Last week I was in Holland to run a workshop in Sustainable Event Management. It had been a while since I last stood in front of a group of students. Three years to be exact. And I have to say I absolutely loved it. The people I taught were inspiring, to say the least.
Event planners attitude
These were not young people not knowing what to do with their lives. They were professionals. Already working in the events industry. Some in junior roles, others in more advanced roles. From what I could tell they loved the event management course they were enrolled it. It is a course that combines the theory of event planning with vocational aspects. Working in the events industry whilst learning. My workshop was one of their study days.
The reason I'm writing about it a week later, is that I’m still impressed by the attitude of the students. Their willingness to learn, to debate if they didn’t agree, to ask questions, and the way they helped each other was truly inspiring. Speaking to them I noticed they all shared a passion for the events industry. Truly amazing to work with them.
Working in the events industry is for many a dream. “I want to be the next Michael Eavis”, is something I heard every academic year when I still worked at a university. There’s nothing wrong with having aspirations. Some students thought they could party as hard as the guests. Being drunk and hanging out with the headline act is also not what an event planner does. More often than not however, there is the conception that being an event planner is not a serious profession. You know, anyone can organise a birthday party…
The events industry
The events industry is the 16th largest employer in Britain. The industry supports more than 530,000 full-time jobs. The collective events industry in the UK is said to be worth almost £40 billion. No wonder The Times ran an article with the headline ‘Events industry helps power UK economy’. Event planners are working their socks of to organise:
- 1.3 million business events
- 7,000 major outdoor events
- 362,500 meetings and exhibitions in London alone
It is these event planners that keep 6.5 million music tourists and 265,000 exhibitors happy. And looking at the projected growth for the industry, I can assume they’re doing a good job.
Conferences and meetings are big business in the UK. They make up almost half of that £40 billion. Most conferences are organised in London, Cardiff and Edinburgh. Turns out that event planners prefer cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester to organise their events. I need to make sure Brighton will be on that list as well.
Next time someone tells you that being an event planner is not a real job you can tell them about the £40 billion. You can also tell them about the responsibilities you have as an event planner. Guess who is responsible for the safety and well-being of all those guests? According to the National Careers Service an event planner should have good communication and people skills and a positive attitude. If you think the events industry is for you, I would advise you to get yourself out there. Getting experience is key. Build your CV whilst learning.
Getting a kick out of seeing all those visitors at my events is what got me into event planning. Looking at the students from last week’s workshop I could tell they had that same desire to organise and plan great events. To get that kick. Over the years I got that same kick out of teaching. Being able to get through to someone, to make them think, and to some degree (I hope) inspire them.
Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed teaching the workshop Sustainable Event Management last week. Let’s hope the future of those students is an eventful one.
If you would like to learn more about event planning you can visit my website. There's even a workshop in Sustainable Event Management.