With a greater focus on global staffing shortages than ever before post-lockdown, sector-specific good news stories like the acquisition of young talent have never been more welcomed. One such example is Pro Audio Systems’ latest recruit and Huddersfield New College Music Technology graduate, Jack Robson, who landed a role as Trainee Hire Technician to help deal with an ever-increasing workload in the company’s busy Bradford warehouse.
Having lent his audio skills to several charity events for the likes of Candlelighters (Children’s Hospital), Prostate Cancer UK, and Cancer UK, as well as being a keen musician in his spare time, Robson will assist with preparation and maintenance of PAS hire stock, while developing a full range of technical and customer-facing tasks – working from a grass-roots role towards taking an active part in every aspect of event delivery.
Since joining the company, PAS’ latest recruit has already played a role in the design and supply of a new sound system to Harrogate Town Football Club, a d&b audiotechnik Soundscape installation at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, as well as several hire projects, becoming level 3 Audinate Dante-certified along the way.
“Learning about Dante has been very useful as it’s a fundamental component of many modern audio systems; on the business front, the importance of delivering a quality service and building good relationships has already become very clear,” Robson informed TPi. “I’m definitely a lot more ‘hands on’ with the kit, and have worked on a few events with a number of different clients since the start of the year. I’m also actively involved in prepping the gear for the gigs which is great.”
According to Robson, education played a ‘vital’ part in a successful application to PAS, eventually helping him land the role of Trainee Hire Technician in December 2021. “My studies alongside my experience gained working in live events and with bands made me a more desirable candidate,” he supposed. “The key things I learned at college were regarding the application of products, understanding their specifications, what to use where, et cetera.”
However, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted Robson’s studies at Huddersfield New College ‘enormously’. Having enrolled onto the Music Technology course months prior to the first UK lockdown in March 2020, his class made the decision to adopt remote learning, something which continued throughout the remainder of his time at college. “This had a huge impact on all of the practical aspects of my course as we weren’t able to access the studio or anything else for that matter,” he recalled.
A lack of in-person experiences, he believes, is the key challenge for graduates and young people breaking into a sector where experience matters; this was also compounded by the lack of available jobs amid the pandemic.
“The live events industry was hit extremely hard by COVID-19 with lockdown and gig postponements and eventual cancellations in the wake of the lockdown made it increasingly difficult to make important connections, network and gain valuable hands-on experience,” Robson explained.
Pro Audio Systems Business Development Director, Peter Butler recalled the ‘overwhelmingly positive’ response to the news of Robson’s appointment. “It’s always great to take on new staff members, and especially so after the turbulent times we’ve all endured under restrictions,” he commented. “Our announcement was met with surprising amounts of enthusiasm from all quarters, which is incredibly gratifying. As a business, we’re extremely positive about the future.”
Since January, PAS has increased its head count by five people, adding new staff in their sales, accounts and hire departments. The firm has also launched a new lighting and video division to broaden its technical horizons. “The level of interest and number of enquiries we have had has already exceeded all expectations,” Butler reported.
This article originally appeared in issue #268 of TPi, which you can read here.