Production Futures Debut at Depot Mayfield

A brand new touring event with a mission to recruit young people into behind-the-scenes roles in the entertainment industry will debut at Depot Mayfield, the home of Escape to Freight Island, on Thursday (March 24).

The day-long event for students, graduates and emerging talent is being run by Stockport-based recruitment network Production Futures, in collaboration with the University of Salford.

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When Paul McCartney and Billie Eilish headline Glastonbury this year or a TV star swims through a sea of bugs in I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, hundreds of unseen experts will have enabled those memorable moments happen.

Everything from designing sets to constructing lighting rigs to fitting microphones to performers to achieve the perfect sound is done by globe-trotting teams of specialists, and there has never been a better time for ambitious young people to join them.

When the pandemic hit live events and television production in 2020/21, many workers were forced into different professions leaving skills gaps across the board. As the world opens up again, Production Futures hope to engage and support the next generation of experts.

Panels of entertainment production experts will discuss a range of topics from how they got into the industry, what they and others do, the current skills gaps, diversity issues and the exciting future for the industry.

Attendees will be able to take advantage of equipment training, CAD, audio and lighting design workshops run by major international players such as Sennheiser and disguise. Epic Games and Live Nation are just two of the other brands who will be represented on the industry panels, and there will be prizes, giveaways and a chance to network for real job opportunities.

Similar roadshows are planned for later in the year at Rose Bruford College in London, Backstage Academy in Wakefield and the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. Going forward the hope is to visit as many colleges and universities as possible.

Chief executive officer Hannah Eakins says: “As events are being delivered live, and virtually, we are seeing a huge demand for skilled engineers, and the challenge for the industry is developing young people to start an exciting career as well as upskilling. We are addressing diversity and employability as an urgency. Live events, hybrid events and virtual production are here to stay and this opens up brand new and exciting career opportunities for them like never before.”

As well as current college and university students, the last two years of graduates who may not yet have got into the industry or taken up other jobs not related to their degree, are also being invited.

Hannah says: “We are concerned we have lost many graduates to other industries due to the crushing effects of the pandemic on live and touring events. We want to welcome them back and support their careers as an urgency. We also want to engage with young people from all walks of life who would like to hear about opportunities in this sector.”

“Another interesting thing we can now do is invite media, broadcast, games design, computer science and content creation students, as well as music, theatre and events production, as so many of the skills taught are transferable.”

Beth Hewitt, creative director at Salford University’s school of arts, media and creative technology, says: “We’re delighted to be collaborating with Production Futures, bringing the creative and digital industries, students, and new emerging talent together.

“This is a space for employers to meet emerging talent, providing them with a clear understanding of jobs and roles, highlighting the creative and digital aptitudes and skills needed for their careers to flourish. It’s also a space for employers to spot talent!

“Collaborating with Production Futures means championing stronger connections across the creative and digital industries, placing employability at the heart of what we do and centre frame for the new emerging talent across the region.”

Registration for the event is at 9.30am and it runs from 10am to 6pm. It is open to all over 16s. To find out more and register online visit https://bit.ly/3CIgSU8

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