Live Tech Edu Summit 2023: Paving the way for next-generation talent – Music In Africa

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The first-ever Live Tech Edu Summit, organised by the South African Roadies Association (SARA) in partnership with the UK-based Academy of Live Technology, took place at Holiday Inn Johannesburg in Sunnyside Park on 12 September 2023.
The purpose of the initiative was to provide training opportunities for young people in South Africa and beyond – in the live events, technical and production services industries (ETPSI) – and offer educational programmes including diplomas and short courses.
The importance of live events and production services in various industries, such as theatre, broadcasting, sports events and film production, was emphasised during the summit.
SARA president Freddie Nyathela highlighted the industry’s rapid evolution due to advancements in automation and technology, which is reimagining production possibilities.
“Opportunities of how – and what – that you’re bringing to life are rapidly changing,” he said. “Our industry is growing and evolving. Things like automation and technology are reinventing production as we know it, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. But the future is only as bright as the talent.”
One of the key highlights of the summit was the Academy of Live Technology’s presentation (see attachment below) on its experiences and insights regarding international developments in live events and the creative industries.
The event also explored plans to upgrade and register live-event qualifications in South Africa, with the aim of raising them from Level 4 to Level 8.
“Currently in South Africa, the qualification for live technical production is only at NQF Level 4, which is equivalent to a matric qualification,” Nyathela said. “At first, there was no training in this field for live technical and production skills, especially for our young people. That’s why for 10 years, we’ve been working with the Academy of Live Technology of the UK to establish this kind of space. They are running these qualifications at a higher level in Europe, up to PhD level. So, we’re working with them to make sure that we also register their qualifications in South Africa, which not only benefits South Africa but the whole continent, as it will be the first of its kind.”
Another significant aspect of the summit was the involvement of the National Department of Sports, Arts, and Culture, which expressed its financial and strategic support for the establishment of the SA Academy for Live Technology. Nyathela also explained the role that the department played in initiating the Live Edu Tech Event.
“We were fortunate enough to secure funding for this project from the National Department of Arts and Culture,” he said. “In 2019, I had an opportunity to convince the former minister and the former director-general to accompany me to the UK so that I could show them exactly what I was talking about. We took them to the Academy of Live Technology in the UK where they were blown away. Because of that experience, we’ve been able to secure a three-year funding grant.”
Nyathela emphasised the need to nurture talented individuals for the future success of the industry. He also stressed the importance of raising awareness among young people about production careers, as many available jobs remained relatively unknown. Bridging this knowledge gap and showcasing the vast opportunities in the field was crucial to inspiring the next generation, he said.
“As an industry, we are often used to being behind the scenes, but if we don’t put a spotlight on production, how can we show that these kinds of careers exist to young people? Most of the jobs that keep the industry going are not part of common knowledge, resulting in an increasing gap between awareness and opportunity. Nevertheless, we have a responsibility to put our industry in front of young people and shout about all the opportunities there are. We need to work harder to dispel the myths and misconceptions around the validity of careers in our industry and lift the lid on how we create those extraordinary moments so many of us live for,” Nyathela said. 
Overall, the Live Tech Edu Summit successfully brought together experts in live events and creative industries to share knowledge and contribute to the advancement of education and transformative social change. It provided a platform for international perspectives, educational programmes and strategic collaborations that have the potential to shape the future of the industry.
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