Following the restructuring of the AETTI (Arts & Entertainment Technical Training Initiative) on January 31, Matthew Griffiths, managing director of PLASA, has been elected as AETTI chairman for 2001. He joins Joe Aveline (secretary) and Henrietta Branwell (treasurer) on the AETTI's panel of officers.

The AETTI was first formed in 1987 at a fringe meeting of ABTT North, and has existed since as an informal body led by a steering committee. The AETTI last year helped to develop the first BTEC qualifications for stage technicians, in association with Loughborough College and with the assistance of funding from the European Social Fund.

The newly restructured body has signed a formal agreement with Loughborough College for a three-year continuation of the development and delivery of BTEC qualifications, subject to annual reviews. In addition, the possibility of running a theatre technician foundation course during the PLASA show in September is currently being investigated by the organization.

Other areas of current AETTI activity include a bid in association with Italian and Maltese theatres and drama organizations to apply for funding under the Leonardo Scheme. The aim of the program would be to convert the BTEC qualifications into distance learning courses in other languages, and to examine the possibility of conducting remote assessment of candidates.

In Scotland, the AETTI is working with the Scottish Theatres Technical Training Trust (S4T), based at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow, to run the General Theatre Technician BTEC course as part of its Winter School. Early indications are that the scheme has attracted a great deal of interest.

To publicize the new developments within the organization, and to provide the opportunity for discussion on training issues with the theatre industry and the BTEC Award scheme, the AETTI will be exhibiting at the forthcoming ABTT Theatre Show in London (April 4-5).

Griffiths comments: "I am delighted to lend the support of PLASA to the efforts of the AETTI. I believe it is vital for the leading organizations representing the various strands of this industry to work closely together on the development of training. If we speak as one voice, it will benefit the members of all our organizations, and the industry as a whole."