Rigging industry in the UK launches new Trailblazer apprenticeships

UK: David Cameron has announced the government approval of 59 group standards for ‘Trailblazer’ apprenticeships, as part of its commitment to supporting three million new apprentices in the UK by 2020. Supported by key industry experts, this new initiative launches the first apprenticeship as a Live Events Rigger, the development of which has been facilitated by NRAG (National Rigging Advisory Group).

Representatives from leading industry employers formed the NRAG working group. In April 2015 the standard was agreed by the Government Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) to be put forward to lead the rigging apprenticeship initiative, assisting other companies to do the same through the provision of structured opportunities to young individuals interested in a career in rigging.

Key rigging industry leaders already committed to supporting the Trailblazer initiative include Blackout, PSI Production Ireland, Chris Higgs, NEC Group, UK Rigging, Unusual Rigging, Production Resource Group UK, Outback Rigging, Star Events, Rigging Services, Knight Rigging Services, Gallowglass Crew, Affinity Crew and Neon Arena Services.

Minister for Skills, Nick Boles outlines “Businesses are better placed than anyone to train the next generation of workers and will help us deliver 3 million high-quality apprenticeships by 2020. By designing apprenticeships, organisations like the National Rigging Advisory Group and the employers they represent are ensuring that young talented people develop the skills needed to progress up the career ladder and help drive businesses forward.”

The NEC Group’s Learning & Development consultant, Claire Hawker, said: “There are only 600 event riggers in England with the demand often far outweighing supply at certain times of year, we recognise that the future of the trade is reliant on fresh talent coming up through the ranks. Trailblazers give us the opportunity to build on the trainee scheme we currently have in place, allowing the youngsters to benefit from the knowledge of our in-house expertise and be recognised in this highly talented sector at a national level.”

As National Rigging Certificate (NRC) Manager at PLASA, Paul Riddiford commented “PLASA are delighted to fully support the Live Event Rigger Apprenticeship. As the scale of live events continues to grow bigger, heavier and more extreme, Rigger competence is of the utmost importance. Crews, performers and audiences all rely on the experience and expertise of Event Riggers and this formal structured learning apprenticeship will provide the riggers of tomorrow with the best information, experience, advice and guidance from industry experts, allowing them to first gain and then by achieving their NRC demonstrate that competence.”

Adelaide Johannsen, Blackout’s HR Manager, added: “The techniques employed within live event rigging have been deployed by the very people who are leading our Trailblazers initiative. With the knowledge that a structured development for those deciding on a career in rigging is long overdue, our (NRAG) working group has developed the Live Event Rigger standard.

“Regulations naturally require Riggers and personnel involved with lifting operations to be competent. It is a safety critical occupation and the work demands a professional approach borne of years of experience for which there is no shortcut.

“With the industry growing, the demand for Live Event Riggers is heightened, hence the need for employers to work together and all take on responsibility to develop a core of dedicated, highly skilled individuals. This will ensure the skills gap is minimised and competent Live Event Riggers develop, qualified to work safely in a very hazardous and continually changing environment, and become recognised by way of a level 3 apprenticeship.”

The Trailblazer apprenticeship in Live Events Rigging is expected to be available by early 2016.