A former college learner from the valleys has used his music technology skills to sound out a dream career with tech giant Google, after initially registering for a carpentry course when he left school.
Coleg y Cymoedd alumni, Josh Wigley-Iles, now 35, is an AV (audio-visual) technician at Google in London, regularly named one of the best places to work in the world and is set to be based at its newest headquarters in Kings Cross – a horizontal skyscraper, dubbed the ‘landscraper’, boasting staff perks including a basketball court, rooftop exercise trail and over 40 nap pods.
Josh’s high-tech career trajectory began at Coleg y Cymoedd’s Nantgarw campus when he was 16 and had signed up for a carpentry course. After an off-chance mention of a love for music to the college receptionist, he was shown around the then brand-new music technology department and jumped at the chance to switch to a three-year diploma in music technology there, combining his hands-on skills and passions.
After spending three years learning about the music industry and exploring how some of his favourite bands made their music, Josh graduated with a Merit and was offered a part time position at Coleg y Cymoedd as an AV technician in its brand-new recording studio.
Speaking about his career path from college music tech to Google AV expert, Josh said:
“I loved working with the college. It felt like a family because I had been there for so long studying – the tutors trusted me and knew I was capable and passionate about the work. It was a great introduction into a job in the industry.”
Three years later, on his 21st birthday, Josh applied for a position as a general technician on Disney Cruise Ships. After a long process of interviews, medical screenings and working visa applications, Josh set sail, later being promoted to theatre technician where he worked on all the productions in the ship’s main theatre. While travelling the world as part of his role, from the Bahamas and Caribbean to the Mediterranean and the transatlantic crossing, Josh also met his wife, Leanne.
Following his stint at Disney, Josh then worked at Chessington World of Adventures as an entertainment audio technician, before making the move to London to further his career, gaining a position at QE2, one of the biggest conference centres in the UK where he worked on high profile, technically intricate productions for the likes of royalty and political parties.
Two years later Josh landed his dream job with Astraya where he was contracted to Google’s Tottenham Court Road HQ as a senior AV technician. He is now in line to be reassigned to the new premises, set to open in 2024, managing AV maintenance at the state-of-the-art HQ.
Speaking about working for one of the world’s biggest and best-known companies, Josh said: “I’ve loved working at Google, it really is like how they make it out in the movies, but better. It’s such a laidback, friendly, and innovative atmosphere, I feel I really landed on my feet. They even have a music studio that all staff are free to use in their free time, and I get to go up there to use the guitars and play around on my lunch breaks.
“As soon as we were made aware of the new premises and the need for three technicians, I threw my hat in the ring. My career has been exciting from the get-go, but working at Google has been the cherry on top and I’m excited to see where this new opportunity will take me.”
Josh’s opportunity comes as Coleg y Cymoedd celebrates its 10-year anniversary, with the college investing over £xxm since 2013 in its teaching and learning facilities across its campuses in Aberdare, Nantgarw, Rhondda and Ystrad Mynach.
He said: “It sounds cliché, but I do owe so much of my career to my tutors at Coleg y Cymoedd. They supported me, pushed me to do the things I’m passionate about, employed me and have also been a constant cheerleader for me. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am now – I’ll always be eternally grateful for the time I spent there, as a learner and as an employee.”
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