Leadership / 06.11.19
STAR's First Apprentices Are Destined to Soon Become Masters
It has been more than a year now since the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR) and the National College Creative Industries developed an apprenticeship and career path for the United Kingdom’s ticketing industry. So far, all concerned have given it high marks, as the program has enabled ticketing employers to recruit apprentices to provide delivery of high-quality ticketing and customer service.
STAR Chief Executive Jonathan Brown acknowledged in a recent interview with INTIX that the initiative has broken new ground not only for his organization, but also for employers and the industry as a whole. “It’s great that we’ve had some businesses take up the opportunity to provide training to young people in this way,” he says, “and I really hope that their experience is an encouragement to others. There is now the opportunity to provide structured and accredited training to those starting out on a career in ticketing.”
Will Quekett, a member of the STAR Council who led the work on establishing ticketing apprenticeships, also expressed enthusiasm for how well the rollout has gone to date. The first apprentice from this program started at The Ticket Factory in Birmingham, England, this past fall. “The Royal Shakespeare Company and Ticketmaster have also taken on apprentices,” he notes, “and other employers will do so in the coming months. The program has been well received by employers, and also, I understand, by the apprentices themselves, which is pleasing. We believe that this apprenticeship can lead young people into a number of career paths: information technology, customer service, digital marketing, finance, as well as ticketing. No one has completed a full year’s apprenticeship as of yet, so it will be interesting to see where the first group of apprentices go when they finish their training.”
Of course, there have been challenges along the way in getting things off the ground. After all, not only is this a brand-new program, but it’s also the first of its kind for the U.K. ticketing industry. According to Quekett, employers have consequently had to develop a curriculum for their apprentices that follows the guidelines for skills, knowledge and behaviors required by the government’s apprenticeship standard — guidelines that also work for the apprentice and their business.
Brown and Quekett have been especially delighted with the effort put into developing these apprenticeships and guidelines by the employers. “A considerable amount of time and effort from ticketing and HR managers has been required to develop the year-long curriculum required by the apprentice standard,” Quekett says.
So, what makes a good apprentice? Quekett was quick to answer. “I think that a positive and diligent attitude in the workplace is very important, and this is, of course, required and monitored by the program under the behaviors guidelines laid down in the government standard.”
Brown agrees, adding, “While we were putting together the apprenticeship structure, we were told by some employers that apprentices they had in other areas of their business were some of their most diligent workers. Apprentices are focused not only on the mechanics of the job, but on learning the broader skills and knowledge that go with it through a structured and assessed program. When so many older people talk about having tripped unexpectedly into the business of ticketing, isn’t it great that young people now have the option of training in it as a real career choice?”
Apprentices receive both off- and on-the-job training. Off-the-job training is delivered by partner colleges. The UK’s standard mandates that 20% of the apprentice’s time must be spent in off-the-job training to equip apprentices with skills and knowledge. These skills can range from dispute handling to health and safety at the workplace to digital marketing techniques.
If INTIX were to chat with STAR’s team another year from now, what would constitute a successful second year? “Two things really,” Quekett says. “First, that the current apprentices have found employment upon completion of their training. And, second, that more employers have taken on ticketing apprentices.”
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