We’re thrilled to introduce you to our Live Production trainees for 2018… meet Elena and Jake!

The trainee pilot program is a first for the Live Production sector. It was developed to provide on-the-job training, mentoring and support for the skilled live production technicians of the future.

We’ve partnered with ArtsReady, TAFE NSW and ACFIPS to ensure the 12-month traineeships meet the needs of our workplace environment and address the skills shortage in the industry.

We caught up with Elena and Jake for a quick fireside chat to hear about why they wanted to be a part of the program and what they hope to learn during their time at AV1.

Hi Elena and Jake! We’re so excited to have you as part of the team this year. Two months in, how are you finding the traineeship so far?

Elena: It’s the best. I’m excited to come to work whereas I didn’t enjoy my old job. Here everyone’s willing to help which is so good.

Jake: I like how it’s different everyday – we’re working on different events, different shifts and with different people all the time. And then we do one day a week at TAFE for basic theory and practical work. It’s really useful to have the hands-on experience here with a real life job.

What attracted you to the industry to begin with?

Jake: I’m a musician and have always been interested in all parts of entertainment – like the set-up of equipment and how everything works. I used to pull apart my guitars to see how they worked on the inside, and then at gigs I would shadow the AV operator while the band was on.

Elena: Ever since I was little I wanted to be a performer and I liked making people feel something through performance. I did some work experience at the Opera House and got a taste of working behind the scenes and helping build something from nothing. After that I realised I couldn’t do both entertainment and business studies at my school, so I moved schools! Getting to work in the bio box* further sparked my interest for joining the industry.

What sort of benefits do you think the traineeship will bring to you now and in the future?

Elena: It’s a massive foot in the door in this industry. I could have paid a huge fee to do a course and end up with no contacts or experience. With this, I’m getting loads of experience and making contacts every day as I’m getting to meet clients, other operators and industry people.

Jake: Agreed. And for me because I left school in Year 10 to get a head start with some real life work experience, I now have a leg up on my friends who are still at school. While I’m at TAFE and working, I’ll have experience on them when they’re just getting started.

Is there something in particular you’d like to walk away with – any special skills or experience?

Jake: I’d like to branch into audio in more depth. Audio interests me with my music background.

Elena: It all interests me really – anything to make an event happen that leaves the audience with a wow factor. And having some industry contacts too. I’d also love to leave with a job!

Jake: Me too, that would be great!

Elena, you’ve probably noticed there are fewer women working as AV techs than men. Was that ever a concern for you? And how do you think we can attract more young women to the industry?

Elena: It’s never been a concern to me because at school our entertainment class had more girls than boys – about 20 girls and just 3 boys. So in school I thought that chicks ran this industry.

I’ve never come up against discrimination myself so it isn’t something I think about a lot. Sometimes the guys get asked to do the heavy lifting and I’m like ‘hey! I can lift too.’ And the boys will always help me if I need it. They don’t look at me differently.

I think to attract more girls like me to AV it’s best to start at school level. Have programs at schools to teach girls that it’s fun to work in AV and it’s not just a guy thing.

What’s the best part about working with AV1?

Jake: Everyone’s so nice and when you come to work in the morning or late at night, everyone has a big smile. It makes it much easier to come to work and enjoy your shift when everyone puts in 110% – it makes me want to do the same.

With my first job as the newbie I would cop the crappy jobs. But here, I’ll get any job, the good ones included, and if I don’t know how to do it, someone will show me.

Elena: It’s such a great group of people and everyone’s willing to have a chat and ask how I’m going. And I feel I can do the same. Everyone’s willing to take a few extra minutes to help me understand something or help me learn. There are definitely no egos around here which is rare in the events and entertainment industry!

Thanks for chatting today. Any last words to our readers?

Jake: Artsready and AV1 are killing it! I’m loving it. Don’t be afraid to come up and say hello, I’d love to chat.

Elena: I’m super keen to learn, so if you want to share any extra knowledge, please do so!

You’ll be seeing Elena and Jake around town on gigs, learning on the job and honing their skills along the way. If you spot them, make sure to say hello!

*Bio box = a room overlooking the theatre from the back, where AV is controlled.

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