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As the events industry is a predominantly female one, we’re often asked how working mums can be successful in the industry. And it’s not just a training question but a career one too, as job sharing is an option of particular interest to would-be or returning female event managers looking specifically to balance the responsibilities of event management alongside the demands of family life.
So, to find out the warts-and-all answer to whether this is even possible in the events industry, we asked two professional event managers – Rachel Bellon and Louise Phillips – who job share at the highly respected Two Temple Place …
Louise and Rachel – loving their event management job share
What’s the story behind your job share in the event industry?
Rachel: “After 5 years managing events for Historic Royal Palaces, I found myself as a stay at home mum, as the cost of childcare for two young children came to more than my salary. With a severe lack of confidence, I’d resigned myself to having an evening/weekend ‘mummy job’ to fit in with my husband’s work pattern. But so many women leave the Events industry when they become mums; surely there must be another way?
I heard about the role at Two Temple Place via a trusted friend (also a working mum). She knew about the vacancy and thought I would be a good fit. Having interviewed us both, our Chief Executive was in the predicament that we both had different complementary skill sets and were both looking for part-time roles, when Louise suggested instigating a job share. One ‘blind date’ in Windsor later to make sure we got on (think financial reports on the table rather than a red rose) and our job share was born!”
Louise: “The key underlying principle to our job share is communication. We share an email address, split the week between us to cover events and meetings, and send detailed updates at the end of each day to keep the team informed of exactly where we are with each event and client. We also share a business card and explain the way we work to clients from the outset.
We’re meticulous about the handover process, as the biggest risk is that something falls through the gap and miscommunication occurs. Or that a client feels the job share is an issue, rather than a benefit.
We’re proud to say that the way we work together is smooth and professional down to the finest detail, and that client and supplier feedback has been phenomenal. So much so that we both answer to one another’s names regularly and even have the same favourite tea mug (but luckily we’re rarely in the office together)! Those days when we do overlap are usually a flurry of meetings, updates, finance reviews and long to-do lists. We have a fantastic full-time Events Executive, Ella, who supports us both and provides valuable continuity for the team.”
What are the main things you’d share with mums who are returning to work or looking to start working in event management through a job share?
Rachel: “Part-time working is not an easy option, though as a job share we’d be rich if we had a £1 for everyone who said ‘wouldn’t it be nice to work part-time’! However, it is rewarding, as working part-time enables us to look after and nurture our young families, yet also to grow and develop as professionals.
For mums, returning to work is an opportunity to utilise and grow our skill sets and to progress in our careers, meaning that one day when the little ones have flown the nest we won’t be left wondering where to restart our careers after several years out of the game.
A successful job share is like marriage; it takes respect, friendship, patience and sometimes a little forgiveness! Most of all it takes trust. Our job share is always evolving as our professional and personal circumstances change and we need to be there to support each other’s decisions. Oh, and mums know how to juggle and multitask; our diplomacy skills have developed as no client, no matter how demanding, can be as irrational as a tantruming toddler!”
Louise: “We both value the flexibility we are offered at work hugely. We also want to let the world know that it CAN work. Although this is a different way of working, the benefits of the job share are many; two heads are better than one, we cover each other’s holiday/sick days, we have a lot of energy and a strong sense of motivation to push forward on our days in the office to support the other job share partner. We have also become great friends, as have our children!
The great thing about job sharing is that you have someone else who cares exactly as much about your role at work as you do, and when you’re on holiday there’s been someone there pushing it all forward so the emails have not built up to form a mountain as they inevitably do in a traditional job structure.”
So how did you both get into the industry and how you were proactive in carving out part-time positions for yourselves?
Rachel: “Having spent most of my working life as a professional dancer and 9 years of it with Princess Cruise Lines, when it was time to retire I wanted a job which would give me similar job satisfaction to dancing. With no degree and a CV which most people just simply didn’t understand, I felt extremely privileged to get a job as Events Co-ordinator at Kensington Palace.
Hard work, determination and the willingness to roll those sleeves up, seize all opportunities to learn and gain experience enabled me to move very quickly into an Events Executive role. One baby, a promotion to the Tower of London, followed quite quickly by another baby meant I was suddenly a stay at home mum with 2 under 2! However, the strong relationships I’d built over my time at HRP proved to be invaluable when I was approached about a new opportunity at Two Temple Place. Being honest with ourselves and knowing what we could realistically manage meant that we were able to out together business plans as to how we could successfully manage the role.”
Louise: “After working for the British Council in Brussels and then in London, I started managing events. I thoroughly enjoyed the pace of life, the creative side and meeting people from all over the world to work together towards a common aim. Looking for a new challenge, I moved to the Museum Events team at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2011, where I developed a love for the ground-breaking exhibitions, creative events styling opportunities (my favourite Exhibition opening we did was David Bowie Is…) and of course the gift shop which was perfect for Christmas shopping!
In 2013 after my first maternity leave, I struggled to find any flexible roles within the industry. Attending for interview at Two Temple Place after seeing a ‘round robin’ email with the offer of a flexible events role, I jumped at the chance. When I suggested trying a job share with the other shortlisted candidate (Rachel), our CEO was incredibly forward thinking and keen to be as accommodating and flexible as possible.
Three and a half years down the line, we have joined Unique Venues of London, grown the business significantly, networked our socks off to spread the word about Two Temple Place with a strong focus on customer service, professionalism and building lasting relationships. All whilst simultaneously juggling five children between us!”
From left, Ella, Louise, Rachel
In all then, would you say success in event management’s possible for working mums, through a job share?
“The answer as we see it is a resounding YES! Hard work, communication and a lot of juggling mean we’ve been lucky enough to stay working in the industry we’re passionate about, whilst raising our young families at the same time. Going from Board Meetings to Sports Days, from corporate Christmas Party planning to the pre-school Nativity is all in a day’s work for us… and we feel strongly that more parents should be given this opportunity.”
Phew, “all in a day’s work” maybe but made possible thanks to Louise and Rachel’s positive attitudes to hard work and exceptional willingness to ‘make things happen’. As such, Rachel and Louise offer a great example of a real success story – and the even better news is that the path they’ve taken isn’t an impossible one if you too offer the same can-do approach to working in events. So, if you have a family and are looking to refresh your skills or start a new career in events to help fit in with family life, get started by checking out our flexible event management courses.
A guest blog from Event Academy student Juliet TrippJuliet Tripp is Operations and Events Manager at Shrewsbury School. Juliet is currently completing her online Postgraduate Course with the Event Academy. Her website is https://juliettrippevents.com
In the ever-changing and fast-growing world of Events we are finding ourselves facing new challenges, new trends and long working weeks. It’s easy to look at your calendar and worry about how you’re going to find the time to get everything done, and sometimes even have time to take a proper lunch break or fit in time for yourself.
These days it seems more than ever before we are constantly competing with ourselves, and others, to prove to ourselves the busier we are, the more successful we are. How many times have you answered a ‘how are you?’ with the word ‘busy’ or a statement about how there aren’t enough hours in the day? I’m certainly guilty of this and have realised it’s time to stop and make a change.
There is a fine line between overworking and squeezing as many tasks into and beyond the working day as possible and working calmly and with purpose and getting the same results with a whole lot less stress. So why do we feel the need to tell people how busy we are?
It’s too easy to fall in to a trap of constantly feeling busy, especially with a busy working profession such as the events industry – alongside trying to juggle family life, health and fitness, and dare I say it, a social life! But when we take a step back and look at our workload, most of the time it isn’t as bad as we thought.
I recently listened to a fantastic podcast by an incredible life coach called Kara Loewentheil. She combats the problems we face in a busy world with pressures from many directions and shares practical solutions to get stuff done and achieve goals with confidence.
This particular Podcast, titled: “Busy is a state of mind” shared a story about two women Kara overheard in a coffee shop, who appeared to be competing in the “Busy Olympics.”
“It’s finally Spring in NYC, and earlier this week I was working at a café when I heard two women next to me engaging in the most venerated of New York sports: The Busy Olympics. Here’s the truth: No one wins the Busy Olympics because winning that game means losing at everything else.”
The focus of the conversation was how incredibly busy they both were, and how incredibly busier one must be than the other. And this struck a chord with me, because I’ve been there… and I bet you have too!
But being busy does make people feel important, and that’s why they shout from the rooftops about it. What are some of the symptoms that are caused from being too busy, and how can we change the way we think about it?
When everything is piling up and it feels like you’ll never have time to leave the office, or taking time for yourself is just not on the agenda anymore it’s time to take a step back and look at prioritising tasks and most importantly prioritising self care. Leave the office on your lunchbreak, step away from emails and take a walk or make it your aim to not check emails and social media for the first hour of the morning.
At any given time, the chances are you’re only really working on one project. It’s probably your brain that has too many tabs open at once, and why it’s so easy to ‘blame’ busy and jump to the conclusion that this is the only answer. Once you are emotionally invested in how busy you are, it’s difficult to find another way to describe your working week or your current set of projects. But why not try letting go and harnessing your organisational skills to stop, write a list, and get back on track. It’s not easy to give up the thought of being busy… but once you’ve done it, you are likely to feel a whole lot more productive than you did before.
Removing “busy” as your go to answer when someone asks you how you’re doing could really go a long way in helping you reach your goals and stay focused on your work and your time for yourself.
So why not try it… and see how good it feels to not always be the busy one!
I’m Stacey Storey. I’m an Events and Logistics Manager for the Civil Service. I lead a small team of event managers who plan and deliver corporate events.
I was so excited when Claire told me that a new Event Academy location was being announced – in Manchester! I love Manchester, it has so much to offer, some fantastic venues for sports and music and much, much more. Manchester is only an hour away from me by car and is quite a central location for those in the North wanting to do the course. These are some of the many benefits of having an office location in Manchester.
I have had some fantastic experiences with The Event Academy and have met some wonderful people along the way – here’s my story…
A Change of Career
Firstly, I’ll give you a bit of background. Two years ago, I was working on an online customer support team. The people I worked with were great, and I got on really well with them all, but the job itself had begun to ebb. I wasn’t being challenged enough and I could see facets of the role changing into something I knew I wasn’t going to like if I stayed.
An internal role came up in a brand-new area, on a new team to manage our newly built Collaboration Zone (or CZ for short!) back in our office. I pondered over applying for it for a couple of weeks and decided to just go for it. I was taking a massive risk – the role wasn’t established, we were based in another office (our main office had been flooded – and that’s a whole other story in itself!) so we couldn’t physically manage the event space and it was a complete change of career. I told myself I had nothing to lose by applying for the job, so I did. As it turns out, I was the only person who applied – so I got the job!
After initially working to get our people back into our office (which was no mean feat!) I could concentrate on learning my new role properly. The timing fell quite nicely for this next bit.
New knowledge, new friends
I got everyone back into the office, and then travelled to London for a week-long course in Events Management. This was only my third ever trip to London. I was excited and a little apprehensive, as I’d never spent more than a single night away from home and my little girl.
I travelled to Regent’s University for day one of the Foundation course. I met Claire Derrick and Justine Kane. These two ladies are amazing – they welcomed everyone with open arms, and immediately I felt a sense of belonging. They talked to us like we’d known each other for years. This was the point where I knew I had done the right thing applying for the job.
During my week in London, I met some lovely people – I worked with a group on a project and we all got on well to be able to deliver a great pitch and idea for our assignment. We all worked really hard on that project, working late into the night, doing site visits around London, researching.
One of the highlights for me personally was being able to go on site visits for lectures – my previous two visits to London were work related, so I had no idea of the kinds of places London has to offer. And my goodness, I was blown away! I visited Fulham Palace, a wonderful site for weddings; Gilgamesh, the most elaborate and intricately designed restaurant I’ve ever been in – tucked away nicely in Camden, where I also experienced proper street vendors for the first time. It’s a wonderful little world of its own. Finally, I visited the Haymarket Hotel. Wow – this place was just wonderful and had so much that I wasn’t expecting – including an indoor pool, which had a giant floating flamingo and swan in it!
After my week in London, I was asked by Claire to provide some feedback, and was also asked my opinion on the possibility of a new Northern based Event Academy, and whether I thought there would be any benefits or pitfalls. Hailing from Bradford in the North, and having just spent a very tiring and long – but extremely rewarding – week in London, I was ready to give some feedback on this – I believed that there was a market in the North for new and prospective event managers, who may be put off by travelling to London for a week.
Six months after completing the Foundation level course in London, I secured a promotion at work to lead the now established Events and Logistics team. I now have a 5 strong team and our work has expanded from management of one single venue, to now looking at other venues for events within our estate and delivering a variety of corporate events for senior leaders.
I contacted the Event Academy after my promotion and spoke with Claire. I expressed keen interest in taking the next level of course online – the Level 4 Diploma. Claire was really supportive, and actually advised me to think about the Level 7 Post Graduate course – after seeing how I’d worked on the Foundation course, Claire told me she believed I would be a great fit for the Post Grad course. After a think about it, I took Claire’s advice, and got myself into the Post Graduate online course.
I began the online course in May 2017, and now have just a few months left. I work on the modules in my own time, and help is always available from the Student Services team. I’ve also met Clare Thomas along the way, who I just love! Clare is so friendly and easy to talk to, and I have been able to call on Clare for advice on a few things during the course. The Post Grad course is definitely challenging, but the great thing about it is that because I’m working on it at my own pace, in my own time, I can make sure I take the time to really understand each module and take it all in. Being able to work at my own pace is perfect for me – it fits in nicely with my home and work life.
I’ve also met my ‘Project Buddy’ Megan, who is from Belgium on this course too. One of the things I need to do on this course is to work remotely with another person on a couple of projects – it’s tricky, but modern technology has helped us like you wouldn’t believe! We Skype, email, and we’ve got to know each other pretty well.
Just do it!
I honestly have not looked back since I took that risky job move in August 2016. This is the best career move I have ever made and I would totally advise anyone who is thinking of a career in events to take the Foundation course – get yourself to Manchester (or London), meet some lovely new people from across the world, and get immersed in this wonderful, crazy world of events. You won’t regret it!
Event managers are multi-tasking superstars who juggle multiple responsibilities. With an uncanny ability to make every task look easy, professional event managers pay attention to the tiniest detail and aim for perfection. Be it central flower arrangements, new venue bookings, menu selection or hiring personnel and services, these brilliant individuals strategise to fulfil unanticipated needs as well.
Although it may look simple, the truth is that a lot of hard work is put into organizing an event. To help event-related operations run smoothly, there are a few habits that successful event managers have in common, and which every event management hopeful can learn …
#1 Get a Head-start
It’s never too early to get a head-start on your planning. Effective event leaders don’t wait for the clock to strike twelve, preferring instead to sort out variables in advance. Take venues, for example:
Booking a highly sought-after venue a year before your event could land you an early-bird discount.
A generous time frame affords you the luxury of searching for incredible vendors at competitive prices and truly allows you to give your customer value for money. Simultaneously, this will earn you potential customer loyalty and future references.
#2 Check, Check and Check
Want to become an in-demand event planner? Then, the most important habit you need to develop is to write each and every thing down. Maintaining a detailed checklist per event and cross-checking it countless times is going to be your daily ritual.
Every event comes with its own unique requirements and different planning stages. Once you have managed to secure the appropriate documentation, with all relevant detail, then half your work is done. The secret is to remain on top of your checklist and refer to other sources such as visuals, graphs, spreadsheets, and images when required.
#3 Learn and Network
The event industry is a dynamic one where trends and technologies keep evolving. Successful event planners believe that knowledge is power and constantly educate themselves. They remain in touch with emerging tools, current industry news and experts, which allows them to create favourable experiences for their clients.
If you wish to follow in the footsteps of successful event professionals, do a bit of research and find networking platforms in your area to find out who the local or sector experts are and get involved: you never know when training, volunteering or a quick catch-up can lead to an opportunity. After all, event networks are all about who you know and what kind of relationships you have managed to build.
#4 Befriend Technology
Communication with staff, ongoing follow-up, branding and personalisation, and unforeseen event issues are simply the tip of an event managerial iceberg. Seasoned event managers arm themselves with a myriad of tools and programs that not only streamline operations, but also increase overall business efficiency.
#5 Power Your Social Media
Social media offers an ideal platform for getting a two-way conversation flowing with your customer. Giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will not only give you direct access to your customer but will also open up a whole new world to you. Let former clients share their experiences with each other, give recommendations, post their own event pictures and create your portfolio for you. Encourage them to tag you in their videos and pictures. Such mentions will increase your brand exposure and hopefully lead to further bookings in the near future.
The events industry offers an exciting, challenging world where you can broaden your horizons and polish your skill set. If this is the career path you wish to follow, then take a look at event-related job openings at JOB TODAY.
Are you thinking you’d like a career in event management? That’s great! You also think it’d be useful to get some relevant training and experience to help you get started, perhaps by taking an event management course? That’s certainly a good idea!
The thing is though, you’re just not really sure what studying event management actually involves, what sort of things you can expect to learn about. To be honest, you’re not alone there, because overall there’s not always a lot of information available about what aspects of study are included in event management courses.
So, we’re here to help with a quick heads up on the aspects of event management you can expect to study with a top quality event management course …
Strategic planning and review
Essentially this means learning to start thinking about each event as an overall project, a mission if you like. So you’ll be learning to plan for everything which needs to be accomplished, but in a strategic way which means exploring the best approaches for each individual project, and how to monitor the event and create systems for evaluating outcomes and success. This generally includes (but certainly isn’t limited to) learning about:
Goals and objectives.
Ways to evaluate and measure return on investment.
Developing project plans – including those essential plans-within-plans such as risk management; contingency planning; emergency evacuation plans; staffing plans.
Creating schedules, briefs, proposals, and reports.
Even if you’re going to be working in-house for a venue or corporation, and not having to ‘find’ the right venue for the company’s events, site management training will still be essential learning for you because you’re going to be expected to strategically manage and offer creative vision for the venue you’re in, across many different types of events. Overall, the study of site management should teach you what you need to know about:
Finding and evaluating sites, in order to find the ‘best fit’ for each site’s purpose.
How to inspect sites, including what to look for, and which questions to ask to determine the site’s specifications.
Event layout design and planning.
Venue management during the preparation phases, throughout the duration of the event and across take-down after the event.
Most 21st century events involve a level of marketing and for many events which involve stakeholders and financial, revenue considerations, the marketing aspect is integral to the whole thing. So it’s essential to get the most out of your event management studies by taking a course which also places marketing in its integral position, to provide the vital context for your event management studies.
Courses such as our Chartered Institute of Marketing qualifications will help you study this to a professional level, and also means you’ll learn about the latest industry methods for:
Developing marketing strategies.
Implementing marketing plans.
Branding and merchandising
Marketing methods and PR.
Pitching, promotion, and outreach.
Financial and budget management
Even if you don’t land an event job with responsibility for strategic planning straightaway, knowing how the finances and budget management for events can be run efficiently is essential.
After all, at some stage early in your events career you’re likely to be responsible for managing just a smaller pocket within the bigger budget, so it’s crucial you understand budget monitoring, financial record-keeping and of course that major skill which helps keep any event on budget and cost-effective: negotiation, including gaining sponsorship.
Whether a large event or intimate setting and however well things are planned, most events offer an element of risk – from basic trips, spills or bumps to major utilities let-downs or security problems requiring emergency evacuation of the event venue. As an event manager you’re expected to know all about risk management, so you should certainly expect to study how to:
Identify risks and hazards which relate to the event.
Ascertain the level of risk (in various contexts, such as location, event type, clientele, and attendees, for example).
Devise and implement risk minimisation plans.
Develop and implement emergency response and evacuation plans.
Ensure compliance with health and safety and local authority regulations.
The biggest and most valuable resource any event manager has is the human element which contributes to making any event a success. Reputable courses should include essential aspects of human resources and how these relate to the events industry in general and identified events in particular. For example, you might expect to learn about:
Workforce rights and requirements.
Collaborating with contractors and suppliers, as well as staff.
Creating a network of contacts.
Recruiting and training staff and volunteer teams.
Managing and motivating teams.
Team communication – from having everyone in place to identifying essential contacts to be in touch with for emergencies, as well as the methods for keeping contact even if wi-fi drops out or there’s a blackout. Effective communication’s vital for every event team, so you should expect to study how to create a communications framework, plan for in-event communications and contingencies, including what hardware and technologies you could use to support your team communications.
Oh, and attendees! As an event manager you’ll be expected to have a plan in place for event attendees to enjoy the event safely, so you can expect to study how to manage safe movement of attendees, particularly crowd management at areas such as check-in, as well as coordination of other attendee aspects, such as hospitality, transportation, accommodation and health and safety protocols.
Working with suppliers and contractors
Although you might be expected to communicate effectively and work collaboratively with contractors and suppliers (as above), it’s also down to the event manager to find the right people for the task. For example:
Take catering – a thorough event management course should include studying how to select, engage and negotiate with caterers to ensure good refreshment services at events. You will also need to learn about the difference between what different venues offer and the legalities of managing alcohol service.
Similarly, the demand for digital in events sees many event managers needing to work with technical designers and producers to deliver digital aspects of events. So, it’s essential that any course equips you to be able to evaluate the requirements for technical and digital equipment for each event and acquire then oversee these services for the duration of the event.
Event planning involves logistics, which in itself means performing numerous administrative tasks to make sure that everything’s booked, paid for, created or sourced and in place in time for the smooth running of an event. Every event manager needs to know how to manage the administrative aspects of logistics, so studying events includes gaining a working knowledge of the regular tasks involved in event planning and the tools which can support you with the admin and logistics of setting up events and the site prior to the event, as well as the taking down of the event afterwards.
Up to date course?
The events industry is exploding with new and exciting event technologies and digital event production. If a course is relevant and up to date on event management in the 21st century, it should include studies of event trends and new innovations. For example, the most up to date courses such as Event Academy courses will include elements of learning about:
Software and communications technologies and their roles in event management, such as different types of event software management and how these might be used.
Incoming trends for event management, such as digital check-in and contactless information exchange – how these work and why they’re useful.
Event production and presentation innovations, such as holographic and ‘virtual’ speakers, and chatbots.
The use of digital and communications technologies for marketing and promoting events.
Taught or trait?
Of course, some aspects included in an event management course also support the development of relevant skills and personality traits. Whilst these aren’t necessarily explicit course content, these are skills which are particularly useful to build up through experience and are integral to all of those designated areas of learning. So, if a course also offers opportunities for gaining experience through volunteering, this is also an opportunity to develop skills such as:
Abilities to multitask
Boosting any and all of these skills through volunteering and experience will really help to complement learning of those taught elements of event management studies, so aim to study with a provider which offers as many of these opportunities as possible.
And the bottom line of what you study in event management? The course you want is one which will enable you to become a professional in events. This is the sweet-spot where you’re developing those traits and skills in the context of these very significant areas of learning, so you can offer the very best qualification and professional practice when it comes to applying for event roles.
Can I study all this with Event Academy?
If you have any questions about the content of our courses, please:
Just to share an update that our move across the city is now complete! This means that instead of running from our previous location at King’s College London, all of the Event Academy Live courses are being taught at the prestigious Business Design Centre, London.
However contemporary and incredibly new and modern our new location sounds (and yes, much of the building is a delight of modern architecture) the actual site is that of the Royal Agricultural Hall which originally opened in Islington in 1852.
After a history which included thriving pre-war years of agricultural business, events and entertainments, before stepping up as a replacement venue for the bombed out parcels department of the nearby post office in 1943, the original building fell into gradual decline, until being rescued in the 1980s and redeveloped into one of London’s most exciting exhibition and conference centres.
Although we loved our time at King’s College, we’re very excited that our new course accommodation within the Business Design Centre really adds that sense of professional business marketing, which lies at the heart of many professional event management roles and of course underpins our Chartered Institute of Marketing accredited courses.
But what does this mean for our students?
Being located at this venue offers plenty of benefits and amenities to those studying event management with us:
The Business Design Centre is a well known hub for city conferences and exhibitions, which means our courses are running from a thriving venue, full of opportunities and insights.
It also means that when additional volunteers for events being held at the Business Design Centre arise, the centre’s event management staff there know where to come with some great volunteering opportunities for our students.
Being a real hub for business, Wi-Fi access is readily available.
The Business Design Centre is a fully compliant venue for accessibility.
Still London, still lively for learning
Another great benefit is that although we’ve moved, we’re still right in the heart of London (N1), so there’s plenty of easy proximity to exciting venues such as:
Theatres – including Almeida, Little Angel Theatre
Sadler’s Wells famous dance venue
Camden Passage – yes, that hub of quirky boutiques and markets
Screen-on-the-Green independent cinema
Arts venues such as the Candid Arts Trust and Candid Cafe
Museums – Bank of England Museum, London Canal Museum, St. John’s Gate, Charles Dickens Museum
Overall, our new location is only minutes from many other city venues and attractions, including many of those around the Thames. So, whatever type of event management you want to get into, we’re close enough to a venue to go and explore to see how it works, and to investigate venue opportunities for your course projects.
All of which is to say we’re proud to be offering a great location for finding out more about event venues, and finding opportunities to really become involved in city events!
Transport and travel
Getting to us here at the Business Design Centre couldn’t be easier.
The building is approximately 20 minutes’ walk from Kings Cross St. Pancras International (depending on your speed of walking and whether you’re stopping to admire the views, of course). It’s also a very quick trip by taxi from the station.
The Business Design Centre is also just a few minutes’ walk from Angel tube station (Northern Line, London Underground).
With its location just outside the A1 congestion charge zone, the Business Design Centre is conveniently placed for secure parking at the nearby Upper Street Car Park – which is actually next to the Business Design Centre and the neighbouring Hilton Hotel.
The car park offers electric vehicle charging and although there are 250 undercover spaces, parking does need to pre-booked in order to guarantee space availability. The SatNav (postcode) reference for this car park is N1 0PW.
For further information, please take a look at the Business Design Centre parking information page.
By bicycle or motorbike:
The Upper Street Car Park also offers:
Dedicated motorcycle bays, separately charged at a significantly reduced 24-hour fee than parking for other vehicles.
Free parking for bicycles.
Finally, don’t forget that coming to one of our Open Evenings is a great way to check out our exciting new venue and see for yourself how you can break into a whole new career in event management with live courses right in the heart of London.
When it comes to being a Brand Ambassador for a national charity, Event Academy’s own Chloe Woolfe is more experienced than most … and what’s particularly amazing about Chloe is that she’s still just 21!
The national charity, which also happens to be the Event Academy’s chosen charity, is the Teenage Cancer Trust. As we shared last month, Chloe’s been applying her Foundation course pitching know-how to one of the biggest roles she’s undertaken so far: speaking at a live event hosted by Roger Daltrey, at the Royal Albert Hall.
Last time we spoke to Chloe, she was daunted but determined in her approach to this event. As a cancer-survivor, Chloe’s been a grateful recipient of support from the Teenage Cancer Trust and now has a passion for getting a message of awareness out there – both about cancer and the work of the Trust.
So, as a brand ambassador on four out of the seven nights of the Royal Albert Hall’s series, and as a keynote speaker at Roger Daltrey’s event, how did it all go?
From bucket collection to speech-giving, all in a week’s work
As anyone who’s studied events with Event Academy will know, a volunteer at any event can expect to be pulled into a variety of tasks – and Chloe certainly found her role as Brand Ambassador is no exception. Chloe’s time at the event included joining a team of volunteer fundraisers, bucket-collecting and talking to attendees about the work of the Teenage Cancer Trust, being involved with hospitality and of course giving that speech.
“I also went on stage at the Royal Albert Hall to ‘meet the audience’ and take photos,” shares Chloe. “And it was amazing, an absolutely iconic location … everyone’s heard of the Royal Albert Hall and I feel so privileged to have been a part of it.”
Speaking of speaking
Although she had the chance to take centre stage and meet the audience, Chloe’s speech took place as an event-within-the-event, hosted by Roger “absolute legend” Daltrey himself.
“It was in a private hospitality room, which was really nicely done up,” Chloe explains. “And there were people from massive companies, and individuals like Sadie Frost. I didn’t really go into the event beforehand because I was kind of like trying to psyche myself up to speak. But afterwards I was mingling a bit and met loads of them.”
So was the networking aspect important to Chloe, as a Brand Ambassador? “The thing is, Teenage Cancer Trust isn’t a big charity, but I don’t know everyone so it was nice to meet them. And [after the speech] people I’ve never met would come up and say ‘ah, so you’re Chloe, I’ve heard about you … your speech was amazing!’ That was so special.”
What also made it special for Chloe was the fact that she’s in the unique position of sharing what she knows as her own grueling cancer experience is entwined with the vital work of the Teenage Cancer Trust.
So it’s as much from appreciation for the help she herself has received, as from being dedicated to her role as Brand Ambassador that makes Chloe so passionate about taking every opportunity to: help others build a relationships with the brand; facilitate vital support and engagement with the charity’s aims; and generate awareness of the work they do – all reasons why Chloe was so delighted to be part of charity patron Roger Daltrey’s special event: “to maintain the relationship with current supporters, and also to create other relationships.”
And of course as someone who’s studied event management, Chloe is also quick to appreciate that what made the events at the Royal Albert Hall work was all those who gave up their time to help, as she reflects on the event’s outstanding success due to the “many people involved who make the week as great as it is, but you never really see/appreciate that … so much work and effort goes into it.”
As seen on social media
Despite her initial wish to keep her speech exclusive to attendees on the night, Chloe’s father uploaded her speech to his social media page. After “having words” with him about this, Chloe’s taken on the idea of now using this additional platform as an opportunity to get her message about the work of the Teenage Cancer Trust out there.
“So now I want everyone to share it … I’ve shared it because I think, OK, well now it’s out there I might as well share his [dad’s] post. At first, I was a bit nervous but I think it’s really important that Teenage Cancer Trust get the recognition they deserve, so now I want everyone to post it, everyone to share it. I want everyone to see Teenage Cancer Trust because it’s for them isn’t it, not for me?”
Brand Ambassador does an encore
After painstaking efforts to tailor her speech to this very special audience, then nervously standing up to deliver it, Chloe now laughs about the fact she woke up the next day to find herself on social media and clocking up views in the thousands. She’s not only now appreciates that her message is raising awareness of the charity’s work via social media but also that, as a result of this speech, others now want her to speak on behalf of the Teenage Cancer Trust at their own events.
“Adrian [one of the founders of Teenage Cancer Trust] … after my speech he came up and said ‘Chloe you made me cry […] I’d love you to come and speak at an event I do.” So this event in May, a huge annual event which aims to raise £100k is one of Chloe’s next big speaking challenges. “It’s amazing” she says, voice dropping to a whisper. “He’s the founder of the charity. That’s like a big deal, a huge deal.”
Not to mention another very big deal offered after speaking on the night: Chloe’s also been asked to speak at another event of over 400 attendees, to be held at the end of April at The Dorchester in London and hosted by a top pop talent.
But if anyone can set aside her fears to take on the task in hand, it’s Chloe because she has a real purpose in supporting a charity so close to her heart. “Currently, Teenage Cancer Trust can only reach 50% of young people, through 28 units up and down the country – that’s only half the young people with cancer,” she explains, before sharing that she feels “lucky” with her cancer experience, to have been able to access this support.
Chloe shares that the work of the TCT “isn’t just about the wards it’s also to do with providing specialist nurses go out and visit people in their homes – only 50% of young people with cancer can get that.” For Chloe herself, it was being on the charity’s dedicated ward in a London hospital which made the biggest difference to her overall recovery, and why she wants to do what she can to increase opportunities for other teenagers with cancer to have the same support.
“The thought of me not being on a ward where I could meet other people and chat with them, people my age who knew what I was going through,” Chloe shakes her head. “If I didn’t have that, those cancer friends, I don’t know what I would have done because it was so important just to have time where we could just be teenagers. Yes, we were teenagers with cancer but we would joke about it and we would laugh.”
Chloe pauses and in that silent gap are the friends she made on the ward who didn’t make it on their own cancer journey, those she spoke about in her speech, those who make her a Brand Ambassador with a real purpose.
And with this purpose, comes Chloe’s passion. “I’ve got the bug now,” she laughs, “I just want to carry on, I’m loving it, just loving it.”
As well as her new speaking engagements, Chloe’s also involved in several events going forwards, including the Brighton Marathon on the 13th, 14th, 15th April 2018 and the London Marathon on 22nd April 2018 – and she invites anyone to get involved with the events or with supporting the Teenage Cancer Trust.
You can also support the Teenage Cancer Trust by sharing Chloe’s speech and visiting:
Two-year degrees have been an ongoing trending news item since late 2017, and are being proposed as alternatives to longer degree courses. So what’s behind this initiative – and is two years still too long, and too expensive an option for gaining a level 7 qualification?
Two-year degrees have come about as a ‘cost-effective’ option, in the aftermath of the uproar against the high cost of regular university tuition fees in English universities. Tuition fees are now up to £9,250 each year in England, making university study in England more expensive than many other countries (Metro News, 2018).
Although there’s a temporary freeze on these tuition fees, which means they’re not likely to go up for another year, it’s becoming increasingly unlikely that the review will see tuition fees come down (BBC, Feb 2018). So two-year degrees have been presented by the Education Secretary and the Minister of Universities and Science as an option which offers greater flexibility and reduces overall costs to students by £5,500.
The situation has also been widely reported because of the cause-effect of those huge tuition fees, on top of rising costs for living and accommodation leading to extensive debt and financial difficulties for those entering higher education – especially as over half of all UK graduates don’t land a graduate role at the end of it (The Independent).
And those debts affect everyone involved: families with higher incomes are expected to contribute more to the living costs of their uni-going offspring, whilst students from families with lower incomes are offered larger loans, to support accommodation and living costs – but of course this means that they graduate with even larger debts!
What’s wrong with the plan?
This new plan is to offer degrees which are just two years long. But although this proposal means a reduced learning period there’s unlikely to be a different fee level, so the debt issue is still significant:
Students will still get into debt – with other costs, particularly accommodation, still rising, the costs of going to university continue to be much greater (The Guardian).
Oh, and not only are fees higher, the student loan interest rates attached to these higher fees also increased, just as the fees did (The Guardian).
Graduates may still struggle to get a graduate role.
Two-year degrees may not offer industry relevance and work-readiness.
And of course there’s still the issue that some school and college leavers still have no clear idea of the career path they wish to tread, so even two years of study could be too long (and too expensive) to spend on something you’re not sure you’re going to love!
What other options are there?
It’s kind of important to also mention that, even putting issues of time and money for study to one side, it’s a fact that not everyone is suited or disposed towards going to university.
After all, it’s possible that personal circumstances, preferences, and responsibilities mean that uni is not an option for extending education after school or college, or when re-thinking a career path or employment route, so it’s just as important to recognise that uni is not the only option around!
So there’s not just a move towards shorter degrees, there’s also a significant move towards the alternatives of high levels of education, skills, and knowledge – and not to mention practical experience, offered by vocational qualifications.
So how about events?
Whilst some professions do still require a degree, the events industry is one of those exciting, innovative industries which actively values those who can demonstrate professional experience and creativity through vocational courses, as readily as those with traditional degrees.
As such, the events industry not only recognises that vocational training can be a viable alternative to the traditional degree route, for a level 7 qualification, it also welcomes the fact that vocational training generates professionals who already have some experience.
If you’re not sure how this ‘looks’, the diagram below of the Qualifications & Credit Framework from Wikimedia offers an easy visual of the depth of study a level 7 qualification offers:
When options become solutions
This is one of the reasons why the Event Academy Degree-Alternative course is a popular choice amongst those who don’t want to come through their events education with huge debt or taking an overly long two or three-year route to try to get into a fast-moving industry. Because this, and our Postgraduate course* offer plenty of solutions to those problematic issues of three, or even two-year degree courses:
Costs (time and money)
Quality education does, of course, cost money, but Event Academy course fees are significantly less than the cost of a degree in terms of outlay across the period of studying and graduating from the course, and because the courses take less time, there are also less ongoing costs – plus you’re well equipped professionally and into the job market more quickly.
Speaking of professional equipment, our CIM-accredited qualifications offer industry-relevance and additional skills to support in-role competency and for getting a role – marketing yourself at effectively at interviews is an extremely good way of not just talking the talk, but could be the way of walking the walk in a more direct route to a job.
Not knowing what career path to take is common – even whilst studying event management. In fact, there are so many different roles within events that it’s possible to come into one of our event management courses thinking about one particular role or possibility and ending up working in another – and loving it.
Ready for work
One of the main benefits of the final part of the degree-alternative and the Postgraduate courses are the work placement opportunities, which involve industry- working and potential to gain a lively network of contacts to springboard a career.
This is how Event Academy has gained such a great reputation for delivering graduates who are work-ready and have the experience and portfolio needed to support getting an events role.
* Oh, and please don’t be put off talking to us about our Postgraduate course just because of its name! It’s entirely possible to get a place on the course if you have other relevant industry experience and vocational qualifications – see how this wasn’t a problem for Max in getting his events career started with us.
Getting involved in local events by volunteering to run one or get involved in helping can be a great way to gain experience and start building a portfolio, to support a move into professional event management.
National events offer a great opportunity to get creative with event ideas for getting the community involved in celebrations, and as this year includes two royal weddings, there’s plenty to inspire you. But of course the big one that’s grabbing most of the headlines is on May 19th 2018, the marriage of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle and with less than two months to go, how can you get an event going and use the wedding as a window to your career future?
Organising a local event which can help boost your experience and volunteering portfolio, but of course that’s not the main reason for getting involved. The main reward from volunteering to run or take part in an event going comes from the real sense of community giving, sharing and communicating.
We are gathered here today …
Having decided that running an event is a good idea, the next big question is what kind of event should it be? Outdoor events are always a popular way to bring communities together and, with the Beasts from the East hopefully far in the past by May, taking your event outside could make it a real gathering …
Street parties have a strong traditional role in national events and can be tremendous fun. Local legislation has been updated in recent years and now often makes it easier to hold these types of events, for example a music licence is not always needed. For information gathering, many local councils signpost organisers to the Street Party website, which offers a comprehensive overview of what to be aware – and beware – of!
Sometimes a street party or road closure just isn’t possible, for example if it’s part of a major local bus route. A good alternative is a ‘street meet’, held on a private driveway, cul-de-sac, parking area or garden, where permission given by the owner is enough – permission by the council is not required. The Street Party site also offers additional information on Street Meets.
Not necessarily in the street, but in community amenities, such as a local common land and community centres are also good locations for events – especially if there is a building available in case the weatheturns nasty.
The Royals are famous for garden-partying, so a garden offers the perfect venue for celebrating a royal event. Local parks might also be used, although may be subject to limitations in numbers, the playing of music or use of barbeques, so checking with the council is essential.
Royal Wedding viewing party
If you’ve got a wide screen available in a community venue, then watching the wedding can also be an event in itself, and of course, fancy ‘wedding’ dress can be a fun option. The BBC food blog has some good ideas on food themes for street and royal wedding events.
Disney or fairy-tale wedding party for children
If all events seem to be catered for in your area but you want to volunteer an idea of your own, why not consider a Disney or Fairy-tale-themed wedding party within a street event, to keep the children involved and entertained? After all, in the manner of all the best fairy-tales and Disney moments, someone will be marrying their prince on the day!
If anyone knows any just cause…
Private events are of course that, and apart from the usual boundaries of law, respect, awareness and sensible behaviour that we’d all extend to our neighbours if we’re holding a party, there may not be any additional aspects your event needs to comply with, from a legislative aspect.
However, if you’re holding an event in any kind of public setting, particularly a street party, then liaising with your local council is essential because – just like a wedding – there’s likely to be a licence involved! Happily though, with an event of huge national interest such as the Royal Wedding, many local councils have been urged by the government to waive charges for street party road closures, so it’s really worth making the local authority one of your first points of contact at the ideas stage, and also as a way of checking there isn’t a specific reason why the event you’re planning shouldn’t go ahead, or be held in the location you have in mind.
It’s also particularly beneficial to check in with your local council to see if they have specific guidance because in some cases you might be able to access help with funding. For instance, Rother District Council runs a community celebration fund, to help out with street party costs. A quick online search using similar terms may bring up funding opportunities for your own local area, but be aware that with the wedding date now in sight, most application windows close by the end of April 2018, so start looking soon or ask whilst …
Many local councils signpost towards the Street Party and The Big Lunch websites as the go-to places for information and guidance, but you will also need to check with the council directly in case of areas for compliance you’ll need to be aware of for your own event. Common areas of compliance include road closure, insurance, impact on residents and emergency access arrangements.
In some cases, the local authority may require you to submit a temporary road closure licence and events licence form, even if you are not accessing funding. This is usually just a simple form, completed and submitted so that the council can be aware of all the public space events (such as street parties), to support their own resource planning and risk management, for example traffic diversions and emergency service access planning. Signing this form often also confirms you’re aware of and will be planning to hold your event in compliance with the council’s guidelines for public space events, such as limitations on use of barbeques, availability of alcohol, decorations and fireworks and fundraising.
I will …
By now you should have plenty of ideas for holding an event or finding a local one to offer your volunteer services in and get that experience extended. If you feel that time’s beaten you for getting involved in running your own this time around, don’t forget:
Contact local and national charities and organisations, to see if they are running an event they’d welcome you to come and volunteer to help with.
See what your friends and family are up to on the day and maybe organise an impromptu event. Particularly if no one seems too fussed about the wedding but is more keen on the football … as May 19th’s also the FA Cup Final day, you could organise an informal ‘alternative’ football viewing party instead, which would still give you the chance to gather plenty of portfolio evidence of your role in event planning.
There’s another royal wedding coming up in July, so time to start planning for that one.
Finding the right event management course to study can be an education in itself – and a lesson you don’t want to learn the hard way, especially when you’re paying to learn about the profession.
In fact, it can be extremely difficult to know you’re ‘in the right place’ for learning about events, and even more so if you’re hoping to learn online: a convenient way to skill up, but using learning platforms which can often be faceless, isolating and hard to find inspiration and motivation for.
So here at Event Academy, we’ve organised a free module from our Online Diploma course, to help you check out the benefits of (a) studying event management at all, and (b) us as a potential provider.
So what do you need to know, to make the most of a free module?
There are several ways in which trying part of the course for free can benefit you, both generally and specifically.
Generally it’s a chance to not just explore the course content, but also to do a bit of additional fact finding, about:
The events industry – the module’s one tiny aspect of an event manager’s role, which in itself is a large part of a whole industry. Any event education you check out with a free module should relate to the industry as a whole, as much as event roles specifically.
Whether the course you’re considering is the right one for you – look at whether videos offer clear visuals and audio, are easy to pause and come back to (you’ll be note taking and trying things out as you go, of course) and whether they’re put together in a way which makes the learning points clear.
The expertise and professional knowledge of the tutors and lecturers involved, to help inform yourself about how in-depth the course is, and whether it’s likely to fulfill your own professional needs.
So, with our own taster module Event Production as an example, you’d gain insight into:
The different ways the events industry uses Production Managers.
How modules are delivered.
The explicit learning aims of the module (which you can then relate clearly to your own learning aims and skills gaps).
Professional knowledge from a tutor who’s an active professional in the events industry.
Getting to know you – by getting in amongst it
But of course, you’re not out to just generally benefit from a free module. To make the most of it you’ll really want to look at specific areas and use these to identify how the course provider and the course works – because that’s the only way to really ‘try before you buy’ and work out whether it’s likely to be the one for you:
Getting to know the education provider … and the tutors
Interacting with the education provider is vital for making the most of the trial module – and this includes your interactions with the provider as a whole and individual tutors.
For instance, if you signed up for a free module, then had to wait two days to get any contact, then just received a video of a few images, questions and a voice-over, before being bombarded with spam and up-selling, that wouldn’t be a good sign, right? Too right, so using our own free taster module as an example, here’s what you should expect, and what you’d actually receive from Event Academy …
You’d get to know us as a provider, and the tutors through:
An early email to welcome you to the taster, with instant access to it.
Instant access to videos with direct messages from Claire Derrick, Director of Education who’s also a lecturer. Claire’s video also explains the benefits of studying with Event Academy as a provider, so you can make the most of finding out more about the Chartered Institute of Marketing accreditation.
Checking out the enhanced knowledge you’ll gain from tutors who are event professionals. For instance, Nik Moore, conference producer with a wealth of professional expertise, particularly in the corporate sector, is the tutor running our Production Module. He’s the person you’ll meet in the taster module. You’re not only introduced to him as a professional, so you know his credentials for teaching this module, but you’re also introduced to his professional knowledge and experience, particularly about team working and those different teams involved in technical productions (yes, there are lots).
You’ll also find out about the types of support offered, as Katherine Richardson explains that despite studying online with us all the way from Australia: “I still felt completely connected to them […] the support of the student team was absolutely fantastic.”
Getting to know hardware and software platform requirements
Online study relies totally on your hardware, software and connectivity capabilities, so a free taster offers the chance to check for any problems which could affect your access to the course.
For instance, trying it out the video access using your chosen hardware (tablet, phone or computer) will help you establish whether your hardware functionality and internet connectivity are suitable for accessing the online course platform.
This can also help you decide whether this works conveniently for how you want to study, for example if you know you want to do it on a tablet during your morning commute, using the free wi-fi at the local coffee shop, or whilst travelling.
Getting used to what’s involved with online study generally … and the EA Online Diploma specifically
Although convenient, online study isn’t necessarily the ‘easy option’ some people consider it to be. But, although we can’t speak for other providers, we’ve set out to make our own online courses as easy to access and follow as possible. Take our Online Diploma …
We’ve tried to organise everything you’ll need at the information stage (including our taster session) so that you can be fully informed when you decide whether it’s the right course for you, by helping you to:
Identify the potential outcomes of taking the whole course (and the sample module);
Understand the value of the CIM accreditation behind the course;
Know what the course is likely to involve in:
Hardware, software and contact requirements;
How to get started.
Start to get involved in the routines of online study. Depending on how and when you access the taster course and do the learning activities within it, you should gain insight into:
Using the module;
Your productive times of day for working;
Understanding the format for note-taking and accessing the course.
Understanding what the level of study ‘looks like’
Our Online Diploma Course in Event Management is a level 4 qualification. This is the equivalent in academic levels to the first year of an undergraduate degree, or a complete Higher National Certificate course.
If you’ve been out of study for a while, or are unsure how your own levels of qualification have equipped you for further study, you can make the most of the free module by using it to check out how demanding the level of content is and how accessible you’re finding it, to help you to understand more about the rigour of the course.
Getting connected to the team
Nothing happens in isolation – including online study. Trying the taster session is a way of making an early connection to the team behind the course. At the very least, you should expect any free module to offer (as our does):
A follow up email to welcome you, provide you with additional connection links and information about the course you’re trying, the provider and other relevant courses.
Access to testimonials from others who’ve studied the whole course – and have enjoyed professional success as a result.
The chance to see how some of the lecturers are professionals in the event industry, not just presenters passing on ‘how to’ or ‘text book’ information, which many free online modules are guilty of.
A connection with the learning and support teams, so you have the chance to ask questions, discuss the learning content and discuss career opportunities.
Inform you about what you don’t need?
Sometimes one of the things that holds us back from committing to online events education is an anxiety about what might be needed, especially those practicalities that are often the ones which cause us problems such as: short time spans for accessing everything; the need for expensive hardware; inflexible deadlines.
So using our own free module for the Online Diploma as an example, you’d quickly find out that you don’t need:
To set aside a time-demanding intensive learning period (unless you really want to, of course)! Our Online Diploma can be carried out in up to 12 months, so there’s plenty of opportunity to organise your studies around your schedule. Doing the online module offers a practical way of judging the time needed to complete a module, and use this experience to help you identify how long you’ll need for:
the course as a whole.
individual modules within the course.
individual sections within modules.
To buy special hardware – the taster module can be accessed via your phone, tablet, desktop or laptop computer, so you can try it out using the hardware you already have.
Want to find out more?
The upcoming start date for the next Online Diploma in Event Management is Tuesday 3rd April, so there’s still time to give our taster module a go, to help you find out more, and to get prepared and involved.
Don’t forget, we’re here to help you make the most of every opportunity in the events industry – including events education – so if there’s anything you’d like to know please contact us.