Yorkshire and Northeast-based audio visual specialists Universal AV has become one of the first companies in the region to hire from the Northern Skills Group’s Audiovisual Technician Apprenticeship course – the only one of its kind in the UK.
The company has employed 18-year-old Callum Robson, who will undertake his two-year apprenticeship with the firm, joining over 30 years of AV expertise.
The course, which is run by the commercial training arm of Middlesbrough College, aims to train the next generation of AV technicians by ensuring they can provide integrated professional AV solutions for communication, such as video conferencing, projection and computer networking, plugging a long-standing industry skills gap.
Using blended learning, the course allows students to access equipment and on-site experience through their employer, with training provided by the college. The Level 5 standard, developed by Middlesbrough higher education cross-college co-ordinator Jack Laidlaw and industry consultants, is assessed through scenario tests, professional discussion and a portfolio of evidence. Once passed, it’s the equivalent of a foundation degree in audiovisual technology, which can be topped up with further study to achieve a full BSc Honours Degree.
“We have always been a big advocate of investing in young people from our local communities,” said Nick Fitzpatrick, managing director at Universal AV. “In 2014 we proudly introduced our first AV apprenticeship scheme which was built around an NVQ in Electronic Engineering. This has been a great success for us and very rewarding to witness our team develop through this route.
“When we heard about Jack Laidlaw and Middlesbrough College introducing a two-year apprenticeship standard for AV technicians, we wanted to be part of the great work they’re doing. The course covers both system integration and technical events so is a perfect fit for us here at Universal AV and we look forward to seeing Callum and the course develop.”
Robson added: “The thing that interested me most about this apprenticeship was the unique opportunity. When I was looking for apprenticeships, there weren’t many that appealed to me or followed what I had in mind for my future career, but I saw this one advertised and knew it was going to be a great fit.
“I’m looking forward to learning and understanding more things about the complex AV industry over the next two years.”