8 Feb 2024

New Year, New You

by Jenny Barrett

New and updated training opportunities across the motu

New year, new you. Never done a ‘proper’ qualification and think it may be time to knuckle down and give it a whirl? There are a number of new entertainment technology and audio qualifications available throughout the country, from Certificate, through to Graduate Diploma, offering a mix of on the job, online, and on campus options. And for those with less time or already qualified to the hilt, St John’s new range of courses may be of interest.

Entertainment Technician


Building on the hard work completed by ETNZ to create an on-the-job apprenticeship style qualification, the New Zealand Certificate in Entertainment and Event Technology Level 4 is now additionally available at a number of tertiary institutes across the country. UCOL Te Pūkenga Manawatū Palmerston North launched the course last August and is encouraging new enrolments for February. The programme covers the general practices, processes, and protocols of the entertainment and event technology industry, with a focus on lighting and live sound. The programme combines in-class and online learning with work placements with event companies and theatres including The Regent on Broadway, Globe Theatre, and Centrepoint Theatre. The students are provided with the chance to shadow technicians behind the scenes of shows and events and UCOL is also using these venues and their equipment for teaching.

Programme lecturer Talya Pilcher described the programme as great for anyone looking to get their start as an event technician, crew looking to upskill to relieve the shortage of trained techs, or people who have experience in an amateur capacity but need training to take their skills to a professional level.

Southern Institute of Technology are also offering the course and Te Mahi Ako, previously Skills Active, continue to support the on-the-job programme. Shop around and find a mix of on campus, online or on the job training that works for you, checking the content of the course fits with your passion, be it lighting, audio, visual or rigging.


Audio Production

Look no further than Invercargill! Southern Institute of Technology announced in October ’23 the completion of a state-of-the-art sound studio and recognition as a Dolby Institute education partner. Doug Heath, Programme Manager for the Schools of Sound and Contemporary Music says the Dolby Atmos 360 immersive sound studio in Invercargill has taken around two years to set up as they worked through the requirements to ensure they met all the criteria. Dolby partners with schools, colleges, and organisations around the world to provide educational resources and teaching which encourage “pushing the boundaries in creativity”, and support a quality learning experience of immersive audio with Dolby Atmos.

The Dolby Atmos studio will be utilised to teach SIT Sound students on specialised sound mixing equipment. Adding the top-end product to SIT Sound’s repertoire of teaching tools helps them to keep pace with contemporary trends. “It’s indicative of the further development we’ve done with recognised industry products,” said Mr Heath, mentioning they have also been an Avid Learning Partner (ALP) since 2008 and are Avid certified.

With SIT Sound now officially a Dolby Institute education partner, Mr Heath believed it increased the possibility to connect with the nearby burgeoning Queenstown film and events industry. SIT Sound are continuing to look at ways to link with industry to enrich the student learning experience and to support connections for potential future employment opportunities.

SIT’s Audio Production courses range from Certificate up to Graduate Diploma level and focus on hands-on learning of skills. Students undertake a range of practical and academic work, including events with local groups, building professional networks and the opportunity for third year Bachelor students to intern at SAE’s Byron Bay campus in Australia for 12 weeks. Facilities are of the highest standard, with five recording studios fully equipped with quality equipment, a recording auditorium and a 300 seat professional theatre.

St John’s broaden range of courses

Not quite up to a Certificate level course? St John’s workshop courses range from basic first aid training to industry-specific courses held at over 100 public or private venues nationwide. Recent additions or recently updated courses include a mental health first aid course and an e-learning programme on Management of an Intoxicated Person designed for individuals in a position where contact with people under the influence of drugs and alcohol is common. This two to three hour course has been designed in collaboration with the New Zealand Drug Foundation, Whakarongorau and New Zealand Police and is an introduction to signs and symptoms and how a first aider, can help recognise and treat the basics, to life-threatening medical emergencies. Of course, St John’s also continue to offer SiteSafe, invaluable to those working on construction sites, and First Aid Level 1, 2 and refresher.


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