest standards.

They are guaranteed (providing they have the right attitude of course) to step straight into employment and have a successful career for life.

What is Not Working

Because rigging (the single most high risk discipline in our industry) is not recognised in its own right, I cannot get funding to support an increased number of trainees, does not sit as it should be in creative apprentice frameworks but is tagged on to another discipline which at best does not work and at worst is outright dangerous.

I do hope that you find my feedback of interest.

Please feel free to contact me with any queries that you might have.

20 January 2012

Prepared 5th November 2012