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Mon 3 Sep 2007 04:00 AM

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AV training standards demand ‘rethink’

The rapid growth of the professional audio-visual (AV) industries in the Middle East is leading to a shortfall in properly trained staff, according to industry experts surveyed by S&S.

The rapid growth of the professional audio-visual (AV) industries in the Middle East is leading to a shortfall in properly trained staff, according to industry experts surveyed by
S&S

.

Furthermore, the shortfall is being exacerbated by a lack of certified training and education schemes available to budding AV professionals living in the region.

"There is little consistency in terms of the quality of professional AV training services in the Middle East," claimed Doru Barsan, AV manager at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Doha, Qatar. "Most employees working in this industry are learning from experience on-the-job.

"This approach has its good points, but given the rapid growth in demand for AV services in this region, the industry as a whole would benefit from a more structured framework in regards to professional training services."

Barsan, who is one of only three AV professionals working in the Middle East hospitality industry to have acquired a level three certificate under the Marriot Group's MVP International quality assurance training programme, argued that many budding AV professionals were being forced to move to the United States or Europe to gain access to professional training services.

"There are so few certified training and education courses available in the GCC that many young professionals working in this industry are being forced to relocate overseas," he claimed. "Otherwise, they are accessing online training services, but these are not always a viable substitute for practical training in a workshop or classroom environment.

"Greater access to certified training courses would help to invigorate the industry and bring a new level of expertise to the sector in the Middle East."

Giorgio Ungania, corporate training manager at audio engineering training services provider SAE institute, agreed that the biggest shortfall in professionally trained staff was being felt in the hospitality sector.

"The hospitality industry in the GCC has been stretched to the point that hotel operators are being forced to call on staff to run their AV departments who may not necessarily have the proper training to do so efficiently," he said.

Nash Planojevic, founder of Dubai-based training services provider, In the Mix, argued that many AV-based facility managers were neglecting basic tasks because of a lack rudimentary training.

He added that the situation would only worsen as increasingly sophisticated AV technologies were released to market.

"There are a huge number of issues that need to be addressed, including rudimentary aspects of the job," he claimed. "It never ceases to amaze me when I come across an AV manager who has a US$50,000 laser in his inventory but no flight case to protect it, because he has little professional experience dealing with such technology."

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