Still flying high despite career change

A MEDICAL discharge from the RAF in 2013 saw Scott Matthews facing a major career change decision – what to do next?

A friend suggested he visited Backstage Academy in South Kirkby and he was blown away by what he saw and scope of what the UK’s leading live events university centre had to offer.

“When I left the RAF I didn’t really have a fallback plan. My brothers had been involved in bands and I used to help but I’d never really thought about it as a career. When I came and had a look around I knew straightaway that this was what I wanted to do,” said Scott, aged 29, from Leeds.

Scott enrolled on the two-year Foundation Arts (FdA) degree in Live Events Production and, after graduating in 2015, joined LS-Live on the Production Park campus, where Backstage Academy is based, where he is now a Studio Coordinator.

“I really enjoyed the course particularly the staging modules which were really hands-on. A big part of the course is practical work experience and I spent summers doing artist liaison at festivals across the UK, as transport manager at the Radio One Big Weekend in Norwich and production assistant at Ibiza Rocks. I also worked on the first BBC Music Awards which was great and helped me get where I am today,” said Scott.

A unique support environment for the live events industry, LS-Live is one of 20 live events businesses based at Production Park. Providing stage and set rental, equipment hire, studio and support services, they have seven studios of varying sizes including Studio 001, Europe’s first arena sized production rehearsal studio, for which Scott is responsible.

“I’m told I have the best job on the site! I’m working with top productions, bands and their managers, making sure the studio is ready for them to come in and rehearse as they put together shows and tours to take around the world. While a lot of what I do is based at Production Park, I’m also involved in projects which take me overseas and around the UK,” said Scott.

“The course I did at Backstage Academy, experience I gained, opportunities I had and contacts I made were second to none and have certainly set me up for the career I have now.”

Glen Rowe, Managing Director at Backstage Academy said: “It’s great not only that Scott is doing so well but, being on the same campus as us, we’re able to keep working with him. Employability is an important feature of all our courses and combining academic learning with high value work experience is key to this.

“Creative industries are booming contributing £91.8bn to the UK economy and increasing its value by more than 50 per cent in the last five years. Working in live events is highly skilled, great fun and can be very well rewarded.”