Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The uneventful pressure of the summer months

Sometimes we pile too much pressure on ourselves, we build up to-do lists which are filled to the brim with 'small' tasks and then due to the sheer number we never make it too the end; but rather than getting up the next day & just completing that list, we hide away and bury our head under the sand.

I've started ignored the increasingly long to-do list and abandoning my email inbox, acting ignorant to the amount of work I have to do. I'm doing this because 2 months ago when I finished uni, I tried to do too many things at a point where I needed to take a step back and re-assess where I am and where I want to go!

The issue is people keep passing on contradictory advice, telling me that I need to find a job ASAP, yet also saying this is the perfect opportunity to travel and experience the world. On top of this I have all these ideas buzzing round my mind that I want to make a reality, but a combination of doubt and pure laziness means i'm not putting in enough time.

I'm not sure if any other students or recent graduates are feeling similar, stuck in a moment of overwhelming possibilities yet lacking the motivation and urgency to get it all done!? 

If anyone has any advice on how to break out of this rut and gain the momentum back then please let me know in the comments or drop me a tweet

Friday, 11 July 2014

The Meeting Show 2014: How important are accreditations and certifications for the events industry?

This past Tuesday (8th July) I attended the first day of the 2014 Meeting Show in London. It was my first time at this exhibition and whilst I saw some familiar faces from Confex and the Event Production Show, #TMS14 is specifically aimed towards the MICE side of the events industry.

For those who may not know MICE stands for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions/Events. A majority of the exhibitors where DMC (Destination Management Companies) and Venues as well as a few event suppliers and tech companies - however the main reason I went along was to attend one of the talks: Accreditation and Certification - a waste of time or a must have? 

The Panel consisted of; Martin Christian-Kent (Executive Director of People1st), Nick Milne (Hon. Secretary and Board Member for MIA), Miguel Neves (Senior Online Community Manager for IMEX Group & President of MPI UK) and was moderated by Paul Kennedy (Strategic Business Advisor for The Meeting Show). You might remember that Miguel moderated one of the talks I attended at Confex on the innovation of tech in the events industry

Although this talk was not directly linked with the recent debate about the relevance of event management degrees, I was interested to hear industry professionals opinions on a topic that does bare some relevance. 

L-R: Paul Kennedy, Martin Christian-Kent & Miguel Neves (credit: Irina Trimovskaya)

Paul Kennedy made a very interesting point at the start saying that the reason there is a deep controversy with this topic is because it is not obvious about the benefits. He went on to say that currently the events industry is not great at proving its worth to others & accreditation is one way to help develop the professionalisation of the industry. 

Miguel Neves spoke specifically about CMP, which is strongly pushed and supported by MPI UK. He explained how it is an individual certification and across the world there are over 10,000 who are certified - however the UK only has 12 people! Nick Milne agreed that the use of accreditation is very important, however he spoke about AIM with is a certificate that focuses solely on the meeting industry, he talked about how accreditation allows companies to show they work ethically and strongly understand the business and industry. Both Miguel and Nick made the point that accreditation and certifications make sure people keep up to date with the industry & continuously learn as they need to be reaccredited on a regular basis - CMP being every 5 years & AIM every 12 months. 

Martin Christian-Kent talked more about the need for a central body who could create a set of industry standards, because it is important to have common standards to develop the industries professionalisation. Martin also talked about research which shows whilst the amount of training in events has increased, employers are still reporting that they cannot get skilled applicants and believe some staff don't have the right skills. 

L-R: Martin Christian-Kent, Miguel Neves & Nick Milne (creditIrina Trimovskaya)

After listening to the panel talk and hearing a few questions from other audience members I was curious to hear Martin, Miguel and Nick's opinions on if there should be a much stronger link with the established event education already in place in the UK, e.g. event degrees

Martin answered saying that once there are a set industry standards then university courses will start to link more closely with those standards. Nick focused again on the benefit that accreditation means people are regularly checked up and reaccredited & he also made the point, which event students might have heard before, that graduates can't expect to do an event management course and be done - it involves continuous development. And finally Miguel mentioned that a problem with event degrees is that all universities have different syllabus and focus on different course content. 

From a personal viewpoint, industry accreditations are something I know little about because they were not pushed or explained during my time at university. Whilst I agree that there does need to be some set standards in place so that  university degrees are taught with a stronger focus of what the industry needs, it is unsettling to hear that after spending over £20,000 I will need to spend more to gain an additional industry recognised accreditation. Obviously the thing everyone wants is for all even professionals to hold the right skills to do the job to the highest and most professional standards. 

My problem isn't with the idea of a certification but more that event professionals are not looking to invest their knowledge and focus of improving and developing the event degrees, which would mean graduate are coming out will all the relevant skills that they need. If more focus was given to event students, who are undisputedly the next group of event professionals, employers would be gaining skilled staff who already have the desired and essential skills to be successful in the events industry.  

I am really interested to hear your opinion on this topic - are you for a stronger focus on event profs gaining accreditations and certifications? Do you think they will help improve the events industry professionalisation? Or would you rather focus was given to event degrees so that more future event professionals came out of uni with the essential skills? 

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Officially a 2:1 Event Graduate

Not to shout it from the rooftop or anything but this week I found out that I am officially graduating with a 2:1 from the University of Gloucestershire. 

I'm not one to get sentimental but the last four years have been quite a journey, it wasn't always easy and I know that one of the only reasons I made it through is down to my fantastic friends who kept me sane. So thank you UOG for the last four years & a massive thank you to the Event Management department, and all my lecturers. ++ Plus it wouldn't be right not to thank my ridiculously crazy parents and brother who reminded me that nothing was ever as difficult as it first looked!

To all my fellow UOG 2014 classmates congratulations, you made it! 

If you are about to start your event management course this September then here are a few posts that should help you out during your first year & time at university. 

Also If you are an event blogger or writer remember to join in the #EventBlogChat on Monday 7th July at 9pm GMT.