Say hello to Barry…

Say hello to Barry, who is a 49-year-old former apprentice from Pontypool. Barry completed his Sgil Cymru apprenticeship at BBC Cymru Wales working in the Art Department during 2018 – 2019.  At our recent ‘Dathliad’, Barry was awarded the Creative Apprentice of the Year Award, sponsored by Creative Risk Solutions.

Prior to the apprenticeship, Barry was working as a freelance Graphics Designer, and had the opportunity to take part in a work experience project at the BBC Roath Lock.  Whilst Barry was completing his work experience at the BBC, a former apprentice, who now works as an Art Director at Pobol y Cwm, suggested he should apply for the next cohort of apprenticeships.  Since Barry at the time also wanted to work his way up to  being an Art Director, he felt this would be the perfect opportunity to learn new skills and to build up his experience.. 

Barry worked on several productions such as Dr Who, Casualty and Pobol Y Cwm during his time at the BBC. Since he is profoundly deaf, adjustments were made so that Barry could work properly and confidently at the studio, but there were many challenges along the way. For instance, in one of the studios where Barry was based, there was a  bell that was rung to convey when recording was starting.  Obviously, this proved difficult for a profoundly deaf member of staff, so adaptations had to be made.  it was decided to add a light to the bell so that Barry would know when they were filming., as well as making sure that there was a buddy system with another member of staff making sure that Barry knew that the recording bell and light had been switched on. The BBC were very supportive in adjusting to the needs of Barry and understood the impact of his hearing difficulties. 

Having completed his apprenticeship, Barry decided to learn to drive to improve his chance of securing jobs within the industry, since he still lives in Pontypool and needs to travel to work at unsociable hours. He is currently working as a Junior Set Decorator within the Art Department for the upcoming HBO production  ‘Industry’  within Bad Wolf..

Barry has said he has grown as a person as a result of the apprenticeship and he has learnt new skills to help move his career forward.  Even though he had a varied career before he joined the apprenticeship – working in everything from theatre to retail – everything he learnt on the apprenticeship has been positive. One of the main skills he has learnt is how to deal with the varied types of people that work on a TV set.

Barry now really appreciates the chance he has had to work on such a big production for Bad Wolf and HBO, and  knows that this will stand him in good stead moving on in his career.  The plan is that he will be able to step up to the next grade, but probably within a smaller production so that he can hone his skills within a smaller crew. Eventually, Barry’s ultimate ambition is to become the Art Director of a very large production, such as the one he is now working on. He is playing the long game and is happy to move from one job to the next learning along the way.

Barry says

“I know I still have a long way to go, but without you guys at Sgil Cymru I would not be where I am today.  You are all amazing, you change lives for the better…”