Training Tomorrows Technicians


Tony Cahalane TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
by Tony Cahalane
Issue 94 - October 2014

Ours is a hungry and demanding industry. It requires a constant supply of highly skilled and dedicated technicians who are willing to work hard, under often difficult circumstances, to help deliver the environment for production teams to thrive, in an ever-evolving media landscape and one where insecurity is often over fuelled. For those who choose television, the rewards are great - an exciting career which offers infinite opportunities and as much variety as you could want. It's not always easy but many of us wouldn't want it any other way.

However the flow of new blood into our side of the industry is stemming. There is definite shortage of young people entering the fold and, among those who do, it's becoming increasingly difficult to find individuals with the required depth of knowledge and skills to meet the rigorous demands.

In the past the two main broadcasting giants, BBC and ITV, would run their own high profile in-house training schemes - attracting the best of young talent. Their ability to offer on-the-job experience over a vast variety of programming meant that they produced highly skilled and experienced television technicians.

As these schemes have gradually disappeared over the years they have been replaced by either college-led courses or those run by industry training providers. Although well meant, what they lack is the depth of practical training on real productions. I don't believe they currently meet the business demands of our industry and I think the problem is one we should be facing together.

I may be traditional but I believe shadowing a fully trained practitioner is the best way of learning about this industry and to gain the kind of experience that most of our OB companies are looking for. As an industry it is our responsibility to train the next generation of talent to meet our needs. From conversations with peers I believe there is a shared understanding among senior technical OB managers that there is an urgent need for a standardised and structured training system and qualifications across the industry. That's why I think that a network or a partnership system, managed by the industry itself, would work best.

I have been passionate about training for years and have tried to nurture new talent. At NEP Cymru many of our best staff have been trained in-house by the company - on camera, sound, rigging as well as in resourcing. We take individuals on at entry level roles young people with no or very little basic college training. It takes up to 4 years to train them fully and the first 18 months are difficult as there is very little financial return to the company. Although it's definitely a worthwhile investment, it is undoubtedly a huge cost for individual companies to bear alone.

Recently NEP Cymru supported Glasgow 2014 Host Broadcaster Training Initiative (HBTI) on Big Dance 2014 - part of which saw dancers performing simultaneously in London's Trafalgar Square and outside Sydney Opera House and Glasgow's Concert Hall. The scheme is designed to help Scottish students gain hands on practical training in live broadcast, creative production and technology-based roles. NEP Cymru worked alongside Commonwealth Games host broadcaster SVGTV on the scheme, led by Scottish training provide Creative Loop. We will also be offering students taking part in the HBTI the opportunity to gain additional experience through working on our OB facilities covering the SPFL matches during the coming football season in conjunction with Sunset & Vine Scotland. This Scottish training model seems to offer exactly what is needed.

I've also just begun to work with a new training committee panel headed up by Peter Taylor from the BBC, to develop industry-led apprenticeships. The panel are investigating different ways of implementing schemes that provide "real-life" experiences. It's crucial that trainees are offered experiences alongside fully trained practitioners. The aim is to develop courses which meet real industry needs, decided by those within the industry.

Such courses require a commitment by enough OB facilities companies to work together, fuelled by a genuine desire to see a standardised training system.

Companies would need to share the effort fairly with a common acceptance that all will contribute, either financially or by providing resources such as trucks and placements. There is need for greater, stronger partnerships between broadcasters, OB companies and training providers to help provide such courses.

We would all benefit from increasing the size of the talent pool so we should share the responsibility of training the next generation of skilled and creative technicians. The wider their experience, the more useful and adaptable they will become to meet our industry needs. Collaboration on this is the only way forward.


Tags: iss094 | NEP | ITTP | Training | Tony Cahalane
Contributing Author Tony Cahalane

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Training and education within the broadcast industry

    Training and education within the broadcast industry


Related Shows
  • KitPlusTV summarise the Broadcast and Pro Video News 19th April 2021

    KitPlusTV summarise the Broadcast and Pro Video News 19th April 2021


Articles
Spotlight on Karl Mehring, Director of Professional Services, Broadcast, Amplifier and Media
Karl Mehring

How has the role of Professional Services evolved in recent years and what vision do you have of the broadcast technology business? Covering new opportunities that the move to remote brings, new technologies such as 5G broadcast & the impact on the broadcast industry, and the challenges for broadcasters and how can they overcome them.

Tags: COTS | cloud | remote production | distribution | 5g broadcast | Karl Mehring
Contributing Author Karl Mehring Click to read
The Future of Broadcast Technology
Manfred Reitmeier

Now that OTT and VOD have become more mainstream, many commentators talk about traditional broadcast methods, like terrestrial transmission, being a thing of the past. With so many new platforms and non-traditional content services carving out a growing slice of the market, you can be forgiven for thinking that linear over-the-air television is on its way out. The reality is that the industry must strike a balance between meeting consumers’ shifting habits and the business and operational needs of content providers.

Tags: Rohde Schwarz | 5g broadcast | Manfred Reitmeier
Contributing Author Manfred Reitmeier Click to read
A switch in time: how KVM can unlock the future of broadcasting
Chris Smeeton

One of the major changes for broadcasters during the pandemic has been the shift towards remote production; by no means a new phenomenon in an IP environment, yet accelerated under lockdown to accommodate travel and gathering restrictions. A 2021 report found that almost 40% of broadcast professionals now employ remote production, up 9% on the previous year.

Tags: KVM | ARGOSY | GDSYS | KVM Tech | Chris Smeeton
Contributing Author Chris Smeeton Click to read
Rohde & Schwarz integration with Adobe Premiere Pro
Ciaran Doran

Rohde & Schwarz SpycerNode storage & VENICE ingest are perfect partners for Adobe workflows

Tags: Rohde Schwarz | media | VENICE | SpycerNode | adobe | premier pro | Ciaran Doran
Contributing Author Ciaran Doran Click to read
Cloud integration: The only way is up
Francois Vaillant

In 2017 we saw the introduction of SMPTE 2110 and since then, the transition to IP has emerged as a priority for broadcasters looking to streamline their operations, decrease their footprint and effectively integrate with an industry in a rapid state of flux. A 2020 survey by Devoncroft found that almost 20% of broadcasters had already deployed SMPTE 2110, and over 25% were planning to do so. Then came the pandemic, precipitating the need for on-the-fly collaboration and accelerating the transition to remote, virtual and cloud production.

Tags: dejero | smpte 2110 | dazzl | streaming | Francois Vaillant
Contributing Author Francois Vaillant Click to read