Apprentices key to growing media industry in Wales

Job title:
Creative & Digital Media Apprenticeship

South Wales based special effects company Real SFX first became involved in the Creative Skillset Cymru Creative and Digital Media Apprenticeship scheme three years ago. Carmela Carrubba, Company Director, commented: “The apprenticeship scheme was in its infancy and as the BBC had already committed themselves to the initiative, (who we already have a great relationship with); we were also keen to get involved. Taking part right from the beginning enabled us to help influence which areas and modules it focused on so we were able to highlight where there might be potential skills gaps; not just within our own business, but within the industry as a whole.

“We are continuously working to grow our business but in the past, because the creative media industry in Wales was still developing, we had to look to London to employ staff. This apprenticeship programme is changing that trend. It is a great way of employing someone as they get to learn all different aspects of the business, not just the special effects side, but the ins and outs of being self-employed, rigging and health & safety.

“An apprenticeship is a great platform to begin your career, to try out different disciplines and find your place in the industry. The media industry is now growing rapidly in Wales and these apprentices will be able to firmly establish themselves as part of it.”

The apprenticeship was initially delivered by Cardiff and Vale College, and is now subcontracted to training provider Cyfle. Cyfle works works with employers providing recruitment, training and assessment of all the apprentices.. Some elements of the training are compulsory, such as health & safety, others are chosen by the apprentices themselves, depending on their skills, interests and the job they are employed to do. The scheme includes e-learning elements and at the end of the year, they present a portfolio of their work and experiences.

Carmela continued: “When we first got involved in this scheme, we were taking on just one apprentice at a time, but this year we were so impressed with the candidates that we selected two. Their passion was so evident that we couldn't pick one over the other! They are both fitting in well with the rest of the team, are very hands on and aren't afraid to get stuck in.

“We are always keen for our apprentices to play a key role in growing the company and they are especially invaluable in enabling us to develop new departments. For example, we have recently offered one of our apprentices a position as a workshop model maker as we are yet to develop that side of the business. This also reflects the fact that we take a bespoke, tailored approach to training and mentoring, ensuring the apprentices get to develop their own individual strengths and explore their passions.”

Real SFX have recently been selected as a finalist for Small Apprentice Employer of the Year at the Welsh Government and National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2014. Carmela comments: “As a company trying to grow itself and the industry in which it operates, being recognised for doing so means a lot. Without a doubt, recognition is important and without this scheme, we couldn’t grow as we are. We are already looking at appointing more apprentices in future so we must be doing something right!”

For further information contact Bethan Millett at Creative Skillset Cymru on 02920 452 828. 

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