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College partners with industry leader in live event lighting

3rd July 2024 – Tags: T Levels

Production Arts students at City College Norwich are getting a head start in their careers in theatre and live events thanks to an exciting new partnership with Robe Lighting

Becoming an education partner with Robe means that the college's students will learn about the latest technology and careers in the moving lights industry, from a company that is widely recognised as a world leader.   

City College Norwich is one of only two educational institutions in the UK and Ireland to have been invited to partner with the Czech Republic-based company, with the Lir Academy in Dublin being the other. 

The link-up with Robe came about thanks to Wymondham-based ETS, one of the leading professional sound and lighting providers in the East of England, who regularly help with equipment hire and give careers talks to the college’s Production Arts students. 

Visit to Robe’s factory in the Czech Republic 

The partnership with Robe has already creating unique learning opportunities this year for students on the college’s Extended Diploma in Production Arts. Students on the new T Level in Media, Broadcast and Production (astarting in September 2024) will enjoy the benefits from the exciting partnership.       

Production Arts Course Leader Rich Hanke-Hill and students Harley Roebuck and Jack Rudd recently visited Robe’s HQ and factory in the Czech Republic. Robe’s 75,000 sq m factory manufactures lighting that is exported to more than 100 countries worldwide.  

The visit allowed the students to see all aspects of the production process: from R&D, the manufacturing of Printed Circuit Boards at Diaflex (a subsidiary of Robe), and the production lines where Robe’s moving light systems are assembled ready for export.    

The visit also provided the opportunity to meet Robe’s CEO, Josef Valchar, over dinner. 

For Josef to be interested in what students like Jack and Harley are up to is really important,” says Production Arts Course Leader Rich Hanke-Hill. “It shows them that the industry is available to them.” 

Inspiring a new generation of lighting professionals  

Rich continues: “Robe are interested in the future of people in the industry. They are actively inspiring young people to create a new generation of lighting professionals. They want to work with us to help create those people.” 

Harley Roebuck, who is in his 2nd year on the Production Arts course, says: 

It was really cool to see how you could progress within their company. I think that was very motivating.” 

Jack Rudd adds: “It was a great cultural experience as well, going to where their factory is in Czechia. It was nice to see how it differs, how places are and how people work, compared to England.” 

Students inspired to pursue live events careers

Since the visit to the Czech Republic, Harley has picked up a fantastic work experience opportunity with Robe, joining the team at the TPi Awards in London, which is the biggest awards event for the live events industry.  

Both Harley and Jack have their sights set on careers in live events. Harley comments: 

I’m primarily interested in lighting. I really like it because it allows you to work a lot more creatively than other roles would. With lighting now it's very much about the combination between new technology and being creative. I love how those two things combine within theatre and live events.”      

The creativity of live events production is also a big art of the appeal for Jack, who says, “It’s the way that you read a script and think that this light would look good in this way. Or a particular sound effect would sound quite cool to go along with this scene. I really like learning about tech as well.”