Realising routes into the events industry

Direct recruitment, scanning social media or new apprentice and training schemes, we explore the routes to getting into events

The government has approved the first Event Management Apprenticeship (EMA) programme, aimed at giving a structured route into the industry and an alternative to the University degrees in Event Management.

The initiative follows work by the government’s Trailblazers organisation in partnership with leading event agencies in the UK, associations and apprenticeship bodies and training providers.

The new programme is positioned at level 3, broadly equating to A levels, and is open to UK residents aged 16 and over. It is positioned to be relevant across event management companies, third party agencies, venues, hotels and other businesses within the events supply chain.

The scheme is up and running, with FIRST announcing its first apprenticeship employee in December 2016 alongside the launch of the first training provider for the apprenticeship scheme; Realise. David Preston, who was part of the development team for the apprenticeship standard and has a 30-year industry background, including running global events programmes for organisations such as IBM and Kaspersky Labs, joined forces with industry trainer and CN columnist Richard John to create Realise, a training company that will support event apprentices.

Preston says the 18-month programme is ready to take on the first event apprentices. “The syllabus is a combination of structured workplace learning and assessment, supported by a blended learning programme of online development and attending specialist workshops. The material is designed to give a practical grounding for a career in event management that is designed to lead to an ongoing job upon completion.”

For apprentices, the programme offers the benefit of earning while learning. And, with the government funding the training and development element, it also means avoiding the burden of student loans.

For employers, there can be no complaint that the training isn’t relevant as they have been integral in designing the new standard. And, with companies now paying an Apprenticeship Levy of 0.5% on payrolls that exceed £3m annually, the incentive to take on an event apprentice becomes far more compelling.

More tips for career success

Samme Allen from Sequoia Partnership has recruited teams at both the Barbican and Twickenham Stadium, and advised Arsenal FC and Bath Racecourse and Conference Centre on recruiting event talent. She culls three stand-out tips from her experiences:

1. Be known in the industry

Martina Rossi, M&E manager at Arsenal FC, says they directly approach people they already know in the industry who they believe are fit for a role. They proactively attend industry events and belong to known associations for this purpose.

‘Volunteer’ is another watchword, certainly for the Barbican’s head of sales, Oliver Hargreaves: “Many of the staff we’ve recruited have come via networking and business events. Building relationships is critical as there are fewer jobs than applicants and referrals are worth their weight in gold.”

2. Online connections

LinkedIn is a search engine used by recruitment agencies as well as companies. Arsenal FC’s Rossi uses the it alongside an intranet and website. LinkedIn jobs gives insight into how many applications the role has. But don’t be disheartened by the number, rather make sure you look at your possible connections to the role and en sure you have some great recommendations on your profile.

Delegate Wranglers is a group of 1,000 eventprofs on Facebook which has developed groups on Linkedin and Twitter. It is a growing force in sharing information about the industry, and also a platform for job opportunities. This gives a chance for personal recommendations, which always will be stronger than a cold application.

3. Effort

Competition means your application needs to be well written and show passion. Be clear about your achievements and how they dovetail into the opportunity. With Office 10 giving you all the grammar tips you can wish for, there should be no excuse for CV typos.

Maddie Difazio-Wright, sales and marketing manager at Bath Racecourse & Conference Centre agrees: “Every job within the events sector is fast paced but within a venue like ours juggling racing fixture list as well as ensuring our venue is full with events can take the juggling ability up a few notches. Our advice to any candidate would be that an enthusiastic, open and willing attitude is invaluable to working within the sector.”

Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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