A BELFAST company is making it their mission to encourage young people to consider a career in concert and event lighting and rigging.
The team at Production Services Ireland (PSI) explained that very few jobseekers realise the potential employment in this thriving industry, which involves working on some of the biggest productions in Ireland and further afield.
Sean Pagel, director of PSI, said: “Very few young people know about this job. They may consider training as an electrician but they have no idea that there are jobs right here in Northern Ireland that involve lighting concerts, theatrical shows, films and other productions.
“It’s a growth industry here that most 16-year-olds have never heard of.”
PSI, which was started in 1996 by Brian Reilly, now employs 16 staff in Belfast and Dublin as well as up to 40 casual rigging crew.
As a company they work on a huge range of events — from small, local shows to some of the biggest events including the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year and Riverdance’s world tour, which saw their technicians travel to China and Japan.
“This is a real growth industry that is crying out for trained, skilled people. We want students to know about these opportunities and to consider this as their career path,” Sean added.
The company appointed a training manager in 2013, Rainer Pagel, who has travelled to 43 schools and spoken to more than 4,500 pupils, as well as running special training sessions for careers advisors in the past year.
“Many businesses shy away from offering work experience, but we have a continuous schedule of GCSE students coming to us because we want them to experience the job first hand,” he explained.
Recently the company became the first business in Northern Ireland to put in place an apprenticeship programme in Technical Theatre and has taken on two apprentices with a third due to start soon. The apprenticeships are part of the new NI Creative Employment Programme, an initiative established by the Arts Council and managed by Creative and Culture Skills in conjunction with the Department for Employment and Learning, designed to cultivate talent and provide fair access to job opportunities in the fast-growing creative sector.
Their first apprentice is Edward Horner (20), who was studying at Northern Regional College when he met the team from PSI at a job fair last year.