Career pathways take centre stage as P&J Live and NESCol celebrate national award

December 21, 2023

An award-winning partnership is on course to go from strength to strength in 2024 after the collaboration earned national recognition.

The innovative work by P&J Live and North East Scotland College (NESCol) impressed judges in the CDN College Awards 2023, winning the Employer Connections prize.

The ties between two of the region’s biggest organisations has brought significant benefits for both partners.

P&J Live has direct input into curriculum planning for specialist sound production courses at NESCol. This ensures the latest industry developments and the needs of employers are embedded within course content.

NESCol staff also have the opportunity to take part in continuing professional development sessions led by the P&J Live team to bolster their knowledge.

Students are the key focus of the partnership and gain hands-on experience in a range of disciplines at the venue, including the production of voice announcements for the arena and valuable work placements in other related roles.

The close working relationship has brought tangible results in relation to employment, with an established pathway from NESCol to dream jobs at the venue.

Four out of five of the technicians recently recruited by P&J Live have been graduates of the HND Sound production course and plans are in place to maintain that conveyor belt of talented professionals.

Tony Young, Curriculum Manager for Performing Arts and Animation at NESCol, said: “We take enormous pride in the achievements of our students and to see graduates going on to thrive in their chosen industry is so rewarding for everyone connected with the College.

“The partnership with P&J Live is a fantastic example of the type of creative approach that ensures the skills students build and the experience they gain aligns with the needs of employers.

“The teams from NESCol and P&J Live work very closely together to get that formula right and there are exciting plans for the year ahead to build on the great work that has already been done.”

The CDN College Awards ceremony in Glasgow in November represented formal recognition for the connection that has been forged. Applications are now open for the next intake to the HND Sound Production course, which starts in August.

Steve Morrison, Deputy Operations Technical Manager at P&J Live, said: “In 2019 at the opening of P&J Live, we realised that we would need to bolster the pool of talent available to service the technical requirements for our conference and corporate business

“I reached out to NESCol as we had heard great things of their sound production course. They came on board and were so proactive, even adapting areas of their curriculum and equipment training to best fit the needs of our new state of the art facility.

“As well as the on-site training days, all the students are given the chance to join our freelance pool of technicians, allowing them to work paid shifts around their learning, doing what they do best.

“The students are always keen to enhance their knowledge of the live events industry, not only in audio but the visual and lighting side of the business too. This enthusiasm is recognised by our staff and clients alike. And it’s not just P&J Live that have benefitted from our link up, but students can go on to work with other audio-visual companies not just in Aberdeen but across the UK. This is a truly sustainable approach to ensuring our industry is gaining a fresh influx of talented professionals.”

P&J Live Opened in September 2019, the £333 million development, delivered by Aberdeen City Council in partnership with Henry Boot Developments, replaced the Aberdeen Exhibition Conference and Centre (AECC) with 48,000 square metres of multi-purpose event space, and boasts world-class conference and exhibition halls, a superior arena, spacious hospitality boxes and a high-end restaurant. P&J Live is the largest event complex in the North of Scotland, boasting world-class conference and exhibition facilities for organisers and delegates across the globe, all sustainably powered by local, renewable energy sources. For further information visit