IEM reaches out with new survey

The Institute of Event Management, a foundation set up a few years ago, yet still struggling to attract funding or wide industry backing to begin operating, has released a new survey which asks the question of what the subject of ‘professionalisation’ in event management means to event professionals.

The Institute’s founder and executive board chair, Susan Spibey, said the survey was asking: “Do you think your skills and experience in running conferences and events add up to a professional competence in their own right? Or are they ‘just a part of the job’?”

“The IEM is set to deliver professional recognition and continuing professional development to everyone who is involved in creating, producing, delivering and hosting events anywhere in the world. Our new fine-tuned survey is freely available to everyone who works full-time, or part-time in our sector, to help us make sure we’re delivering services that are really appropriate and vital for career and personal development,” Spibey added.

The survey encompasses everything from conferences to outdoor events, festivals to exhibitions, from PAs and PCOs to placement agents and marketing specialists.

Spibey said the IEM was a professional body, seeking to deliver for events professionals the status and respect enjoyed by members of similar bodies like the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the Chartered Management Institute.

The survey has been drawn up in consultation with Chris Pateman, CEO with the Federation of Communication Services and asks a range of other questions, including: ‘How significant would IEM membership be in terms of career enhancement, continuing professional development and free access to a body of knowledge?

Another section takes issue with the UK Government’s placement of Events as part of the Department of Culture, Media & Sport, treated there under its tourism brief. The IEM asks whether that is the most appropriate umbrella? Should it rest with tourism, or with creative industries, or sport, or regional development or international trade?

Spibey is also keen for industry feedback on how important eventprofs think the global angle, post-Brexit could be for the IEM.

Spibey claimed there were several influential industry organisations interested in helping to launch the IEM, formally, and to assist with background funding. “Generating a new round of survey responses will strengthen our voice in securing these proposed allegiances,” she added.

Meanwhile the new event apprenticeship initiative launched recently appears to have bypassed the IEM. The apprenticeship levy will go live in May 2017, and will see a direct taxation on businesses with a payroll over £3m, which equates to 50-60 full time staff, and therefore effects many in the events industry, such as agencies, venues, hotels and supplier organisations. The levy is automatic, but employers can ‘draw down’ funds from it, for investment in the training of apprentices.

“The money will be taken from businesses regardless, so it’s incumbent on us as an industry to use apprenticeships to get this money back and then to spend it on the training and development of new staff,” commented David Preston, founder of training delivery company Realise. “Basically, we either use the money or lose the money for the training. It’s a one in a lifetime opportunity for the industry to invest in the next generation of young talent.”

Realise launched earlier this year and remains the first industry approved training provider for level three apprentices. The company will be addressing the industry at International Confex with a session titled ‘Introducing the new Event Assistant Apprenticeship’, taking place 2 March.

The industry now has a government approved apprenticeship scheme and a programme that has been created for the industry, by the industry. Last month FIRST agency announced its hiring of the industry’s first event apprentice.

The IEM survey is available at:

Martin Fullard


Martin Fullard

Martin Fullard: journalist, presenter, producer. Martin is the Deputy Editor at Conference News and Conference & Meetings World magazines. He leads the digital channels on Mash Media’s Conference Division as well as heading up Mash TV. He is formerly a web editor at a national newspaper in the Middle East and motoring journalist.

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