Thirty-six event industry representatives, including leading academics, have voted in favour of greater understanding and coordination of industry qualifications.
The forum, held by the Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) on 28 October at the University of Westminster, discussed how routes to professionalism was the first step in bringing the industry’s diverse skills and professional development requirements together.
Greater coordination is needed to raise the profile of the professional activities and conduct that has made the industry so successful on the world stage. The aim is to ensure that the events industry was perceived as a rewarding profession.
BVEP chair Michael Hirst said: “This is a welcome next step to bring together all the bodies that run training and skill programmes to map what is available and work towards a more coordinated and comprehensive programme for the Industry. The Events Industry is a hugely diverse sector, which makes it unrealistic to try to follow models set by professions such as accountancy and law. What is needed is a sound understanding of how career advancement can be best delivered and the agreement to bring together the Industry’s organisations who provide training and skills development is an excellent first step.”
Led by facilitator Chris Elmitt of Crystal Interactive, the forum challenged participants to look for ways to meet the professional development needs, both of industry newcomers – with and without events management degrees – and those with five-to-ten years’ experience.
Among the models proposed was a council of representatives from existing trade and professional bodies, which would define levels of achievement rising from Entry to Fellowship status. Alternatively, a formal, funded organisation devising a set of standards that would form the basis for accredited qualifications.
Caroline Jackson said: “We should treat this as an evolutionary process. The outcomes from the Forum will inform my wider review of how best to take forward the professionalism agenda which I hope to report back to the BVEP in the late Spring of next year”.
The immediate actions agreed at the forum include an audit of courses and qualifications available both nationally and internationally. A dedicated portal on the BVEP website will be created to publicise these, alongside university courses and the soon-to-be-launched Trailblazer Apprenticeship Scheme.
Rachel Ley added: ““I’m confident that this is the right stepping stone for now. We have a deliverable action plan and an opportunity for academia and industry to continue to work together in raising the profile of events industry professionalism both here in the UK and around the world. Let’s not forget that today’s students are tomorrow’s clients.”