An enterprising week

Our Foundation Degree students have been with us for almost a month now and they’re a very enthusiastic bunch so far!

The Introduction to Working in Live Events module is almost at an end. They’ve looked at the history of the industry, been making big bangs in the LS-Live studio on the Pyro course, learnt how to tackle fires and emergencies at events, and were lucky enough to be invited in to The Saturdays’ production rehearsal for an exclusive tour round the set by FIX8Group′s Neil Trennell. Thanks Neil!

There’s no winding down before the Christmas break though – they’re off to do their IPAF 3a Mobile Vertical Powered Access training tomorrow!

Tutor and Backstage Academy CEO Rory Perrett gave us this report on a snapshot from the first module where students are introduced to the idea of becoming a freelancer or setting up their own business. We have great relationships with many companies in the industry, and support our students in finding work during and after the course, but we also recognise that the majority of people will undertake freelance work at some point in their career in the events production industry.

Over to Rory…

“Last week our students were looking at Enterprise, Business Start-up and Working Freelance. While learning about how to set up a business, legal structures, finance, etc are a long way removed from most of the content of the Live Events Production FdA at Backstage, it is vital knowledge for those that are going to work freelance or set up their own company. Ok, so it’s not as exciting as the Pyrotechnics or Rigging courses but if you are going to be successful you need to know these things!

Self employment and working freelance is quite usual in the events and entertainments industry and this is where over 75% of our students see their future. To start off with we had a look at what level of income students thought they needed to survive on, quite scary when you start adding up housing, transport, food and phone costs, and these guys are not looking to support lavish lifestyles. A sound understanding of their personal income needs is the starting point for sensible and realistic job costing.

Some students are already running their own businesses and they took the opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of various structures; sole trader versus Ltd company and the implications of partnerships.

Splitting into groups to create and submit a quotation for the provision and management of a small stage for a bank holiday music festival brought out the competitive instinct with each group looking to provide the best package for a keen price.  This scenario got them really thinking as to what a job would cost them to deliver and led neatly into looking at turnover, profit and cash flow and the importance of each to a sustainable business.

This early in the course it may seem a little strange to be looking at the world of work and how the students will be earning their living after they have completed the course and have qualified, but it is never too early to start planning and laying the foundations for the future. Over the next year or so, students will be able to develop their business ideas and we will be here to help and support them all the way to realising their dreams.

We will be supporting ex-students and industry professionals in all employment matters in the near future via our Institute of Backstage Arts. So watch this space!”

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