Brit Row Training receives lifeline grant from Culture Recovery Fund

Britannia Row Production Training has received a lifeline grant of £152,000 from the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help deal with the financial challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Britannia Row Productions Training is one of 2,049 cultural and creative organisations across the country to have been awarded £409m of critically needed support (up to 24th October 2020). The Culture Recovery Fund s being administered by the  Arts Council England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. 

BRPT was founded in 2012 to provide training for people wanting to enter the live events industry as live audio technicians. All BRPT training courses are written, kept up-to-date and delivered by tutors who are experienced industry professionals.

The company’s training activities have been put on hold since March due to pandemic. Now, with the help of the grant, BRPT can offer students the option to study online. Over the next five months, most of the grant will go to audio and video professionals working on producing the online training, providing them with much-needed income. First courses are scheduled to be available in January 2021.

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BRPT’s managing director, Mike Lowe, commented: “I see the Culture Recovery Grant as not only being a lifeline for our training efforts and for those involved in the project over the coming months, but for the whole industry. In normal times, sound engineers and technicians retire; others move on to a whole variety of different roles such as production, technical support or in development for audio equipment manufacturers. This shrinkage in the talent / labour pool at the top end is fed by the pipeline of young people, equipped with the required knowledge and skills, entering the workplace at the beginning of their careers. This pipeline has already been broken by a year. The prognosis is such that it will be broken by at least two years. The natural rate at which sound engineers and technicians move on is accelerating due to the current crisis. Some with family responsibilities are re-training to work in other industries which can provide more immediate and reliable income at this time. Others, who planned to retire in the next two to three years are taking retirement early. 

“When our industry is in a position to return to normal levels of activity, the activity will be big. All artists, promoters and venues want to and need to get back to work. Live events industry workers are needed to allow them to do so. Being able to offer COVID-safe distance learning should help enormously with this oncoming problem. By moving from largely ‘physical’ training to largely ‘virtual’ training, we will reduce our cost of delivery and hence reduce costs for students. This reduction applies not only to course fees but to travel, accommodation and sustenance costs. In turn, we hope to see opportunities for a more diverse range of students than ever before. 

“In the live events industry’s darkest hour, the Culture Recovery Grants and Loans offer some very welcome light and some very exciting opportunities.”

The most recent round of distributions from the Culture Recovery Fund saw iconic London venue Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club and London Venue Group among the beneficiaries. 

The previous round of funding saw five music venues among the beneficiaries: Fabric (£1.5 million), Bournemouth’s BH Live (£2.4m), North Music Trust (£1.8m), which runs Sage Gateshead, Performances Birmingham Ltd (£2.5m), and the ACC Liverpool Group (£2.9m). A number of music-related organisations, such as venues, promoters and festivals, were included in earlier rounds of funding.