As an Events Management graduate, the events industry including events education fascinates me. When selecting my university degree, nearly everyone around me was surprised and intrigued, not that I had selected such a fun and exciting course, but that it actually was a degree! This fascination and intrigue fueled an excitement in myself for what I understood to be a thrilling new, innovated and advanced industry.
After my first week as an events management student, I quickly learnt that this industry was not new, but newly recognised. According to Glenn Bowdin, who is the head of the UK events centre at Leeds Beckett University, the events industry emerged in the late 20th Century. But in fact events started much before that. The first international exhibition took place at the end of the 19th century in London, and before that there are festivals across the world that date back to as early as the 13th century. So it’s safe to say, events have been around for a while, whether or not the industry was recognised or not.
As events management continues to grow and develop as an industry in its own right, the competition to succeed within this industry will also grow, which is why it’s so important for aspiring event organisers, planners and managers to be as best equipped as possible. At the beginning of March, Paul Cook of Planet Planit attended the International Confex and talked about the importance of qualifications and experience.
I would have to agree with Paul Cook, qualifications are complimented by experience.
“Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced” John Keats, Author, 1819.
For me learning about the theory of events is completely different to being onsite, planning and organising an event. Without being active within the industry whilst studying, the academic learning would not have been as beneficial. Working and volunteering for a variety of events, allowed me to apply the theory much more easily, the practise of events enhanced my learning. It is also possible that I would not be in the job I am in today or any serious events related job for that matter, without experience to accompany my qualification.
So having graduated over 18 months ago and being well into my second year of employment, what’s my opinion? Getting my degree gave me an insight into the world of events, it gave me a general overview and understanding, but putting that knowledge into practice hasn’t been a walk in the park. Reading the handbook and physically working through the instructions are very different. By being part of a great team here at Blackberry Productions, I have been able to transfer my academic knowledge into various live event scenarios, with the patience of my colleagues! But gaining work experience and volunteering at multiple events during my degree, gave me the confidence to apply for my job in the first place, it gave my employers the confidence I would work hard and that I was motivated to learn and progress. Without education and theory, application is almost impossible.
Sophie Poduval, BA Events Management graduate
Event Manager, Blackberry Productions