Luke Stubbins, Technical Theatre

 17 October 2012

Luke is a technical theatre apprentice working on lighting, rigging and sound at Birmingham Hippodrome.

Working as a technical theatre apprentice

The role involves working closely with the other technical staff to develop lighting design and co-ordinate and handle equipment, as well as learning the basics of setting up, assembling and rigging equipment for live performances.

For someone like Luke, who dreams of being a set designer, it's an ideal way to get to know the realities of the industry.

Getting into technical theatre

"I learnt about this apprenticeship completely by chance at a Connexions centre," Luke tols us.

"I had the opportunity to go to university, but I wanted to get an insight into the creative industries first"

"I was studying for a National Diploma in Art & Design at the time. When I finished that I got a summer job doing some construction work. 

But while I was at school I had taken part in a bit of drama and it gave me a real love and feel for theatre work.

"Although I had the opportunity to go to university, I thought getting an insight into the creative industries would be a real bonus - and perhaps help me when I was ready to look for a job."

Thoughts on apprenticeships

Luke had actually originally applied for a role at the Hippodrome in 2009, without success, so getting onto the apprenticeship was great for him - and it's helped him learn new skills.

"The best thing about being an apprentice is that you can get a qualification and practical on-the-job skills at the same time. And if you want to, you can still go on to university afterwards - or find a job with the new skills you've learned."

Training and recruitment

Before his apprenticeship, Luke said he hoped to learn as many skills as possible. "I want to take in as much as I can - the ideal would be to be taken on as a full-time employee after I finish."

Today Birmingham Hippodrome's apprenticeship programme is a fully-developed training and recruitment route.

"We like it because it lets us train someone up to our standards and ensure they're right for the business when they start a full-time role," said its HR team.

"Since getting involved with this experience we have taken on apprentices in box office, catering and most recently in technical theatre positions.

"It's had a real knock-on effect: managers have seen how well having an apprentice works in one department and requested an apprentice for their own.’

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