Gearhouse's "Kentse Mpahlwa Academy" which we know has been going strong since 2005, has mentored and trained young learners from varying walks of life, giving them all the hands on training and skills they need to be work ready and industry compliant, when they step into their career path.

Being leaders in the industry, Gearhouse's strong foundations on health and safety, rigorous work ethics and service ethos are key factors that drive the Academy; teaching learners various structured theoretical and practical tools of the trade which will in essence " Gear them up" for the industry they will be entering into.

As our learners dabble in the various fields they start getting a taste of where their passions lie. The theoretical aspects of the learnership are of key importance but another critical factor is having the learners actually experience large scale events, from the initial setup to show day. This showcases all the elements that make the show what it is, and gives them the experiential training on-site to shape and build them up to ultimately become leaders in their industry. Gearhouse South Africa's team is very passionate about their industry, so it is very refreshing to see the same passion in our young learners, as it is this passion and enthusiasm that ultimately drives one to success and to accomplish great things in their chosen area of expertise.

Having said that, we chatted to Pearl Masegelo, and Bonke Mthembu, from the Academy who shared some of their experiences with us. We started the interview off with Pearl, one of this year's most charismatic and vivacious learners. She explained how on the acclaimed and well-publicised "MTV Mama's" that took place at the Northgate Dome recently, she was in complete awe of the entire production and that it made a huge impact on her.

Pearl: "Well my main role besides learning about lighting was that of stage hand to the VWV events group. I learnt the importance of being a stage hand, how crucial my role was to the show and that made me feel like I contributed a lot to the overall success of the show. I understood the importance of being on cue and realised that being just a few seconds late could be detrimental to the entire flow of the planned event, causing a ripple effect if all elements aren't structured and on point. The main highlights for me were seeing things I had done being broadcast live, being interviewed by the MTV "behind the scenes" team and seeing my fellow crew members featured on live snippets on the DSTV broadcast. Being there "live" on show day was an experience which will be hard to forget - from the choreography to the performers – and one that truly blew me away, having been able to see them live vs sitting on a couch.

Challenges that I faced were specifically in the lighting area, where things changed constantly due to various players all with different ideas. It was at times frustrating...but it is the nature of this job."

We then ended off our interview with Bonke, a helpful, quietly assertive and enthusiastic individual. He too was very proud of what was accomplished, and had this to say:

Bonke: "I was very hands on, building trusses, hanging lights, cleaning and neatening cables and other technical installations. I learnt also how important it is to be on time, timing is everything!! Especially with a live broadcast, you have to be on point, there is a lot more precision involved when it comes to a live show, as the performance artists' really rely on us. If we make a mistake it doesn't only mess up their performance but also the next act... and more so if it's not rectified "fast". The WOW factor for me was also the live performance; being there on show day made me feel not only proud but also accomplished and like I was part of the team. My challenge I would say was all the crew bosses, many instructions, drop this and move onto the next thing...".

My impression from meeting with these two dynamic individuals is that the Gearhouse Group ethos is certainly taking shape here, reinforcing the Group's primary values of Collaboration, Respect, Commitment, Integrity and High Performance.

We wish Pearl and Bonke, all the success in accomplishing their individual goals, and encourage them to always give of their best, allowing their mentors to groom their professional development and ultimately GEARING THEMSELVES up for career as work-ready, entry level live event technicians.

Story and photos by Liza Hooper

Nov 17, 2016

The Gearhouse Group of Companies