S4T was formed in 1995 as an association of technical and production managers from the major theatres in Scotland. Its aims are to promote and improve technical standards of staff working within the performing arts in Scotland. Since 1995 the organisation has grown to include the majority of theatres, touring companies and related venues where professional theatre technicians are regularly employed. Today over 800 production and technical staff are represented.
S4T's aims are to
* Promote technical standards within Scottish Theatre by providing and developing training
* Provide a network for staff and managers working within the theatre industry
* Raise standards within technical theatre
* Affect economic and cultural developments though our contribution to world class artistic products
The majority of performing arts organisations within Scotland are small or micro businesses and their training needs for technical staff have proved difficult to meet from their conventional resources. Individual organisations have tiny budgets in staff time or money to send technicians on training and the traditional apprenticeships of progression through the ranks while learning from senior staff is disappearing under the budgetary pressures of modern productions.
S4T works with a number of individual trainers and professional bodies to provide a comprehensive service to members and interested organisations.
In the UK in general health and safety training accounts for over 84% of all workplace training in industry. S4T has identified the largest skills gap amongst Scottish theatre technicians as training in health and safety. It has proved to be an area where staff, managers, boards and unions can unite in support of its introduction.
S4T is currently developing a new business plan designed to address in a more joined up way all of the training needs of the technical theatre sector. This will include the expansion of the Skillsgym programme developed with support from the Scottish Executive; Skillsgym worked as an in-depth training needs analysis for the membership. S4T aims to develop and implement a Mentoring programme for Technical theatre staff which will complement and enhance the training currently available.
Additionally S4T is undertaking in-depth research into the training needs of not just Technical Theatre in Scotland, but also of Theatres as a whole, in order to look at training across the sector and how this might be joined up.
S4T focus on:
S4T encourage practitioners to become more strategic about their professional development and in turn present their case to funders and delivery agencies, to ensure their needs are provided for.
S4T have developed a model of identifying training and developmental needs and has delivered this model across individual, departments, organisations, even whole sectors.
S4T provide new opportunities for engagement with professional development across a wide range of art forms.
S4T provide a wide range of customised support services for new or emerging arts businesses.
Current programmes include:
‘SkillsGym’ - supported by the Scottish Executive, a national event to raise the profile of workforce development amongst technical and production artists, across Scotland.
‘Centre-up’ - supported by LearnDirect, Scotland, a local project to enhance their (S4T) own learning centre, providing resource areas, IT facilities and on-lone learning opportunities.
Theatre SafetyNet - provides a much needed and in demand safety audit service for the arts Membership programme; offers services to subscribers, including reduced rates on events, priority access and booking to events and projects, free access to the learning centre, the ‘Course-Search’ programme and the fortnightly advice surgeries, complimentary quarterly newsletter and other S4T publications and guidance notes
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