3 March 2014 at 11.26am | Comment on this article
This week National Apprenticeship Week takes place across the UK.
The annual event is in its seventh year and will see organizations and companies large and small shine the spotlight on apprentices and training opportunities.
The Royal Opera House has been offering apprenticeships in backstage production and technical departments since 2007, providing opportunities to gain high-quality vocational training. Participants learn on the job from some of the best skilled people in the industry.
Daniel Walker is currently the Derek Butler Armoury Apprentice, making and maintaining The Royal Opera and Royal Ballet's stock of period and contemporary weaponry including swords, daggers and rifles:
When I think back over my time with the Armoury so far, it blows me away how much I've learnt. I've made daggers, revolver holsters and armed the Turandot chorus with spears. It's satisfying to help out with the shows, and to know that what I am doing is not only helpful for me, but helpful for others as well."
Some apprenticeships also involve training through other organizations, as experienced by the Derek Butler Scenic Art Apprentice Danny Pheloung:
Away from Purfleet [where the ROH's Scenic Art Department is based] I have had the opportunity to learn technical skills alongside Postgraduate Scenic Art students at RADA where I was introduced to the fundamentals of drawing tools. I have taken various short courses, one of which taught me to use a scissor lift - a qualification similar to a driving test, consisting of both a theory and practical examinations. I've thoroughly enjoyed my time and made some great friends."
Last year two of our apprentices took part in a Twitter Q&A, sharing their experiences and advice with those considering opportunities for workplace training.
Apprenticeships at the Royal Opera House are generously supported by the Derek Butler Trust, the Headley Trust, Ashley Family Foundation, Gordon Foundation and Worshipful Company of Joiners’ and Ceilers Charitable Trust.