How many times have you scanned the job ads and been knocked back by the insistence on academic qualifications and experience? Starting out in the workplace can be a daunting prospect, especially if you still haven’t decided what you want to do in life. Imagine, then, discovering a company that is not only ready to give you a chance, but also offering free training and as much career advancement as you are willing and able to take on?
Enter Gallowglass – an event crewing company that actively encourages applicants who haven’t followed the traditional academic qualification route. Read on to discover why…
The business that would become Gallowglass began by chance - back in 1993, when our Chairman Paul Grecian was playing for the London Scottish Rugby Club. One day, a colleague of Paul’s sister – a freelance production manager - phoned him out of the blue. She’d been let down by a crewing firm which was due to build the staging for the opening of a new factory built for Honda, and she was hoping Paul could muster some fellow players to step in and do the job at short notice. Paul’s fellow players were keen at the offer of some ready cash, and a group of 12 was quickly assembled on the promise of a week’s work paying £100 per day.
The first day’s work showed that the team was more than up to the task, and it turned out that they completed the build in half the scheduled time. As a result, word got around, and Paul began receiving more calls - from people he didn’t even know who were wanting to hire ‘the team’. Suddenly a fledgling crewing business was off the ground.
It wasn’t surprising that success came quick and fast. Branded as the ‘Rugger Luggers’, Paul’s team of 12 clean-cut sportsmen stood out from the typical casual labourers working on event sites at the time. It was the accepted norm that untrained ‘roadies’ would arrive for work late, drunk or hungover and do as little as they could get away with. Some never showed-up at all! In sharp contrast, discipline and teamwork were second-nature to the London Scottish rugby players. A company was started that, by 1996, would morph into Gallowglass.
Paul says: “Right from the beginning, we didn’t just want to send guys on-site. What really excited me was the process of training, qualifying and motivating people to be the best they could be. I knew that by delivering consistent speed and efficiency, and embracing health and safety practices, we were helping to build careers while providing the gold standard in crewing.”
As outlined both part one and two of our guide to Gallowglass careers, strength and fitness are essential to be selected to join our crews. But the company ethos is also to provide openings for young people who are keen to get stuck into work but who, for whatever reason, didn’t pursue academic qualifications. Paul says that he himself was a rebel at school and turned away from the traditional further education route.
He says: “I’m proudest of the opportunities we have given countless young men over the past 20 years, many of whom hadn’t fitted-in at school and messed-up their exams, determined that higher education wasn’t for them. To see them join Gallowglass, become a member of a team, take part in creating some amazing events and enjoy a sense of achievement is fantastic. And those who have wanted to take on more, have been given ample opportunity to train, climb through our ranks and taste success. There have been a number, many of whom are still with us, who joined the company with little more than an appetite for work and have gone on to become considerable assets - both to us and the industry.”
But even though qualifications are not essential to joining Gallowglass event crews, it would be wrong to assume that our doors are open to everyone. In fact, we are extremely selective and only accept a percentage of applicants. So, what are we looking for? Our recruits must show a conscientious, positive and helpful attitude. They must be willing to work as part of a team, sometimes over long hours, often outdoors and not unusually in bad weather. We like a high level of availability and a willingness to learn.
In exchange, our new recruits receive a thorough induction and are supported by team members and crew chiefs. They receive training in manual handling, health and safety and, if they wish, other, more specialised, skills. They get to work on a vast variety of events – most of them entertainment-based. The opportunity to experience something unique is always on offer, and our crewmen are privileged to be present on film sets, go behind the scenes at some the country’s most iconic venues and help to build some of the most demanding and exciting event structures, not just in the UK but overseas as well. The commonest phrase to be heard amongst our crewmen is: “I was there!”.
The very best of our on-site people are accorded ‘Black Hat’ status by our clients, who trust them to take responsibility and deliver. Black Hats are recognised site supervisors throughout the construction industry. This advanced level of responsibility is only earned by people who are trained and adept at safely managing a construction site. One Gallowglass Black Hat left school at 14 but can read a technical drawing as if he was a mechanical engineer. His passion has always been ‘to build stuff’, and he’s certainly in the right job for that!
We are also pretty proud that some of our staff have been headhunted by client companies. One former Gallowglass crewman is MD of one of the leading events agencies in the country – if not the world. So, you see, the sky really is the limit.
If you would like to learn more about the opportunities we could offer you at Gallowglass or want to become part of our event crew on London, Leeds or another of the UK’s biggest cities, contact our friendly team today to start paving the way to your future in events!