SoundGirls.Org spoke to Mike Lowe, Director of Britannia Row’s training program in London UK. Below is our interview with Mike regarding the program.
Britannia Row Productions is one of the top live sound companies in the world. This has been achieved by having some of the very best engineers and technicians. Training has always been central to our ethos. As an employer, Britannia Row Productions have always known that college and university courses still do not fully cater for our particular niche. And we know from our colleagues and counterparts in Live Sound throughout the industry and across the globe, that we are not alone in this view.
Britannia Row Productions Training has grown out of this real need. We ran our first courses in 2013, and our first waves of graduates are already out in the world, beginning exciting professional careers in Live Sound.
What is the objective of Brit Rows training program?
To give our Trainees a thorough grounding in all of the elements live sound.
To also equip them with the confidence, industry knowledge and working practices so they can take up work at the end of the course.
To give them the opportunities to start to build their own networks and acquire mentors vital to their future careers. All of our tutors are live sound professionals working at the top end of the industry. Our trainees work with live bands as part of their training. They are taken on gig visits to such London venues at The Royal Albert Hall, The London O2 Arena, The Roundhouse, Wembley Arena and Hammersmith Apollo. They have work experience days at Britannia Row Productions where they get to meet and work alongside the staff and our freelance sound engineers and audio technicians. Our Graduates bond well and create their own networks to give each other support. This is something we encourage.
To get them into work in the shortest possible time. The Live Sound Technology Course is intensive and is delivered in 12 weeks. We deliver the same amount of teaching hours in the 12 week period that the average college or university takes to deliver in 12 months. The shortness of the course helps with knowledge retention. The course is taught ‘spirally’ so that subjects are continually returned to at a higher and higher level. This allows us to teach holistically across the subjects and then return to all of them at the next levels up. The other benefit to the compactness of the course is that our trainees only have to cover their living expenses for a relatively short period.
To help them get into work when required and to continue that support going forward.
What topics does it cover?
The subjects covered on our Live Sound Technology Course include:
Electrical circuits and Mains
Analogue signal flow
Health and Safety
Analogue Consoles and signal processing
Digital consoles taught on 5 platforms – Digico, Midas, Avid/Digidesign, Yamaha, Soundcraft
System design and optimization
Line arrays, prediction, and analysis
Sound mixing for music, theatre, and classical
Audio for events, corporate and broadcast
Festival and multi-band production
Becoming a freelancer
Who should apply and how do they apply?
Potential Trainees will benefit if they have a good set of ears, and have reasonable grades in maths and physics.
Then should then ask yourself the following questions:
Do you have a passion for audio and/or music that’s exceptional compared to your contemporaries?
Do you have the stamina to work exceptionally long hours?
Some Live Sound roles require travel. Would you be happy to spend days, weeks, or even months away from home?
Do you enjoy working in a team?
Can others rely on you to meet tight deadlines and to follow through on your promises?
Are you good at absorbing and retaining knowledge, including technical information?
Technology and working practices keep moving on, and you must move on with them. Are you happy to spend your entire working life learning new stuff?
Most people working in Live Sound are freelance. They are therefore one-person businesses. Like any business, they have to market, sell, deliver and keep accounts. They have to insure themselves against injury and loss. Are you happy going into business for yourself?
If you have answered yes to most of the questions above, Live Sound could be the life for you. If you feel it is, we will be able to help you.
Those interested can apply through our website – http://training.britanniarow.com or by phoning us on +44 (0) 20 8874 0182. Britannia Row Productions is one of the world’s leading sound companies and consequently has been a leading employer of sound engineers and audio technicians for over 40 years. So we know at first hand exactly the skills, knowledge and attributes that employers are looking for.
What should students expect to get out of the program?
A BRPT Live Sound Technology Course Certificate, bearing a Pass, Merit or Distinction grade. (Only 2% of our trainees have not achieved a Pass.) The BRPT LSTC has industry recognition around the world
A Health & Safety Passport. It is an increasing requirement to have a Health & Safety Passport to work in venues and on productions.
A grounding in Live Sound, second to none.
Great industry contacts and possible mentors to stand you in good stead for your future career.
The top three graduates from each course will be invited to an interview with Britannia Row Productions, and one of these graduates will be offered a one-year full-time work placement with the company.
Support in getting into work and ongoing support to stay in work
How long does the course/program take to complete? 12 Weeks
When is it offered? Currently at the beginning of January, April, July & September.
How much is classroom based and how much is hands on? 50% / 50%. More theory based in the first month. It has been designed to provide plenty of hands-on experience and time for individual one-to-one sessions as well as private practice time to enhance knowledge.
What kind of background or experience does one need before applying? We have people on the course who have had no previous experience and people who have had up to three years working experience but wish to fill gaps in their knowledge or gain greater knowledge of high-end equipment.
What is the average age of students? 24.
Do you offer any job placement assistance?
We place a big emphasis on helping people get into work after the course. Many have places of work to return to after the course. For those that don’t we try and open doors for them. We have had good success at this.
Having been in business as a sound company for 40 years, our contacts are good.
Our global contacts are also good, and we have a good track record of getting our overseas students into work.
The top three graduates from each intake are offered an interview with Britannia Row Productions should they wish to take up the offer. One of the three interviewed is offered a one year contract working for the Company.
Our new website, currently under construction, has an ‘Employer Zone’ This will contain the CV’s of those Graduates to be on it. The Graduates will be able to access the site through their own portal to update their own CV’s. It is our intention to consistently market ‘The Employer’s Zone to an ever increasing data base of potential employers whether they are sound companies, venues, management companies, production companies, etc.
We are ever mindful that our success is dependent on the ongoing success of our graduates.
What does it cost and are there any scholarships or financial assistance available?
£5000 + VAT – total £6000. This is a private course and at present there are no government or local government grants. For very talented, very financially disadvantaged youngsters we do approach those on a list of people and organizations that we have to see if they are willing to help financially.
If you’d like a first-hand account of what Brit Row’s program is like, check out Malle Kaas blog about her experience there.