1438708383Behind the scenes on Suffragette © 2015 Ruby Films, Pathé, Film Four

Apprentice Lighting Technician

Industries:
Film
Personality type:
Scientist
Departments:
Lighting

The lowdown 

  • Working for a specialist lighting company
  • Learning on the job how different departments work
  • Attending college courses during training 

Is this role right for me?

To do this you will need to: 

  • Be practical and hands on
  • Be able to deal with paperwork
  • Have a good memory for complex formulas 
  • Be able to calculate requirements for different types of cables
  • Be able to work as part of a team
  • Be aware of the relevant health and safety laws and procedures
  • Be able to work comfortably at heights
  • Have good listening and communication skills
  • Have good literacy, numeracy and IT skills
  • Have patience and attention to detail
  • Have stamina and be physically fit

What does an Apprentice Lighting Technician do?

The Apprentice Lighting Technician is also known as Apprentice or Trainee Lighting Electrician/Technician/Operator, Lighting Assistant or Trainee Lighting Apprentices. An apprentice or trainee is learning to become a fully qualified technician and must become familiar with all the lighting equipment, how it works, and how it is used and maintained.  

Apprentices are taken on by specialist lighting companies and are generally moved from one section or department of the company to another, getting to know electrical maintenance, batteries, electronics and dimmers, as well as the electrical installation of the building. Their work involves tasks like testing machines and faultfinding; cleaning, repairing, and maintaining equipment; fixing distribution boards and boxes, and lights; and wiring dimmers and circuit boards. 

They work under the close supervision of fully qualified technicians for the first two years of their apprenticeships. Each department of a lighting company has its own Head who helps to train the apprentices. An apprenticeship usually takes three years to complete. This involves four days per week working in a lighting company, and one day per week on day release attending a college course.

Apprentices must be aware of Health and Safety implications. They have to take responsibility for themselves, and act responsibly towards other members of the team. Apprentices can expect to be making calculations at "A" level standard by the time they reach the end of their training. 

Will I need a qualification?

You will need at least a Level 2 qualification in English, Maths and IT, for example a Grade C in GCSE. You will need to do further training to keep up to date with new equipment and changing regulations as you go forward in your career. It is useful to obtain a driving licence as soon as possible - eventually an LGV or HGV licence may also be required.

If you are considering taking a film production course in higher education, the following courses have been rigorously assessed by the film industry and awarded the Creative Skillset Tick for the high standard of education they provide and the degree to which they prepare you for a career in film:

Film production courses awarded the Creative Skillset Tick 

What is the best route in?

You need to apply for an apprenticeship with a Lighting company. You will work for three years to get your qualifications and complete your apprenticeship by the time you are 21. At this point you can start working on location for a fairly simple film or television shoot, or in a television studio. With some experience you can then move to feature film or commercials work.

You could apply to be a trainee through Trainee Finder, which gives you hands-on experience in the industry and helps you build those all-important contacts that are essential when competing for a job:

More information about Trainee Finder

Interested? Find out more...

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