Greenbelt Festival: A Work Experience Series: A QUICK UPDATE

I have learnt over the last two weeks that working 5 day and leaving the house at 8am and arriving home after 6pm means I am increasingly tired, which means I fall asleep earlier and accomplish less things while at home in the evenings. One of the things I fail to accomplish when I come in from ‘work’ is writing a short paragraph about what I did on that day, which in turn means I have now created an even bigger pile of work for myself that involves summarising the last 2 weeks of work into a small enough paragraph so that people might even read it. However the first step in that process in remembering the tasks I have done.

I haven’t forgotten what I did on the 9th of June 2011, I just have a better memory (and more to talk about) of what I did say on the 20th of June 2011 (yesterday)

SO i am not going to summarise it all now, because that would be plain silly at 11.38pm, instead I will just let you know that the Greenbelt experience is fantastic. (and NO I haven’t just said that because a few people from the office might read this, I really am enjoying it!)

So I shall bid you all goodnight and spend the next few days racking my brain for an interesting way to summarise 10 days of work, as well as carrying on with the work in the Greenbelt office. 

Greenbelt Festival: A Work Experience Series: DAY TWO

The most important thing I learnt today was; THINGS CHANGE A LOT, and can do very dramatically. There was a moment in the office where for about 2 hours a situation occurred – lucky it was all resolved very quickly and was down to failed communication and a misunderstanding. But it made me realise how shaky organising a festival can be because there are so many different groups of people involved; from the acts and performers to the hundreds of volunteers, the catering, partnerships & funding, contractors etc, the list goes on. It amazes me that all the development and responsibility for this festival that has over 20,000 spectators is managed by a staff of 11 people.

Tuesday’s in the office is the staff meeting, self explanatory. It was very interesting to hear what everyone is having to deal with, from sorting out visas and taxes , to planning the designs for the t-shirts that are to be sold. I spent the day making sure all the information for music acts and the speakers for the talks were on the system, then creating a standard email to send to the managements of the acts that haven’t provided any information.

The interesting thing about what I have been doing is seeing how sometimes the communication from different people isn’t always working as some of the acts that are confirmed bookings for the 2011 festival have been entered in twice – what this means is that someone, in this case myself & a few other people, have to go through each sub division and make sure there is only ONE person for contributor and bookings. When you sit at the computer & have a good understanding of the system they use it is a very simple task but VERY time consuming and also equally important, however trying to explain what you have to do is much more complicated, hence why I am assuming the last part made little to no sense to all of you!

I have now met all 11 staff members, however my next problem is how to get to know them all better, because from my prospective it is up to me to ask questions about what each of them does so I can get a better understanding, however I have no idea how to do this! Remember I have already been given jobs to do and complete and everyone is obviously very busy ‘working’, so how do I start a ‘conversation’ with members of the staff who I am not working with at the moment without it seeming too ‘strange’ and ‘forced’?

How to become an Event Manager: WORK EXPERIENCE

If there is anything that will set you apart from other candidates, allow you to gain and develop skills and network it is work experience. There is nothing more valuable than this, yet sadly it isn’t too easy to find.

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.

If you have more questions for me either leave a comment below or email me or send me a tweet @Imdamnstudent