National Apprenticeship Week 2021


Back in October 2019, as part of our award-winning apprenticeship scheme, we welcomed a new cohort to the WL family, eager to commence their Level 3 Creative Venue Technician course. However, the unprecedented events of 2020 meant that after just six months of them starting, theatres and venues were forced to close and the live sector ground to a halt.






In a year unlike any other, as a business we have continued to undertake projects which could be delivered safely and in accordance with COVID-secure guidelines. The easing of national lockdown restrictions at the end of summer 2020 meant that Kew Gardens were able to open their annual Christmas at Kew illuminated trail in November. For the seventh year, our team worked with leading project and production management company Culture Creative to supply the lighting, cabling and support infrastructure. This gave two of our apprentices, Azaldean Mohammed and Jack Bass, a unique opportunity to join the delivery team, allowing them some much needed time off flexi furlough gaining invaluable onsite work experience.






  • Photo by Rikard Österlund







mark the start of National Apprenticeship Week 2021, we caught-up with Jack to

find out a little more about his apprenticeship to date and his time on the

Christmas at Kew project:






  • Well, it has


    certainly been an unconventional start to your apprenticeship, but what have

    been some of the highlights for you so far?






The first six months were a whirlwind! Each

month I joined a different department to learn as much as possible about the

technical elements of lighting, audio, and video, as well as the many markets

that WL operates in. During this time, I was able to develop my hands-on

experience, working on the annual VAULT Festival and the servicing of the Royal

Albert Hall’s in-house lighting inventory.






Another personal highlight was helping to

create WL’s #WeMakeEvents video

last year. We felt it was so important to support the campaign and share some

stark facts and figures demonstrating how badly the live events industry has

been affected by the pandemic.











  • What has been the


    biggest learning curve to date?






My background was mainly in audio, having

studied Music Technology in college. I went on to spend some time providing

sound support to my friends’ bands, before working at a recording studio.

Directly prior to joining WL, I worked for Elicit Theatre Company, where I learnt more about lighting to

add to my skillset. So, the biggest learning curve for me has been in the video

aspect of technical production.






  • How have you been


    occupying your time on furlough?






During the first lockdown I focused on

training and completed my Level 1 and 2 Dante certifications, as well as some

of the online courses run by ETC. WL’s H&S and Workforce Development

Director Chris Nicholls has been very supportive during this time, running some

coaching sessions for us to help cover any knowledge gaps.






Other than that, I have enjoyed pursuing

electronics as a hobby, making a guitar pedal with the help of a colleague in

the Tech Service department, and my next challenge will be a stylophone. I am

also currently preparing for my end point assessments, so I’ve enjoyed having

specific projects to focus on.






  • Tell us more


    about your experience working on Christmas at Kew?






  • Photo by Rikard Österlund

  • Photo by Rikard Österlund






In previous years I have enjoyed visiting Christmas at Kew as a member of the public, so it was really exciting to be a part of the team helping to put such a vast outdoor trail together. The trail covers a lot of Kew Gardens’ UNESCO World Heritage site, and the different festive installations each had very specific lighting and distribution requirements. This year there was a slightly new route through the Rose Garden, as well as neon-wrapped trees and a canopy of stars. In Temperate House, we had to synchronise the light show very precisely with a music soundtrack to achieve the desired effect. As always, the showstopping Palm House finale required a huge number of moving lights to help bring the projections to life. I learnt a lot from my time on the project, from the skill of focusing lights, to helping work out the best set-up configurations within each space. I enjoyed the autonomy and responsibility that we were given at times, to further develop our skills and learn about effective project management.






To find out more about National Apprenticeship Week 2021,







Join in with the conversation on social media: #NAW2021





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