They say you reap what you sow, and this more than a fair analogy when considering the intern and apprenticeship programme that sits at the core of Pearce Hire’s award-winning production services.
Since Pearce Hire first committed to an intern development programme with local Further Education College - Peterborough Regional College - over 4 years ago, the main Pearce Hire team has expanded with a number of permanent members of staff who have been ‘home grown’ via the project.
The internship programme at Pearce Hire is headed up by Jim Brown, Warehouse Manager, and students are given the opportunity to gain practical, hands-on experience of working at the HQ of this busy rental production.
Brown picks up the story: “This year there have been some new requirements set down for the students and their course work, and because we acknowledge the value the intern programme brings to Pearce Hire on a number of levels, then we were more than happy to adapt our structure to suit.”
As a result, throughout 2017, Pearce Hire has embarked on a number of initiatives to nurture young talent in the production industry. In the first instance, the company delivered a 4-month rolling programme of 1-week placements for over twenty 1st Year students at PRC, who have each participated in 30-hours work experience. During these intense one-week placements the students gained a first-hand understanding of what happens behind the scenes of this extremely busy production and installation company; servicing and prepping kit, and working as fully integrated members of the team fulfilling warehouse and workshop duties.
“We have long lamented the limited availability of trained technicians coming into the industry so with this programme we’ve put our money where our mouth is and opened our company up to these enthusiastic, young ‘technicians in training’ to allow them to see what it is all about,” continues Brown. “Not only is there the CSR aspect to this initiative, more importantly we are helping to nurture the next generation’s talents, skills, and hopefully instil ‘best practice’ in their formative years.”
“Frankly speaking, these short sharp week-long internships not only provide real-life experience for the students, they provide Pearce Hire with a number of ‘long format’ interviews where we can see the students in action, see how quickly they grasp things, what they show a real aptitude for, and see their potential as possible future team members in our close knit, hard working team.”
“Given the cyclical peaks and troughs of the core sectors we work in, it also enables us to build up a crew database, which offers us the potential for offering students seasonal work, where a lot of the relevant but time-consuming induction work is done and they already have a familiarity of the company and its ethos, the warehouse layout, and the actual projects we are working towards. Which is becoming even more important as we get busier and busier – this year we have provided services to over 2,000 events.”
The intern system created by Pearce Hire has paid dividends as permanent team members have joined following their intern experience in recent years. Dave Richardson – one of the very first interns to come to Pearce Hire from PRC, and an alumnus of the BTEC Extended Diploma in Music Technology course has now been working at Pearce Hire for over 4 years and is a Junior Technician. Jake Langham is a more recent addition to the team and he brings an expertise in lighting following his graduation from the BTEC Level 3 Production Arts.
For the past 18 months, Chris Mear has been part of the Pearce Hire team on an Electrical Installation Apprenticeship for one day a week, as part of his City & Guilds 3-year course, and is currently part of the Hire department team whilst on a short hiatus from his apprenticeship. Comments Mear “I got my inspiration for working in the industry whilst I was still at school, working on amateur dramatic productions where kit was hired from Pearce Hire. I badgered Pearce Hire for holiday work over the years and now I am officially an employee of Pearce Hire as part of a Local Council and Government sponsored initiative. I couldn’t have been luckier to have a local company such as Pearce Hire interested, and enthusiastic about supporting the next generation of technicians!”
Over Summer 2017, Pearce Hire also took on an international approach with its development of younger technicians in the industry. Pearce Hire has a close working relationship with Amptown Cases in Germany, and for a fortnight in the summer, Amptown’s apprentice Bennet Liebermann joined the Pearce Hire team in Peterborough, gaining valuable insight into the workings of one of Amptown’s busy production customers. Bennet is currently in his final year of his apprenticeship and was offered the opportunity as part of the Erasmus + initiative which is a European Union funded programme running for 30 years across 33 participating programme countries. This youth exchange programme allows apprentices to gain valuable work experience in another EU country as part of their vocational qualification.
And as the busiest year on record for Pearce Hire draws to a close, the recent Production Futures event has resulted in yet another young addition to the Pearce Hire team. Jim Brown explains: “we exhibited at Production Futures for a second year running as it provides an excellent opportunity for us to meet students outside our immediate geographical area and talk about their aspirations in the industry. As a business, Pearce Hire is in a period of growth and we were looking to recruit a young, enthusiastic individual immediately – someone who was at the start of their career who we could invest in, and develop their pre-existing skills. It was here that we met Zack Batchelor, who actually lives locally to Pearce Hire and has now joined us in the role of Lighting and Rigging Trainee. Zack impressed us the first time we met him at Production Futures, and following a more intensive interview back at base, we snapped him up! He is enthusiastic, a fast learner, and chomping at the bit to get started in this industry. The perfect candidate for Pearce Hire!”
With all this new talent in the Pearce Hire team, and a number of shortlisting and finalist accolades for Pearce Hire at a number of industry awards taking place early next year, there is no doubt that Pearce Hire is in an excellent position to take on all the challenges and production requirements of 2018.
Shaun Pearce, MD of Pearce Hire sums it up: “2017 has been an exceptional year for Pearce Hire and we are delighted to have such an impressive group of young talent now imbedded in our team. Jake, Chris, and now Zack are now fully integrated into the team and we know that we are in a strong position to continue to offer excellent standards of production service to all our clients. The younger technicians, crew and students who we work with throughout the year are a major reason why we are on such an expansion drive. We are looking ahead with great enthusiasm to 2018 and hope to celebrate another record year of business!”