Sean Pagel from Production Services Ireland (PSI) has become the first person in Ireland to attain the Professional Lighting & Sound Association (PLASA)'s National Rigging Certificate (NRC) Level 3 'rigging supervisor' level.
Pagel, a director of the Belfast based lighting rental and sales company, says, "With health & safety issues increasingly topping all rigging agendas, and our commitment to offering clients the very best and highest quality services, industry driven and recognised qualifications like this are vitally important".
PLASA's National Rigging Certificate demonstrates that individuals have reached a professional standard within their chosen rigging discipline. The NRC is not yet a compulsory scheme, but increasingly major UK venues are requiring it for riggers working in their spaces. PSI undertakes a lot of rigging projects in both Ireland and the UK, some of it to facilitate their own gigs for which they are providing lighting, plus other events and installations where they are the dedicated rigging suppliers.
When the NRC scheme was first discussed about 4 years ago, Pagel was immediately keen to get involved. "Rigging is an area where it's paramount to have qualified and competent personnel, and no show organiser or promoter should compromise on this. Standardising the levels of knowledge and experience needed to reach Levels 2 and 3 with a recognised qualification is good for the industry as a whole".
Pagel registered to take Level 3 as soon as the scheme was announced, but PSI's schedule coupled with the assessors all being working riggers and consequently also very busy meant one of the main challenges was finding a time when everyone's schedules synchronised!
The 3 day assessment started with 2 days of rigging at a designated NRC centre, which in Pagel's case was Earls Court in London, working with Unusual Rigging. The first 2 days combined the practical observation of rigging skills with in depth interviews by the assessor. At the end of this, if the required levels of understanding and knowledge are achieved, you progress to the third and final day - which takes place on your home territory.
Pagel completed his NRC Level 3 last week in Belfast Odyssey Arena rigging Lady Gaga's show. He frequently leads the rigging team here as PSI is the designated rigging provider for MCD, one of the 2 major Irish promoters and regular users of the venue.
PSI is also very keen on encouraging others to join the NRC scheme. The intention is to co-ordinate a series of Rigging Awareness courses at various Irish venues offering guidance as to what they should look out for when employing external rigging companies and increasing their awareness of the specialist knowledge and competence needed by their sub-contractors.