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Thursday 26 June 2014

Learn more about events management

Senior Lecturer in Leisure Liam Higgins discusses event management degrees.

At the recent Confex event in London, the issue of whether having an events management degree was worthwhile for event organisers was brought into question. In fact one of our lecturers Matt Bunday was on the panel, remember?

This debate prompted me to conduct some exploratory research with a well-known events management trade association that Solent has close links with. The anonymous on-line survey had a low response rate (6%) so any results are only indicative. On the other hand, they were very interesting.

For example, two thirds had employed a graduate in events management. Of those, nearly 60% said that the graduates had exceeded or met their expectations. That left a perhaps worrying 40% who said that the graduates had only partially or did not meet their expectations.

When asked what was lacking with these graduates three main aspects were cited:sector knowledge, problem solving skills, and written communications skills. To answer the question of the most important aspect for a job applicant, ‘work experience in an events company’ was rated at 100%.

In fact experience trumped having a degree, even an events management degree! Very interestingly however, of those employers surveyed, approx. 80% had a degree themselves of which only 6% had an events management one.

So what conclusions can we draw from this small survey? Well first off, it was small! So it may not be representative of the whole events sector. However, allowing for that reliability issue, it seems that some business skills are lacking and that experience really is crucial for any job applicant.

So perhaps you should be researching degrees that offer opportunities to practice communication and problem-solving skills, but don’t compromise on gaining valid events work experience. I definitely believe that the events management degree here at Solent does just that.

It uses live events that are assessed and includes a flexible approach to gaining work experience, as well as a Curriculum Plus unit that credits part time work. Would you like to know more about our live events unit? Read Sam Connor’s top lessons from live events!