Meet UK Rigging Project X graduate, Kieran Gill

UK Rigging Project X graduate, Kieran Gill reflects on his experience.

Last year TPi was invited to UK Rigging’s Bolton HQ to hear all about Project X – a new scheme with the goal to train new riggers and address the mass shortage of those qualified to work at height within the live events sector.

Project X in its first year saw UK Rigging welcome six new recruits who underwent an intensive six-month program that resulted in all achieving their National Rigging Certificate (NRC). The scheme also saw UK Rigging take care of all upfront costs that the recruits might need for equipment which could then be paid back in installments when they were qualified. The company also ensured that any qualified riggers training the students would also be compensated for their time.

With the first batch of Project X students completing their course, TPi caught up with Kieran Gill, one of this year’s alumni, to hear about his experience.

How did you first hear about Project X?

“I found out about Project X entirely by chance. I was talking to one of my friends while we were crewing Green Day’s Hella Mega Tour. During the day we were saying how it would be cool to be a rigger climbing about the roof. I looked up UK Rigging and they must’ve just recently posted for applicants for the first round of Project X – and here we are. That friend also ended up on the course with me.”

What was it about rigging that made you want to pursue a career in this sector?

“Rigging was appealing to me mainly because seeing the riggers climbing about the roof when I was local crew just looked interesting and an exciting job to have. I must admit seeing the riggers go home early while you’re crewing was also very appealing.

Had you been trying to get into this side of the industry for a while and what were some of the major challenges you’d faced? 

“I had thoughts about becoming a rigger previous to finding the Project X but I thought it wouldn’t have been accessible to me. The costs for your equipment, courses, and training made it seem out of the realm of possibility while I was crew, especially with the current cost of living. But really, I was very fortunate to have found Project X when I did because without it I would have probably left the industry at the end of the festival season.”

What was it like to be part of the course and do you have any major highlights from the six months? 

“The course was really very good, especially for the first proper go of it. Shadowing different riggers and working in different arenas was very useful in learning new skills. My highlight though has to be passing my NRC because it’s been a game changer in terms of further developing as a rigger by being able to actually be on-site doing the job myself.”

Since completing the course how busy have you been?

“I achieved my NRC in late January which isn’t the busiest time for the industry. But UK Rigging managed to get me enough shifts while it was quiet, and now that it’s getting busy my schedule is really full.”

What are your lasting thoughts from Project X and is it a scheme that other companies in the industry should be looking at investing in? 

“Project X is something that has made it way more accessible for people to get into rigging. Personally, I would have really struggled without it and I think if other companies need more riggers then they should definitely be trying to set up a scheme for people to get into the industry. I also think the extra training we got at UK Rigging was really beneficial as we could ask in-depth questions without the timeframe of a job getting in the way if you were to ask it on-site.”