For over a decade, Backstage Academy has been working with the South African Roadies Association (SARA) to explore the creation of a training initiative for the live events industry in South Africa. The ultimate goal of this collaboration is to establish a live events training institution based on the Backstage Academy model to provide the young people of South Africa with the skills and opportunities needed for the successful and continuing growth of the live events sector on the African continent.
In March 2019, this journey took a major step forward as Backstage Academy welcomed a VIP delegation of South African dignitaries from the Department of Culture and Arts to their campus at Production Park in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
Led by Vusumuzi Mkhize, The Director General of the Department of Arts and Culture, the delegation spent 4 days in the UK visiting Production Park and meeting with key stakeholders to gain an understanding of how Backstage Academy was formed and developed into the institution it is today.
The visit marked a huge milestone on this ambitious journey and secured the agreement of the South African government to throw their support behind SARA and Backstage Academy. This resulted in an agreement to create a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations to drive the creation of a training initiative throughout South Africa focused on the live events industry.
Mr Mkhize commented, “The Department of Arts and Culture in South Africa is excited that Backstage Academy and SARA have come on board to journey with us. This project to drive live events training is of enormous importance to our country to bridge the skills gap in the sector. The Public-Private Partnership will help the South African Government to achieve this objective and create job opportunities for the youth.”
Adrian Brooks, Founder and Chairman of Backstage Academy, commented; ‘We are delighted to be in this position at long last. Mr Mkhize has confirmed that the government of South Africa will give their backing to the establishment of a Backstage Academy-style inclusive training initiative to benefit aspiring live events professionals across South Africa and the wider African continent.
‘The initiative will be delivered by the industry, for the industry, and is a proud example of the use of the 3C’s – collaboration cooperation and competition – to drive up the skills levels and opportunities for all of the people in Africa. An agreement was made that a joint statement should be made between the parties to broadcast this terrific news.’