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Apprenticeships - Case Studies

Read what our apprentices say about life at the Royal Opera House:

Tommy Judd, Scenic Metalwork Apprentice

When Tommy saw the apprenticeship advert he was just about to finish a two year, BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Engineering at Thurrock Technical College (now part of South Essex College). Prior to that he had studied a BTEC Level 2 in Engineering for two years at school.

Where did you see your apprenticeship advertised?
In the Thurrock Gazette

Why did you apply?
I had just come out of college and was looking for an engineering apprenticeship.  I saw this apprenticeship advertised and thought it would be a good opportunity to further my career with such a good company.

Is your apprenticeship what you expected?
I didn’t know what to expect when I started but once I got into the flow of things I realised I’d made the right choice.

Can you describe a typical day?
It’s sort of different every day.  You’re never doing the same thing.  We spend a few weeks building one production and then when it’s finished we clean down the workshop ready for the next one.  But the work on each production is never the same.

What’s the best thing about your apprenticeship?
It is not boring!  I don’t feel that coming to work is a chore!

What do you see yourself doing after your apprenticeship?
I would really like to stay within the industry if at all possible.  Otherwise I’d definitely like to stay within the engineering.


 

Georgia Butler, Exhibitions Apprentice

After leaving full-time education, Georgia worked in childcare and in recruitment before applying for the Exhibitions Apprenticeship at the Royal Opera House. Georgia had always loved the arts and doing an apprenticeship has given her the qualifications and skills to pursue a career in the industry.

Where do you see your apprenticeship advertised?
The Royal Opera House website while I was looking for tickets for the ballet.

What does an average day involve?
My average day working day involves event planning, working off-site in Kent stores, installing exhibitions, condition-checking items front of house, and planning and organising projects.

What is the best thing about your apprenticeship?
The variety of work I get to be involved in and working in a friendly team.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
Working within an Arts organisation.

Opera or Ballet – which do you prefer?
Ballet although I have learnt to appreciate opera too!

Is the apprenticeship what you expected?
The apprenticeship is everything I expected and more. I expected the ROH to be a great place to work because of the reputation of the ROH but I didn’t expect it to be so friendly and open. It has provided me with so many learning opportunities.


 

Louisa Troughton, Costume Apprentice

When Louisa applied for the apprenticeship at the Royal Opera House, she had returned to working full-time in retail after completing an introductory course (level 1) in tailoring at Newham College. The apprenticeship has allowed Louisa to support herself while gaining vocational training and further qualifications in tailoring.

Where did you see your apprenticeship advertised?
I saw the costume apprenticeship advertised on the Royal Opera House website. There was plenty of information and the scheme seemed to be really well run. I downloaded the form and the application just seemed to write itself!

What does an average day involve?
My days are always varied and I get the opportunity to spend time in different departments: Ladieswear, Men’s Tailoring and Performance Support. An average day can involve anything from attending a costume fitting with the designer, performer and pattern cutters, to making up the garments with the help of the team, or preparing fabrics and trimmings. Sometimes I even get to watch one of the general rehearsals of a new production!

What is the best thing about your job?
One of the best things is getting the chance to work with and learn from the experienced and talented people who work in the costume departments at the Opera House. The days can be hard work but there’s such a sense of achievement when I finish a piece of costume and know that it could be part of a ROH production for many years to come.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?
The apprenticeship has already given me a lot of confidence in my abilities and, even though I’ve still got a lot to learn, I feel sure that a career working in costume is right for me. I’d like to have a lot of different experiences but I think it will always be an ambition to come back and work at the Royal Opera House as a fully-fledged member of staff.

Opera or Ballet, what do you prefer?
I’ve always really loved ballet – the costumes, the music and above all the amazing skill of the dancers and choreographers make it such an experience. Before I started the apprenticeship I didn’t really know anything about opera and thought it wasn’t really for me. Recently though, I got to see a production of an opera here, Written on Skin, and it was amazing, I couldn’t stop thinking about it!

How do you find the work/college balance?
The work/college balance works really well for me, it’s flexible in that my tutors understand there might be times when I’d like to be at the Royal Opera House more if there is something there I need to focus on. It’s also nice to be part of a student community, making friends and sharing experiences with people who are also learning.

Is the apprenticeship what you expected?
I think it’s even better! I was surprised at how involved I get to be in the work going on in the departments and that I’m trusted to work on important projects. I also get a great amount of support from the team who run the apprenticeship scheme. I feel like they really want to help me succeed, which is a good feeling. The Royal Opera House is such a lovely and welcoming place to work and I feel very lucky to be doing this apprenticeship.


You can find out more about the Apprenticeship scheme on our FAQ page.