Back in April 2004 a new Association was formed to advance the cause of events management education. Just ten years earlier it would have been almost inconceivable that anyone would want to study the topic, let alone at degree level.
Today, the Association for Events Management Education has 47 institutional members representing British and International universities as well as commercial training providers.
There are those who would scoff at the very idea that you need two, three or more years’ education to be a good event manager, and indeed the qualities of patience, attention to detail, quick thinking and adaptability are not necessarily picked up in the classroom. But the world of events has changed. They are now significantly more complex, made so by legislative changes, particularly in health and safety, and technology such as social media and complex ticketing arrangements.
The US has had its Certified Meeting Professional programme since 1985, when it was launched by the Convention Industry Council. It now boasts more than 10,000 alumni in 46 countries, illustrating the value our industry now puts on accreditation and high standards of best practice. Doubters say that this is education for its own sake, but by promoting standards of performance and ethics in our industry we are constantly proving that we are a force to be reckoned with and have a valid, valuable voice when it comes to participating in policy and business decisions.
Events education is important. It enables us to recruit talented individuals who have already had a taste of managing festivals, meetings and conferences from the ‘non-sexy’ side as part of their course; it gives us stature when dealing with professional bodies, government organisations and policy makers; and it ensures that we never stop learning about the wonderful world of events and what it is capable of.