While global CD sales continue to decline the live music scene is thriving, but with so many artists and performers taking to the road to tour at festivals, pubs, clubs and other venues, the industry is reporting a shortage of skilled music industry personnel.
Live music has increased dramatically in the last 10 years and technical skills are vital to maintain the healthy growth of the industry. UK based company Creative and Cultural Skills, has estimated 30,000 additional backstage and technical staff will be needed by the theatre and live music sectors by 2017.
Although these figures are concerning, it brings about major opportunities both for the education sector and the live music industry to address the problem by taking an active stand.
Employers and educators need to work in partnership to provide essential training for both novice and veteran staff, to ensure their skill set meets the rapidly-changing needs of the industry and to also provide ongoing professional development for those seeking to further their careers within the field.
Unfortunately it is not surprising to find that many employers do not allocate annual training budgets to fulfil these training requirements, but it is very positive to note that in the Middle East these attitudes are changing.
As the booming music and media industries continue to grow throughout the region, more and more companies are realising that it is vital to their business and to the local industry, to train and retain students and employees in the Middle East.
Why? Because the key word in this industry is originality and there is a growing demand from companies seeking original content that can be provided and produced here in the region.
To support the training needs of the industry there has been an emergence of specialised training institutes throughout the Middle East in the last few years.
One such educator is SAE Institute. Recognised as the world's largest audio, film, animation and multimedia training provider, SAE employs curriculum designed to meet industry demand by training its students in a real environment on the latest technologies.
For years there has been a shortage of adequately trained and skilled personnel in the Middle East music/media market, which has resulted in local companies outsourcing work to overseas companies.
SAE, and other training companies in the region, are working with employers to address the skills shortage here and are turning out skilled graduates that can hit the ground running.
Although the industry may still be considered to be in its infancy in this part of the world, it is encouraging to see that the Middle East industry is building the right infrastructure and investing in the future of the industry from the ground up.
Kelly Lewis is the editor of Sound & Stage Middle East.