Stop with Event Education vs Event Experience


Photograph by Michael Mroczek

A conversation that keeps happening far too often & far too regularly is the one which pits event degrees against experience!

I’ve spoken at length about my hate for this topic – because anyone with common sense can see that they both have their values. Not only is this backed by the fact there are so many different universities to pick from if you decide to start with the education route. But the more important question is what do we gain from diminishing people who spend a lot of time and money working to better understand a (still relatively new) profession?

When I spoke at Confex last week – on a panel looking at career progression (which will be a future blog post) – and in answer to a similar shaped question on degrees/experience I answered with something I was to pose here.

Why are we even having this discussion at an industry show?

The audience is made up of event professionals and students – each who have a strong view on this topic already, and/or have personal experience of both sides of the argument!!

This conversation should only be happening at secondary schools with students who are 16/17 and making the bold choices on what they want to do next. But even then, instead of asking this loaded question we should instead be asking what skills does the industry need and value?!

We should be guiding the next generation of the events industry on a path that gives them the best career advantages and best supports what the industry needs in the long-term! It is up to us as the event industry to understand where people will gain those skills best & build courses, apprenticeships & on the job experiences which them enable the next generation to build and develop these vital skills.

These simple steps will mean we can finally move on from this over-discussed, irrelevant conversation!