01 Mar 2024

College bootcamps help fill skills gap in creative industries

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Solihull College & University Centre have said they are excited to continue leading the way in training the creative talent of the future after it was announced an extra £26.7 million is being invested into the region. 

The funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority, announced by Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, will be used to train more than 6,000 people. 

The College runs industry bootcamps to train participants to work in a variety of roles in the creative sector. The Creative Venue Technician Bootcamp is currently taking place in partnership with several live venues in the region including the Wolverhampton Grand, the MAC, Birmingham Hippodrome, Warwick Arts Centre and the RSC. 

The College’s Bootcamp manager, Sophie Jolly, is delighted with the funding announcement. She commented: "The bootcamps we run at Solihull and Stratford-upon-Avon College are a great way of providing people who are passionate about the creative sector with a route into the industry. We have run several bootcamps already, including Filming Performance, Content Creation, TV Production, and we have several more planned for later in the year. 

“We work with employers to tailor each programme to their current needs. This ensures our boot campers can hit the ground running when it comes to gaining employment and fill those skills gaps. This funding will help train up the next generation of creative arts workers here in the West Midlands and we are very proud to be part of it."   

Mark Smith is 49 and enrolled on the Venue Technician Bootcamp to gain new skills. He said: “I've never had an opportunity like this before, it’s been one of the most amazing things, it's such a great eye opener working with like -minded people. These opportunities weren’t around for me when I was younger so it’s great to take advantage of them now.” 

Laura Gilbert, 24, says that getting into the industry is something she’s wanted to do since watching musical theatre as a child. She said: “I’ve always been interested in theatre and live events – but I never knew how to get into it. I knew university wasn’t for me, so I went to work in retail. I loved it but realised now was the time for a change as I wanted to be more creative. It’s not always clear how to get these roles in theatre and live events and this bootcamp is giving me all the experience to further my career.”  

Previous bootcamps trained 150 people to work in production for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham back in 2022 with many of those bootcampers going on to gain paid employment. 

Applications for future bootcamps are open throughout the year HERE.

Pictured: TV presenter Suzi Perry, Wolves legend Steve Bull and bootcamp manager at Solihull College & University Centre, Sophie Jolly, with bootcampers. Front row - bootcamp students with Mayor Andy Street and actress Vera Chok

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