I’d be a terrible eventjuice writer if I didn’t tell you to visit this site to get all the knowledge you need to know about events. However, I would be a terrible writer if I left it at just that!
Today we’re covering qualifications as a way to develop your knowledge in events and prove to the world that you are an expert.
It may not feel like much in the midst of this economic recession, which is hitting graduates particularly hard, to include those letters at the end of your name, but I would recommend, in such a competitive industry, studying events to give you the competitive edge.
A specific events qualification goes a long way to show the world that you’re dedicated to a career in events and, if you already work in events, to update your knowledge to ensure that you’re on top form. Today we’re going to look at a few of those options:
“I already work in events”
If you already work in events, that’s brilliant. You may or may not have a degree already – I’m not going to assume this and I’m not going to assume it’s in events where you do.
The key reason that someone who already works in the events industry would want to undertake additional training is to increase your knowledge, develop your reputation and to make yourself aware of any new or emerging trends in events at an academic level.
If you’re already a professional then I think that the best option is going to be distance learning.
Why? Because let’s face it – if you’re working your day job in events, you simply won’t have time to attend lectures without taking time out of the business.
Typically, this kind of flexibility is difficult to afford in an industry where time is dictated by the consumers.
Distance learning courses do exist – and though there are many course providers who are offering ‘event management’ courses, what you want to look for is one that offers a recognized award from a recognized university (see link at the end of the article for a database of some of the legitimate institutions in the UK). The ones to look out for are Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MSc), Post-graduate certificate (PGCert), and Post-graduate diploma (PGDip).
These are recognized qualifications granted by valid degree-awarding institutions and from a trust perspective (as a consumer and employer) I think you’ll find it hard to go wrong. From an employer or client’s perspective, it’s good to see something that’s instantly recognizable.
Typical course lengths are:
• Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MSc) – Typically, two years distance learning
• Post-graduate Diploma (PGDip) – Typically eighteen months distance learning
• Post-graduate Certificate (PGCert) – Typically, one year distance learning
As these are post-graduate qualifications, you will find it easier to get on to a distance learning course if you already have an undergraduate degree – particularly one in events. However, it is not a pre-requirement to entry and each application will be considered on merit – events management experience or other qualifications will be highly relevant.
“I don’t work in events” (yet!)
If you’re looking to work in the events industry in the future, then there are a few options open to you depending on where you are in your life.
– I’m young, nothing set in stone
This is the start of everyone’s journey into a career – no degree and no experience; a completely blank canvas. You may not have even done you’re A-levels yet.
If you’ve yet to decide your A-levels, consider what sort of subjects would be important to a career in events?
– Due to the (sometimes) international nature of events management, languages might be a good choice.
– Considering you have to handle budgets and basic accountancy matters, accountancy and finance might be another good choice.
– As an event manager, you have to be a leader and with sound business knowledge, business studies or marketing might be a third choice which provides you with a rich background into how business operates.
Ultimately, these are just suggestions – I’m not saying that the perfect event manager would do languages, accountancy, and business studies. However, these are skills that you might find useful. If unsure, I would suggest you stick to core subjects – science, English, and mathematics are solid choices – and choose something you can do well.
When considering your degree, you have two options:
You could take on a full honours degree or you could do a foundation degree. There are some differences: honours degrees are a what are commonly understood as a “degree”, they typically last three years (four in Scotland), and they are undertaken at a university.
In contrast, foundation degrees are a lower award (Fda), typically last two years, and are undertaken at a college. Foundation degrees offer a good introduction to a subject, and can be “topped up” to an honours degree by undertaking an additional year at a later date.
You also need to consider subject: You can go straight in for the kill and do event management, or you can do an unrelated subject and study events management, or other similar qualifications, at post-graduate level.
Ultimately, there are a few questions to consider:
1. How much time do I want to spend in education?
2. What level of education do I want? Is a foundation degree enough or do I need honours or even post-graduate?
3. If faced with an events employer, can I justify why I did not do events management at undergraduate level?
I would consider these carefully – The third question is one that will come up at interview.
Undergraduate degrees related to events
I’m a career changer
Career changers are generally in a good position to switch to a career in events. Typically they already have a broad and established skill-set in another industry with plenty of transferrable skills. What you will lack the most is specific events experience and knowledge.
On the experience aspect, I would say that internships are a great way to get your foot in the door and gain some experience in the industry. Before you embark on any sort of education, I would recommend you try an internship – what a nightmare it would be to get to the end of a 2-year Master of Science degree only to realize you hate events (but come on, who would?).
Career changers are in a similar position to those who work in events in their educational requirements. If you have a degree, you should not have too much of a problem getting on to an events management, or similar, postgraduate course.
If you do not have a degree, you will need to ensure that on your application you sell yourself and relate your experience with the events industry. You could have that award within a year if you work hard!
I would always stay away from non-University course providers. I think you can only get a truly legitimate qualification from a respected institution – and the respect that comes with that from your peers should say it all.
There are many bogus institutions out there offering ‘degrees and awards’ and it will make you very red-faced at interview if you’re stung by one of these. A reasonable well-populated database of legitimate and bogus institutions can be found here: https://www.hedd.ac.uk/browseInstitutions.htm
Whatever stage you’re at in your life, it’s never too late to improve your knowledge, shape your future, or change where you’re heading. My advice is to stick with training from legitimate, degree-awarding bodies who are in the position to offer you the highest quality service, facilitate distance learning, and provide you access to a variety of industry specific publications to help your study (and your career!)