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The Southbank Centre said it has launched a pilot training programme designed to create new pathways into careers in technical production, attract new talent and improve the diversity of the workforce.

The Technical Academy is open to anyone aged 18 and over, with no previous experience or qualifications in technical production. The scheme offers participants an opportunity to learn the basics, see how technicians work, and discover the “need-to-knows” to find work in the industry.

The first full-time training course, which runs for three weeks at the Southbank Centre, involves 25 participants who have been selected from more than 700 applications. It is understood the Southbank Centre’s longer-term aim is that the programme will run several times a year, increasing the number of participants to 100.

Organisers said that Academy participants will be taught health and safety and build skills in the range of work that happens backstage in creative venues – from building stages, rigging lights and setting up drum kits, to operating sound, lighting and audio-visual effects.

The Board of the Southbank Centre’s Technical Academy consists of representatives from institutions and businesses across the arts and creative sector, including The Production House, The Albany, Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT), Factory International, National Theatre, RNSS, Roundhouse, Royal Albert Hall and Omnii Collective.

Along with the Southbank Centre, they have co-designed the Technical Academy programme and curriculum and are providing masterclasses, venues, potential freelance opportunities, paid work placements and help with the next steps in finding work.

The Southbank Centre has also launched a series of six-monthly Technical Skills Symposium events with the aim of sharing best practice and developing opportunities.

Southbank Centre director of creative engagement Alexandra Brierley said, “The Technical Academy is a significant opportunity to develop employer-led, pre-employment training for diverse talent and match them with future job opportunities. There is a lack of understanding about the career opportunities in technical production and we want to encourage new people into the sector – especially those from under-represented communities. We are delighted that so many key organisations in the arts and creative industry have joined the Board and wider Technical Skills Symposium series: to support this training academy, remove barriers and work together to broaden the talent pool entering the Technical Production workforce.”