Our industry thrives on innovation, creativity and enthusiasm and we have always believed that supporting students and industry newcomers is of great benefit to both themselves and our business. Early entry points are vital in encouraging talented technicians to make the significant personal investments into training, work experience and education that are indispensable in an industry that is as much engineering and technology-driven as it is creatively rewarding. Whilst there is no substitute for experience the catch 22 has always been that it can be difficult to gain without a fundamental grounding and understanding of the techniques and technology that are commonplace at even the most casual or amateur level of our industry.
We have for many years enjoyed a close relationship with the faculty and students of the University of South Wales’s outstanding Lighting Design & Live Event Technology courses and so we were delighted that our Head of Hire manager David Johnson, himself a graduate of University of South Wales, was invited to hold an informal seminar with students in their second year of study from both lighting design and live event technology courses to discuss his own experience of starting out in the industry after graduation and the choices on offer. The seminar lasted an enjoyable couple of hours and covered a wide range of subjects, including who Enlightened are and what we do, and about the placement year that we participate in offering a place in, which students can elect to do between their second and third year of study
The Student Placement scheme is a fantastic opportunity for students to gain valuable experience working within their chosen sector. With industry roles more varied than ever and routes toward different disciplines not always straightforward the placement year can be incredibly useful in defining areas of interest and opportunities that may not have been known about or actively considered prior to experiencing them in a commercial context.
Enlightened has encountered great success with the program, which is now in its third year. Students working with Enlightened on this year's placement can expect to experience everything Enlightened has to offer as a service. This includes working in the warehouse, preparing and testing equipment to go to valued dry hire customers, working on productions and installations as technicians on site, and helping the sales team with preparation of sales equipment. Notable alumnus, David Howard got to work on the ribbon tower at Glasto and off the back of that, he was invited to design the lighting for the Chauvet stand at PLASA in 2018 and has gone on to work on touring designs as a successful freelancer.
USW graduate and now our hire manager, David Johnson says:
"It is great to be able to give back to students who are working hard to further their career in our wonderful industry. I know that I wouldn't be where I am today without the work of our lecturers at the University of South Wales working hard to help us establish professional connections and develop the network of contacts that led to me getting a job straight out of university. A lot of graduates in my cohort are now people I do business with regularly, and the contacts I made when at the university have matured into excellent professional and commercial relationships. It is absolutely vital that we recognise aspiring talent, and encourage it wherever it's possible to do so."
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