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Working in one of our regional or London venues, apprentices gain hands on experience straight away, working alongside our in-house technical teams and visiting companies to support our busy performance programme. Our theatres are all receiving houses with an ever-changing variety of productions, so you’re guaranteed to work on an interesting variety of shows and events.
The apprenticeship lasts for two years and includes time with lighting, flys and stage. During that time you’ll work in at least two of our theatres and be challenged to develop your skills and take on a wide range of tasks. On completing, apprentices have the skills and experience required to work as a multi-skilled technician.
The apprenticeship standard we offer is the Creative Venue Technician apprenticeship at Level 3. You can find out more about what you’re expected to learn and how it is assessed on the Institute for Apprenticeships website.
Approximately 20% of your time is spent on ‘off the job’ training like training courses, shadowing and taught sessions from our partner college, with the remaining 80% of your time spent working as a trainee technician on real events. Training courses are offered by ATG and other specialist organisations: everything from PAT testing to working at height and risk assessment to operating lighting desks.
You’ll be assessed and supported by colleagues at ATG and an assessor from the National College for Creative & Cultural Industries, which is our partner college. At the end of your apprenticeship your final assessment will be taken with another organisation.
Apprentices are also required to hold Level 2 qualifications in English, Maths and ICT; these are compulsory and will be completed with the college during your apprenticeship if you do not already hold them.
Our apprenticeship programme began in 2013 and since then we have employed 20 apprentice theatre technicians. Since their apprenticeships, they have gone on to work as:
- Full time technician at our Ambassadors Theatre in Woking
- Full time Senior Technician at ATG’s New Wimbledon Theatre
- Casual Theatre Technician at ATG’s Richmond, Oxford, York, Birmingham and Stoke theatres
- Part time safety officer at ATG’s New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham
- Full time technician at the National Theatre
- Full time technician at Derby Theatre
- LX on ATG productions in the West End
I completed my apprenticeship at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London (2017). I was there for a year and spent my time going between carpentry and electrics. Over the year I was given a really good grounding in just about every aspect of technical theatre, counterweight flying, followspotting, rigging, hemp flying, board opping to name just a few. I was completely new to working in theatre but it didn’t matter as I was taught everything I needed, even how to use tools properly. I was really encouraged to ask questions and was never made to feel stupid for not knowing something.
Picking a favourite part would be impossible as the whole year was fantastic, I’ve been given so many opportunities, like working on some of the best shows in the West End at the time and with leading industry professionals, I was given the chance to work in other theatres, and had backstage tours around some of the most prestigious venues in London. The contacts I made during my apprenticeship have helped me find work since leaving the Dukes and has consequently lead on to a full time technician job in another ATG venue.
Before applying you need to know that what you put into the apprenticeship is what you get out of it, if you throw yourself in completely and learn everything you can, being eager and enthusiastic, you’ll get a lot more out of it than if you go through doing the minimal coursework needed to pass! This apprenticeship was such an amazing opportunity as I dove head first into the industry, something that going to university wouldn’t have given me.
I decided to apply for the ATG Apprenticeship scheme after seeing Wicked in London and it was the best decision I could have made. After being offered and accepting the role, I worked in both regional and West End theatres and learnt skills across all departments including Stage, LX and Sound. I spent 2 years at New Wimbledon Theatre and did additional secondments at Duke of York Theatre where I learnt how to follow spot, operate and programme a lighting desk, fly on a counterweight flying system and so much more! I had never worked backstage in a theatre before, so I was completely new to the role, but I was completely supported by both venues, and they made learning fun and exciting.
Whilst working, I was able to go to lots of events such as PLASA and Theatrecraft, and I was also put on relevant training schemes to help advance my knowledge in certain aspects of the job. The scheme is a very hands on approach to learning which is something you can’t always get in a classroom.
I have made so many contacts in the industry now and have since worked in multiple venues across the West End. No matter where you are in the company, you’ll be in touch with either current or previous apprentices who know exactly what you’re going through, and everyone loves to help! Since graduating, I have now become Deputy Head of Electrics in a West End theatre and none of this would have been possible without having done the apprenticeship!
Deputy Head of Electrics
The Savoy Theatre
Before applying, there’s some key aspects of our apprenticeship you should think about to help decide if it is for you.
Relocation. The first year of the apprenticeship is spent in one theatre, and the second year based in another. Depending on where you live, you may need to move house half way through. We will support you with this including relocation payments, but you’ll need to think about whether you would be happy to move home.
Working Hours. Theatre Technicians work varying hours every week depending on what show or event they are working on. You could be doing maintenance during the day one week, a different one-nighter every evening the next week and then 8 shows of the same production the week after. Our technicians regularly work late including some shifts well into the night for get outs. You’ll need to consider if that sounds like something you’d be happy doing, especially if your friends and family work very different hours to you.
Transport. If you’re finishing work late at night, you’ll need to think about how you’re getting to and from work. When you know which theatres you want to apply to, you’ll need to plan how you’ll travel and if that will work if you finish at an unusual time of day, how long it will take as well as how much it will cost you. We don’t recommend you take on a long and expensive commute as it will put a lot of additional pressure on you.
Organisation. Keeping on top of your coursework during the apprenticeship is essential; you cannot complete the apprenticeship without it. You’ll need to be committed to every aspect of the apprenticeship, do your best at all tasks and keep to your deadlines. This will include keeping a portfolio of your work, keeping in regular contact with your college tutor and working with your ATG manager to ensure you’re learning the right things.
Q. What kind of shows would I work on?
Check the programme of your local ATG theatre; this will give you an idea of the broad range of performances and events you could be supporting. It could be a comedy one-nighter, a week long musical, an off-site event in your local community or a corporate hire.
Q. How long is the apprenticeship?
The apprenticeship usually starts in September every other year.
Q. When would I start?
The apprenticeship lasts for two years, and you’ll start by working 30 hours per week.
Q. Is the apprenticeship paid?
Yes! You will be paid a salary based on 30 hours per week. Any overtime worked is paid at an hourly rate, so you’ll complete a timesheet and be paid for the actual number of extra hours worked.
Q. What are the hours?
Apprentices are contracted to work 30 hours per week. There may be opportunities for further hours if you are progressing well with your training and can demonstrate you are working as a competent technician.
Working as a technician involves working some unusual hours; you may be starting very early or finishing very late, when public transport is not operating. Get ins and get outs may take place over night, for example. It is crucial you are able to attend these as part of your training, as there is a great deal to learn from getting in or taking down a show, so you should expect to work outside normal office hours every week. This is definitely not a 9-5 job!
Q. Where would I work?
Your main place of work will be one of ATG's theatres. We select a different group of theatres to participate each year, which we will publish in the summer. You’ll be based in one theatre during your first year and move to another theatre in your second year. We’ve introduced this because we think it will offer a broader training and therefore make you more employable afterwards as you’ll have worked on a wider range of shows and seen two different venues and teams in action.
Some additional travel will be required, to visit other theatres or for external training and we reimburse your additional expenses for this.
It is important you think carefully about the varied hours involved in the apprenticeship, how you would travel to and from the theatre and the cost of travel before applying. If you have any questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. Who can apply?
Anyone who is ready to start a career as a technician is eligible to apply. There are no age restrictions or requisite qualifications. However, we do require you to live within reasonable travelling distance from the participating theatres.
Please note this apprenticeship is not suitable for those still studying; if you are part way through a degree or other course, and would need to return to studying after the apprenticeship, you are not eligible. It cannot be undertaken in place of a placement as part of your course.
Q. What are you looking for in an apprentice?
We’re looking for people who:
- Are ambitious, determined and eager to learn
- Are self-motivated and work well as an active member of a team
- Act professionally at all times, with a positive attitude to learning and work
- Have strong attention to detail, including planning and evaluating tasks
- Have an enthusiastic approach to undertaking a wide variety of duties, to be executed to the best of their ability
- Communicate confidently, pleasantly and effectively with a wide range of people
- Enjoy working practically and have a hands-on approach to using equipment and tools
- Have an interest in theatre and have aspirations of working in the technical theatre industry
Please note, no previous work experience in technical theatre or previous qualifications are required to apply for the apprenticeships. Previous qualifications in technical theatre at Level 3 or above may mean you are not eligible to apply: please contact email@example.com for more information.
I already work for ATG. Does this exclude me from applying?
No. If you fulfil the other characteristics in the person specification you are very welcome to apply.
Q. Will I be guaranteed a job at the end of the apprenticeship?
A job will not be guaranteed, because we don’t always know which theatres will have a suitable vacancy. However it is expected that vacancies will arise which interest you, particularly if you are open to working in a variety of our theatres.
Q. What is the recruitment process?
The recruitment process includes an application form, an assessment day and an interview. We assess the application forms against the person specification you will see in the advert, and select a group of approximately 12 candidates to meet at the assessment day. This involves some group activities and a short interview during which we will find out about you, and you can find out more about ATG and what it is like to work for the company.
Q. How many applications do you receive?
In 2022 we received 58 applications for 5 positions. Don’t let this put you off; if you are interested in working as a technician and think you have the qualities we are looking for, you should apply.
Unfortunately due to the volume of applications received we are not always able to offer detailed feedback on application forms unless you already work for ATG. We do offer feedback for everyone invited to the assessment day.
Q. I need a visa to work in the UK. Can ATG sponsor me?
No. ATG is not able to sponsor candidates for this position.
Q. I want to work for ATG as a freelance/casual technician. Who should I contact?
If you are already an experienced technician, you are welcome to send your CV speculatively to the Technical Manager in your nearest theatre. Roles with ATG Productions are advertised on Mandy (the new name for Stage Jobs Pro).
Q. I want to work in theatre, but not as a technician. Where should I go?
There are many ways you can gain relevant experience or find relevant jobs in the industry.
At ATG, you could:
- Take part in a Creative Learning project
- Undertake work experience
- Check out job vacancies in the company
For jobs and experience outside of ATG, you can find many opportunities on the following websites: