Since 2011, WL has overseen a total of 49 technical apprenticeships. Many of these are currently employed by the company, many still work with us on a freelance basis whereas others have gone on to pursue a range of technical roles within the industry. In this blog, we look back at the apprentices who have taken part in our scheme over the years and see where they are now.
Dan Goodwin was part of WL’s first intake of apprentices back in 2011. Today, he still works at WL in the role of WL Venue Logistics Supervisor. He explains: “After finishing my studies, I spent around three years freelancing, which mainly involved lighting a touring show. And whilst I picked up a lot of ‘on the job’ skills, there was very little theory so my technical knowledge was limited. As a result, I undertook a WL Technical Apprenticeship where I was able to work within the majority of departments, such as rigging and moving lights. After my apprenticeship, I worked as a WL Demo Technician before moving onto WL Hire Contracts Administrator, WL Hire Co-ordinator before arriving at my current role as WL Venue Logistics Supervisor. My job now is to continuously improve and streamline the various request formats and procedures that come through our range of Managed Venues and it’s something I really enjoy”.
Simon Arnold was part of the third intake of apprentices and is currently a WL Hire and Sales Co-ordinator. He explains: “From working at Twickenham Stadium as part of the Rugby World Cup to follow-spotting at the Roundhouse, the apprenticeship was a rocket which propelled me into the entertainment industry. Picking up recognised qualifications, managing myself to be on site on time and working with top level professionals meant I got both a grounding and a foot in the door. Now I work on the hire desk for WL, supporting existing projects, seeking out new enquiries and translating them into trucks of kit, delivered on time and to the high standard that our client base expects”.
Another former apprentice still working for WL is Michael Tyler who is now a Site Technician and works across the UK on a range of projects. He comments: “The apprenticeship meant a lot as it gave me opportunities to work on events and projects that I wouldn’t have been able to anywhere else. It also gave me the skills and knowledge to immediately start my current role and hit the ground running”.
Alfie Gunningham was part of the 2015 Apprentice intake and went on to co-found events company Nightstar Events. He comments: “During my time at WL, I partook in everything from Electrical Theory Training, to hands on experience at high profile venues and events. My apprenticeship was invaluable in giving me the skills I use day-to-day, working on live events across the country. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to grow as a person and climb the career ladder anywhere near as quickly as I have. Managing an events company at age 20 is something I would never have dreamed of doing so if anyone’s got a passion for the entertainment industry and wants to try something new then I would heartily recommend applying”.
Alongside those who now have successful careers within the industry, there are currently seven apprentices based at WL. One of these is Zach Patel, who comments: “I’ve been an apprentice for just over a year and am now based in the Audio department. In my time here so far, I’ve gained lots of hands on experience as well as training and knowledge that will last me my career”. Another current apprentice is Nathan Cocker, who comments: “Undertaking the apprenticeship means you are earning a wage whilst gaining hands on experience in the industry. It also allows you to kickstart your career due to the industry contacts you meet”.
Alongside Nathan as part of this year’s cohort is Sophie Gill who states: “It has been a really hands-on experience so far, and I’ve loved getting involved, especially if there is a challenge. Working in each department has allowed me to communicate with multiple people in the company and build good relationships whilst learning about what I love. Being sent out on site is also a great experience as we get to put our knowledge to the test and apply all of our acquired skills to help clients directly”.
WL’s Health & Safety and Workforce Development Director Chris Nicholls, who oversees the apprenticeship scheme, comments: “We are extremely proud of our past apprentices who have all excelled and are now pursuing their own exciting careers which play to the strengths and skills they developed during their time here. We are equally proud of our current batch and look forward to seeing where their passion, ability and technical knowledge takes them in the future”.