College launches Venue Technician Bootcamp

5th October 2023

Solihull College & University Centre and Stratford-upon-Avon College are excited to announce our brand-new Venue Technician Bootcamp.

The College’s run a variety of courses for adult learners and the free bootcamps on offer focus specifically on upskilling or reskilling those who wish to progress or begin a career in the creative industries. They offer a productive and effective way to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce by allowing learners to build a solid foundation of skills technically and gain experience by working in a professional environment.

pic of a sound mixing desk

The bootcamps are run in partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). The WMCA were approached by members of the creative industry highlighting the skills shortages in Venue Technicians. Salla Virman, Strategic Lead for Culture & Heritage commented: “This really is an industry led response. The cultural sector suffered a lot during covid and there has been a shift in the workforce generally. There has been wonderful investment in culture locally with events like the Commonwealth Games so we want to ensure this need for Venue Technicians is addressed as it important for the viability of culture in the area. Theatres cannot operate without technicians – that’s a fact.

The bootcamps can lead to a range of positive outcomes including employment opportunities, access to accelerated apprenticeships, further study opportunities, freelance careers and more! We also want to ensure we increase diversity in the creative workforce by creating opportunities and raising awareness so we can recruit participants from a wide range of backgrounds.”

The trainees on this bootcamp will learn from the best; in this case, highly trained and experienced teams currently creating theatre productions. So, to offer this opportunity, the bootcamp will be working with top venues, theatres and companies including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Birmingham Hippodrome, New Hampton Arts Centre (NAC), The Halls Wolverhampton, The Grand Theatre Wolverhampton, Arena Theatre Wolverhampton Uni, The Birmingham Rep, Midlands Art Centre (MAC), Digital Garage and Warwick Arts Centre with more venues to be announced.

The other part of the participants learning will take place at Solihull College & University Centre’s Blossomfield Campus and Stratford-upon-Avon College, with the latter offering the exciting opportunity to work in their recently upgraded theatre facilities. These include three performance spaces, and for the first time aspiring technicians who may have a disability can have full access to all areas of training as Stratford-upon-Avon College’s Willows Theatre gantries are fully wheelchair accessible.

students working under a lighting rig

Bootcamp Manager, Sophie Jolly, commented: “We champion vocational training and this type of programme is a result of that. Participants will have a hands-on experience, work with and in top venues, learn from guest speakers and take part in workshops. It is the first training programme of its kind in the UK and is a culmination of our work with a number of regional theatres who we have been building contacts with over the past couple of years. It’s been designed by consultants and people working in the industry to make sure participants get the best training.”

Nicky Haines, Head of School for the Creative Arts, added: “It’s an incredible opportunity! This programme will help to develop more of a talent pipeline and futureproof the role of Venue Technician; giving further training opportunities in accelerated apprenticeships. This bootcamp will allow participants direct entry into the industry, to hit the ground running and be successful within their role. We are incredibly passionate about the cultural and creative sector and its workforce and this bootcamp will help to open up opportunities to a wider range of people from minority backgrounds.”

The bootcamp is 12 weeks in length starting on 30th October 2023 and free to those who are 19+ and live in the West Midlands Combined Authority, Coventry or Warwickshire, with a bursary for every participant to help with travel and living costs.

Applications for the Venue Technician Bootcamp are now open but be quick, spaces are limited!

Find out more about the College's Venue Technician Bootcamp Venue Technician Bootcamp