News

18 May 2022

A Pathway to Jobs in Live Music: The Weasle Eicke Scholarship

(Lead Pic: Wellesley “Weasle” Eicke, photo by Campbell Manderson)

Victorian Minister for Creative Industries, Danny Pearson, has announced a $190,080 grant to CrewCare to roll out their A Pathway to Jobs in Live Music: The Weasle Eicke Scholarship initiative.

CrewCare wish to acknowledge and thank the Victorian Government for their ongoing commitment to the many businesses and live music workers who contribute so much to the Victorian gig economy.

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The scholarship is named in honour of a beloved industry leader and veteran Wellesley “Weasle” Eicke who prematurely left us in 2021.

Weasle was an accomplished lighting operator and technician who committed his career to lead Australia’s longest serving crewing company, Gig Power.

His work ethic was outstanding and the standards he expected of his staff were the same. He led from the front. Often when running crews of 100 casuals, he could still be found teaching a newcomer how to roll a multicore into a road case or the best way to pack a truck. He was a true champion of bringing all people along for the ride.

He worked with literally thousands of people over the years, his enthusiasm and guidance helping them on their path in the industry.

This program is an embodiment of everything Weasle stood for and what he displayed in his professional life. The scholarship is a fitting tribute to an industry great who was taken too young.

The Scholarship

A Pathway to Jobs in Live Music: The Weasle Eicke Scholarship is a foundation initiative of CrewCare and will be delivered in partnership with RMIT University and supported by Australia’s leading production providers by assisting with facilitating training and job opportunities.

The program is intended to provide a fast-tracked pathway for tertiary students studying RMIT live production courses and unskilled labourers from both regional and metro areas who are active within the industry working in casual positions

This is an equal opportunity program that is designed to encourage and providing opportunities for a diverse range of people in creative industries. The program will elevate these students and workers to fill existing job vacancies with these leading production suppliers.

“Production staff are the unsung heroes of our music industry and without them live shows simply wouldn’t happen,” says Danny Pearson, Minister for Creative Industries. “This grant is about supporting the people that deliver the gigs Victorians love. We’re delivering the essential training and support required to ensure the next generation of production crew are ready to support the live music industry, while providing established roadies with a gateway to return to work.”

“A Pathway to Jobs in Live Music: The Weasle Eicke Scholarship will advance workers and students in Live Music to direct employment opportunities while honouring a much-loved industry leader, says Andrew McKinnon, CrewCare Foundation Director. “CrewCare is pleased to have the Victorian Government’s support as we work to address the critical skill shortage the live music workforce faces as it rebuilds to operate at full capacity.”

An industry that needs immediate help to rebuild

The industry has been hit hard by the ‘great resignation’ with many highly skilled and experienced professionals being forced into other fields of work to support their families. It has exposed an immediate and serious shortage of skilled workers.

The live music industry’s workforce has been largely wiped out during the COVID pandemic. As we reform our resources to meet the pent-up demand for events this summer the lack of skilled and experienced technicians is painfully evident and is proving that our capacity to deliver world-class events is severely at risk. Without this skilled personnel, the show simply does not go on.

The skills shortage has hit the live music industry hard. The lack of retention of a high level of skilled workers is being acutely recognised.

“The opportunity to interact with the industry early in their careers is a major benefit for the students of Live and Sound Production at RMIT,” says Deb Hatton, Trainer and Assessor at RMIT. “The program will allow them to reinforce and extend their skills and build confidence, and gain direct access to employment opportunities”

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