SOLID tackles personnel shortage in the events sector

SOLID tackles personnel shortage
in the events sector

SOLID aims to tackle the chronic shortage of good personnel for festivals and events by bringing together interesting young people and festival organisers. “Getting people to work behind the bar is the ideal way to discover their talents.”

I t’s now thirteen years ago that Freke Reimer started out as a bartender and tokens salesperson at events like Innercity, Convertible and InQontrol. This is where her love for working at festivals and events started and grew, never to leave again. “I was a freelancer the first few years, after which I was employed by ID&T. That’s seven years ago. I’m really enjoying myself here, and I’ve been able to experience the most extraordinary adventures and travels.”

Breeding ground for talented personnel

Still, the time came for a change. This “change” came in the shape of the company SOLID, which is part of The Support Group. Within SOLID, it is Reimers’ job as the general manager to find new talented personnel and offer them a platform to continue their growth within the events sector. “Because I’ve always enjoyed scouting and guiding talented young employees within ID&T, it feels good focus solely on this now.” The demand for decent personnel is tremendously high. SOLID aims to present itself to suppliers and events organisations as a breeding ground that companies can turn to in the search for talented new personnel. Whether for an internship or for fixed employment. Through partnerships with various vocational (MBO) and higher vocational (HBO) educational programmes – and, within The Support Group, with School of House – they are working on a personnel database that can allow SOLID to function as a springboard for the events sector

Continued growth opportunities

SOLID’s portfolio and network includes large events organisations like Q-Dance, ID&T, b2s, Awakenings and AIR Events. “In addition to bar personnel, we also supply production assistants. We are currently the preferred personnel supplier for many different events. We supply personnel for the Warehouse Elementenstraat club and supply warehousing employees for ID&T Merchandise, De Loods and House of Drinks. We’re also busy creating a team of strong men (and women) that will allow us to supply Site Crew and other parties with dismantling personnel. Creating a personnel database with the best event crew in the broadest sense of the word, that is our goal. In this, SOLID will always retain its focus on serviceoriented roles. “When someone’s talent stands out and the person in question wants to continue his or her growth and become a producer or project leader, for example, we start looking for options within our network,” Reimer explains. “The fact that as part of The Support Group, we’re connected to companies like Your Productions, Backbone, De Loods, House of Drinks and The Good Guyz, generates a wide range of continued growth opportunities within SOLID

Good springboard

SOLID’s focus is currently primarily on attracting and educating bar personnel. A conscious decision, according to Reimer: “For now, we’re specifically focused on bar crew, because this is a good springboard for people to experience what it’s like to work at events. Catering experience is useful, but not required. By providing internal trainings and teaming them up with experienced colleagues, newcomers are shown the ropes of work behind the bar and experience what things are like at an event. The more hours they work, the more continued growth opportunities arise. This is how we scout the right people.”

The right mentality

Another reason that they’re focused on bar crew is supply and demand. According to Reimer, the events industry is struggling with a remarkable shortage. On the one hand, there is an enormous group of young people aged 18 and 19 who would like to do “something” in the festival industry, while, on the other hand, there’s an enormous shortage of decent personnel. How does SOLID envision solving this problem? “Firstly, we have a large network. By launching partnerships with various educators and companies within our network, we are working hard towards establishing a personnel database with people who have the mindset and ambition to start a career within the sector,” states Reimer. “The fact that we’re not only able to offer internship placements within various companies, but also offer vacancies and training opportunities with a subsequent job guarantee, makes it appealing for young people to use SOLID as a springboard. On top of that, you’ll be working at the largest and best events in the Netherlands, which is an attractive proposition in itself.” Still, Reimer points out that working behind the bar isn’t for everyone. “Draughting a beer might not seem too hard, but working at events is incredibly hard work. You do it together and for the festival visitors, but that does require a certain mentality that not everyone can bring to the table. The problem is that many young people tend to have a romantic view of this sector.

Reimer: “Many young people think that in this job you’re constantly partying yourself or that the work is incredibly glamorous. They’re often quite disappointed when they work their first, long show day. By providing a workplace that allows people to experience what it’s like to work at an event, we’re creating a win-win situation for everyone. The young people experience what working at events is like and future employers benefit from the fact that their new employees have previous work experience in the sector. Of course, people need a certain work ethic to survive in this sector. In my opinion, this is the perfect way to discover people’s talents. People who want to continue their development are noticed and assisted in realising their ambitions.”

Specialty beers

The festival industry is constantly changing, and the bar crew profession is changing with it. Where previously a bartender was draughting the same pilsner over and over, these days there are an increasing number of (specialty) beers on offer. Reimer: “Because our range of beverages at events and festivals continues to expand, our personnel have to be knowledgeable on the subject as well. We can realise this by means of an expansive educational programme in collaboration with brewers. Brewers also benefit from their range being presented in the best possible way; we can work together well.”

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