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Orbital Sound partners with Skills Academy

Two apprentices will be joining the PA hire company for a year, beginning this summer, as part of an initiative to help “professionalise” the hiring process in the entertainment industry, writes Erica Basnicki.

Orbital Sound has partnered with the National Skills Academy for Creative & Cultural and taken on two apprentices this summer: Becky Felton (pictured, right) and Jay Dodds.
Adam Thorneycroft (pictured, left), Orbital’s head of engineering, is managing the initiative: “Given the current climate, we wanted to take some positive steps to keep people interested in working in the entertainment industry. I looked around at a number of options before pitching the Skills Academy scheme to the Orbital directors, on the basis that the apprenticeship scheme is a fantastic step forward that works for both the apprentices and us as a company. The more I looked into it, the more we could see that this was the obvious way forward – thanks to the help available from both the Skills Academy and the government. Although the apprentices are only with us for a year at a time, we hope this will be become a long-term relationship with the Skills Academy that will last for many years.” Each apprentice will follow a structured one-year programme, spending time in each department with a bias towards engineering, while also pursuing their general studies once a week at Lewisham College. Each apprentice will be paired with Orbital’s full-time engineers, learning everything from basic operations to fault-finding and repairs of sound equipment. “We are working to achieve a real culture shift within the business, professionalising the whole recruitment process and getting away from the “who you know” way into a job,” said Paul Marijetic from the Skills Academy. “The great thing in the rental and production sectors is that the apprentices can be productive from day one – giving their sponsors a genuine return on investment from the outset and providing the apprentice with a great learning environment.”