A Backstage Academy Training Centre on a Business and Industrial Park

Project information

Index: 0279R1
Priority:1: Innovation and the knowledge economy
Sub Theme:Entrepreneurship and SMEs
Location UNITED KINGDOM YORKSHIRE AND THE HUMBER Wakefield District West Yorkshire Start/End date of the practice
Start: 2009-01-01
End: Ongoing

Topic of the practice

Specialization and Innovation. This project is developing a skills and training centre of excellence on a BAIP whereby it will stimulate advances in the practical skills of local young people (frequently disaffected and disengaged) to enable them to work in ‘backstage’ and multi-media functions or events.

Good Practice Information

Overall Aim: The project will create a state-of-the-art training and ‘backstage’ skills development facility for the media and performance sector and particularly linking into nearby communities where youth unemployment and disenchantment is a major problem.
Specific Objectives:
1. To work with businesses in the sector, educators and funders to develop a world-class facility that will train technical staff for the regional, UK & European events and performance arts sector.
2. To engage with schools and young people directly to increase awareness and gain their active participation in training programmes that will equip them for work and careers in events and performance sector.
Executive Summary: Development of a state-of-the-art skills and training facility organised and driven by the sector’s business leaders and attracting new generation of talent from young people in the local community who otherwise have poor participation rates in high skills development programmes [i.e. to International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) tertiary vocational level 4 ]. The project links the Litestructures’ stage and lighting production with its studios used by leading international musicians (Scissor Sisters, Coldplay, etc) to industry standard training facilities which are readily accessible and highly attractive to the local communities’ young people.Key outputs: Functioning skills and training centre of excellence, attraction and participation by local young people, production of a new cohort of suitably trained production professionals.Key outcome: The development of centre of excellence in backstage skills which is attractive and gain participation by local young people and especially those that may be at risk of becoming NEETs (Not Otherwise Engaged in education and Training).

Evidence of success

The project has engaged the involvement and support of the industry body for the sector: Plasa in the ethos and development plan for the Backstage Academy. PLASA is the lead international membership body for those who supply technologies and services to the event, entertainment and installation industries so its support is critical. This industry association actively promotes the interests of its members and the sector's needs and their active involvement in creating the cirriculum and orientation of the Academy will ensure a good match of the trainees with the industry's requirements. This project also provides an example of direct interaction between a business and public collaboration on a BAIP and of practical efforts to embed knowledge-based activities in local communities and the BAIP. A policy review and business plan was developed prior to the commencement of the works to acquire and refurbish the building that will be sued as the Backstage Academy.Nationally the UK lags behind average European skills levels. The regional figures are worse and locally in Wakefield District ISCED skills levels are poor compared to other regions within the UK and especially across the EU. Local youth unemployment levels are higher than national averages as are also NEETs statistics – Not Otherwise Engaged in education and Training (2009 data).The successful outputs from the project include:1. The development of a demand led training centre for a dynamic knowledge-based, creative sector; 2. The creation of a well-equipped facility to host the training; 3. The provision of places for over 150 trainees; 4. Persons trained in 2010-2011.

Contact details to obtain further information on the practice

Mick McKigney

first-Wakefield Development Agency



Annex completed on: 03-01-2011

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