We are excited to welcome Angie Berwick, Programme Leader for Events and Technical Theatre at Cheshire College, as our Production Futures Education Ambassador.
What first got you into education?
“My personal experience of training in technical theatre was in an FE college and I loved every minute. The teachers all worked in the industry and gave an insight that to this day has served me well and inspired me. So, when I had the opportunity to train others back at the college I had trained in I was honoured and from there I decided to make sure everyone’s journey was like mine and led to employment in the industry.”
Why is education so vital in forming careers?
“Live events as a whole is the most amazing industry to be in, it is exciting, innovative, diverse and requires resilience and the ability to deal with high pressure situations. Education provides a safe environment in which learners can harness and develop skills to cope with the demands of the industry, while comprehending the responsibilities and dynamics of the workplace and getting to grips with technology and systems. The other key area is familiarising learners with risk assessment and enabling them to become safe working practitioners so that they can carry this into the industry. Education should provide the wrap-around support to help learners grow and develop at their pace in safe spaces so that when ready they can enter the job market as well-rounded technicians who an employer can then continue to shape and develop.”
What is your priority stepping into the education ambassador role?
“Heightening the importance and real need at this time to resolve the skills shortage that has been intensified by COVID. There is no better time to open discussions with awarding bodies, funding agencies, colleges, universities and employers to create qualifications recognised by all that provide a robust standard for the industry. While sharing the voices of students past and present who have varied journeys to success is also paramount to understanding the needs of our future technicians.”
What advice would you offer to younger people wanting to enter the industry?
“As long as you have a strong desire and enthusiasm to work in this industry even if you have no knowledge or skills go for it! Find a course, join a youth theatre, talk to people at gigs or events (or if you are not confident yet don’t worry – send an email to your local college and I am sure someone will get back to you) and most importantly kick start your journey. All good courses work with employers to teach you everything you need to know, providing you with industry employment opportunities after completion, all you need is enthusiasm and passion – which no one can teach. As long as you bring these two things anything is possible.”
What are you looking forward to in 2024 for Production Futures?
“Opening conversation and raising awareness of the importance of this industry, the inherent skills gaps and staff shortages; to find solutions that will enable employers, education providers and awarding bodies to make positive changes that will strengthen the current offer.”