Following the success of the first LETPC in 2015, the south african roadies association (sara) held its second international live events and technical production conference (LETPC) at theSsunnyside Park Hotel in Johannesburg from 12 to 14 may 2016.
The event was principally sponsored by the Department of Arts and Culture with additional sponsorship from Gearhouse, Dreamlenz Productions and Beautiful Creations Décor & Design.
Delegates, who hailed from a raft of industry organisations such as TPSA, EXSA, IFEA, SACIA and SARA and included small businesses and professionals from the event, technical and production sectors, once again had the opportunity to hear various international industry leaders share their expertise and experiences. International speakers included Adrian Brooks from Backstage Academy (UK), Falco Zanini from VPLT (Germany), Jim Digby from Event Safety Alliance (USA), John Botham from Semperior LTD, Julius Grafton from CX Networx, Lyiola Ayoade from Multiple Concepts Group and many more local speakers.
At the event, a strong government commitment was made to supporting arts and culture as both a significant employment sector and a platform for building the nation. Within this context, it was emphasised that a strong event, technical and production industry is essential for a healthy live music and performing arts industry. Trained and experienced event, technical and production skills were acknowledged as central to the music and performing arts industries in South Africa, and for the key role they play in the conference and tourism sectors, notwithstanding a host of other industries and the wider region.
The LETPC 2015 concluded with four clear objectives:
To gather the technical and production and education sectors together with international market leaders from across the same sector, government, SETAs, suppliers and independent skills.
To update and advance the critically urgent need to upgrade technical and production skill qualifications and standards in South Africa. To discuss the enhancement of technical and production vocational training and education with a view to formulating a sector plan for the future. To confirm validating the need for a technical and production sector skills needs analysis forecast
These objectives were discussed further at this year’s conference. In this regard, the many opportunities that the industry offers young people to obtain skills and establish livelihoods were described. It was pointed out that South Africa is a key destination in the live events industry, exhibition and conference sectors, thanks to the good weather, infrastructure, and African and international relationships. All of these favourable aspects could be leveraged to a much greater extent to create more opportunities within the industry.
The education framework of various countries were discussed, and it became clear that in South Africa it is important for government departments, SETAs, employers and employees to collaborate more to create opportunities for young people and to ensure a wealth of skills for the industry to draw from.
The conference also highlighted the importance of transformation in the industry, and all stakeholders once again emphasised their commitment to this essential goal. Jacob Maphutha of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) highlighted the challenges facing the industry in this regard, including the low base of entrepreneurs and industrials and lack of proper monitoring and evaluating. These challenges were duly discussed, debated and noted by attendees at the conference.
SARA president Freddy Nyathela emphasised the need for a Backstage Academy: “A Backstage Academy is a must-have, because … without skills and knowledge, the industry won’t grow.”
The Department of Arts and Culture told delegates more about its upcoming provincial roadshows, which will share information about opportunities across the country. Furthermore, the department reaffirmed its support for the conference and its commitment to improved collaboration within the industry.
The LETPC 2016 concluded with a unanimous and firm commitment to further develop the industry through employment opportunities for the youth, improved industry communications, better governance and an upgrade of skills.