When I first decided to study event management and attended the open days I was told that work experience was crucial in getting accepted on the course. I immedently went home and searched event companies in my local area and went about emailing around 25 of them asking if they would take me on for work experience. I recieved only ONE reply.
On my course I had to complete 90 hours of work experience to pass one module, for many on my course they found it very hard to find companies that would take then on due to the fact that many places can’t afford to take on students. The saying its who you know, not what you know if in many cases true because with events it is about building a relationship with many different people therefore it is important to ‘network’ and gain a contact list which will enable you to meet more people in the industry and in turn gain more experience.
Cold calling isn’t always an effective way to go about contacting event companies about their work experience opportunities but it can sometimes work! I would always say EMAIL them first, but don’t expect a reply as a lot of companies are far too busy.
Below is a list of places that would be worth a look for work experience:
Hotels: Many hotels have ‘inhouse’ event organisers. They are more likely to be able to take you on for work shadowing & experience and are really great places to gain skills. Hotels host venues for weddings, conferences and corporate events and these businesses may even be able to pay you.
Bars: Special events such as bands playing, celebrities hosting and parties are all forms of events and if you are over 18 (sometimes 21) it can be very benificial helping and working at places like these.
Festivals: These are very easy to gain skills from and are go to places for experience as most festivals are looking for volunteers even if you are stewerding for any of the summer festivals you are meeting event coordinators and working on making sure the events run smoothly.
Charity events: Again a very very good way to gain experience and sometimes you can have a much bigger role as they look for local people to help plan and organise these events.
School/University events: These are not only a lot of fun but putting these on your CV make you look very good and if you do this regularly then you can update your CV to show that you are doing a lot of current work.
Remember to keep you CV updated and always get references, write down what you did and what role you played and talk about what you gained from the experience.
The ability to show that you have the skills to work in the event industry is very important as is actually knowing what you are doing.
I am currently working as an Intern at Greenbelt Festival for part of the summer, it is unpaid and is something I arranged for myself, however the skills, experience and chance to meet new people it totally rewarding and very vital for my own personal experience.
Remember WORK EXPERIENCE is often the most important aspect when applying for jobs.