From education to employment

Electrical students get insight in to film and TV careers

Electrical students got an insight into career opportunities open to electricians in the film and TV industry.

Barking & Dagenham College students took part in a one-day workshop (Wednesday 27th April) which provided an overview of the role of a “Production Electrician”. They learnt about the relationship to other trades and departments on set and the variety of working environments.

The highly topical workshop was organised by Film Barking and Dagenham and presented by Toby Dare of MBS Equipment Co. and Television Lighting Designer Bernie Davis, the event was the first in Film Barking and Dagenham’s Make it Here programme.

Zoe Richardson, IoT Project Co-ordinator & Tech Lead at Barking & Dagenham College explains: “This is the best time for students to consider career options, with the Eastbrook Film Studios and The Wharf Studios developments firmly under way. There are many skills gaps in the market, and we want to ensure our students are aware of this possible career path – it’s simply a great time to get into film!”

The day involved practical demonstrations and was led by MBS Equipment Co., one of the industry’s premier lighting rental companies; MBSE support cinematographers, gaffers and crews around the world. Course leader Toby Dare has over 30 years’ experience in the live broadcast and film production industries and is now focusing his support on the rapid UK film and TV industry expansion; including mentoring a cohort of Netflix trainees who are currently studying at Shepperton Studios.

Award-winning Television Lighting Designer Bernie Davis – has been working in television, film, theatre, and live broadcast for 35 years and has a thorough grounding in all aspects of TV cameras and production techniques. He’s worked on BBC Proms, Young Musician Competition, Festival of Remembrance, Mercury Music Prize, Royal Variety Performances, Carols from King’s, major national events including several Royal Weddings, and the broadcast of theatre performances from venues such as Covent Garden and The National Theatre.

Zoe continues: “So, whilst we’re talking primarily about Film and TV, these skills and job roles are also transferrable to live events, exhibitions, festivals, broadcast sport and multiple other avenues.”

The feedback from the students was excellent; Scarlett Gray, 17, from Romford, who previously attended The Frances Bardsley Academy for Girls and is now in her first year of a City & Guilds electrical installation course, says: “The workshop was really interesting as I didn’t totally know what it was about beforehand; it was really eye opening into the film and TV industry.”

Course leader Toby Dare comments: “This has been a wonderful chance for MBS Equipment Co. to engage with the local community. Delivered in partnership with Film Barking and Dagenham and Barking & Dagenham College, this workshop forms part of a planned programme of events designed to create training opportunities within the area and to help students kick start a possible career in Film and TV production – something we hope will be particularly useful with the opening of the new Eastbrook Studios”.

Bernie Davis, TV Lighting Designer who is from Ilford, added: “I was excited to hear that major new studio complexes were opening close to home knowing that they would create a big demand for skilled technical staff, and the initiative being taken by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, Barking & Dagenham College, and MBS Equipment Co. has introduced a fantastic opportunity for local residents to start careers in the film industry. We keep hearing that the UK is a world leader in filmmaking, and it is wonderful to see that today’s students will get a great chance to be part of that success.”

Anna Wilson, Sector Lead for Film Barking and Dagenham, concludes: “We’re delighted to have launched our new ‘Make It Here’ programme with such an engaging industry focused workshop. This scheme is about matching aspiration with real opportunities and giving the wealth of talent in the borough a chance to shine and develop. This is only the beginning of a comprehensive engagement programme for the residents and learners of Barking and Dagenham and we can’t wait to share what’s coming next”.

More workshops are planned for the coming year. For further information about studying subjects which can lead into a career within the film and TV industry, sign up to the College’s next open event which is at 4:30pm on Thursday 9th June.

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