27th October 2014

From Corporal to Crew Member

The story of Gary Wood
From Vehicle Mechanic to Live Events Production student.

After ten years as a vehicle mechanic in the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers I found myself facing redundancy at the time when unemployment in the UK was at it highest for almost 20 years.

Becoming a Civvy again meant that I would once again be in command of my own future. No more part one orders or weekend duties. It was now time to step up to the plate and take a swing at what ever life throws at me. No more back up from the boys or an ever powerful umbrella to keep the rain from filling up my boots.

Now faced with the possibility of a life without uniform, without orders or direction I found myself asking,

“What is there out there for me?”

What will I be good at?

What do I want to do in civvy street? 

How can I use the skills I already have to my advantage and what new skills will I need to develop to make me employable?”

I began looking at job ads and training courses but was struggling to imagine myself fitting into any of these jobs. I attended some job interviews only to be turned away because of lack of civilian experience. 

In October just 2 months before my final day of service I found out about Backstage Academy. I had always been curious about what goes on behind the scenes at big shows and events like Glastonbury and TV shows such as The X Factor.

I contacted the college and enquired about the courses that were on offer. Using my Enhanced Learning Credits via Elcas I managed to get funding approved for a 2 year Foundation Degree in Live Events Production. With the skills and qualifications I already had from my time in the army and the new skills which I have learnt at Backstage Academy, plus the opportunities for work placements during the course timetable have dramatically improved my potential future employment. 

Backstage Academy is perfectly situated within one of the biggest and busiest working sectors of the events industry, sharing its main base with LS-Live and Litestructures at Europe’s biggest rehearsal studio. The amount of crew work and work experience available here is truly astronomical. I can not recommend Backstage Academy highly enough. Both the training and admin staff at LS-Live and Litestructures are a pleasure to work with and to learn from. A lot of the guest lecturers are actual working professionals from the very top of the game. Experts who have worked all over the world with some of the biggest companies and artists of our time.


(Masterclass with legendary sound engineer, Roger Lindasy)

If you are looking for a change of career and would like some advice about what Backstage Academy has to offer please give us a call +44(0)1977 659 880