A rigger needs:
- Training – knowledge should be gained through learning and formal courses for example the Three Day Rigging for the Entertainment Industry Course
- Experience – practical skills through real life rigging work must be gained in order to become a competent rigger.
- Qualification – in order to work as a climbing rigger, many venues require that you hold the NRC rigging qualification.
- Contacts – many riggers work on a freelance basis, being a successful rigger relies upon building a good reputation with a variety of contacts.
- Equipment – if you’re freelance, you’ll need your own laser, gloves, hardhat etc., and when you’re ready, you’ll need to purchase PPE for working at height.
- Travel – Rigging requires extensive travel between multiple venues around the UK, so reliable transport is vital.
- Working Anti-social Hours – Rigging work happens before and after each show, so working hours often include late nights, early mornings and weekends.
- Insurance – working as a freelance rigger requires public liability insurance.
Getting into Rigging
There isn’t currently a direct route to becoming a rigger.
The issue is that to “become a rigger” you generally need to pass your NRC qualification proving that you are a competent, experienced rigger.
However, to become a competent experienced rigger you need to practice, and venues often do not allow non-NRC qualified riggers into their roof spaces.
There are very few ways to get around this issue and there is currently a shortfall of qualified riggers in the entertainment industry because of this difficulty.
It can be extremely tough to become a rigger and opportunities are limited.
However if you are keen, hard working and willing to succeed, there are various ways, listed below.
Freelance Support Scheme
You can apply to join the UK Rigging support scheme to help new freelance riggers enter the rigging industry.
More information can be found here: https://ukrigging.net/
Alternatively, you could gain employment as a trainee rigger with a venue, theatre, event company, rigging company etc. and have them put you through on-the-job training and experience.
At UK Rigging we train our warehouse staff as riggers, enabling them to work in the Bolton warehouse and enjoy a stable employed job role, whilst also being able to go out onsite as riggers.
To apply for an employed role at UK Rigging, send your CV to email@example.com
Another option is to join an apprenticeship or training scheme. UK Rigging do not currently offer an apprenticeship in rigging.
Through having good contacts and a good attitude to work (often for free!), some people are able to find their way into being a rigger without a structured learning scheme.
The PLASA Trainee Rigger Scheme can help with this, by providing a log book and ID card.