Now this tweet from Kirstie Allsopp did come a while ago and with it came many people in both agreeance and disbelief at her sheer ignorance for the subject. Anyway, I think it’s time I took Allsopp on and fought back for the industry I’m basing my future career around.
I study Events Management at Leeds Beckett, formerly Leeds Metropolitan University. It’s the UK Centre and we’re fortunate to have lecturers with both amazing practical experience and high academia. Everyone is fully aware that it’s a controversial subject on whether or not it’s needed or useful, and it’s definitely up there with what people consider Mickey Mouse.
People think Events Management is all about planning parties. Well, ignorant people do. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. In my 2 and a half years studying so far, I have not heard the word ‘party’ used once. In a single lecture, seminar or casual conversation.
We effectively study a Business Management degree – but with an angle that you are running an events business. We learn the fundamentals of UK law, regulations, accounting, business management – and yes, a bit of creativity.
I’m not saying the average person can’t throw a party. Of course they can. You don’t need any qualifications for that. Just like you don’t to plan a wedding. People with absolutely no organisational skills or any understanding of the law do that every single day all by themselves without the help of a professional. But people don’t enter into this degree wanting to be party planners or wedding planners. We want to be conference managers, run international exhibitions, manage festivals, music events, sporting events – The Olympics.
It’s slightly different.
It’s the difference between planning something for 200 people that you probably know quite well, to being responsible for 80,000 strangers in a stadium who have all paid £60 each to both be entertained and safe.
Human error is always going to happen and things beyond our control are always going to happen – therefore inevitably, things that cause crises are always going to happen. However, we’re trained to put everything in place to prevent these occurrences. To prevent the next Hillsborough disaster which took the lives of 96 people, and the Brazil nightclub fire which took the lives of 233.
We learn the rules of capacity and what is a safe number of people to have in one venue. We learn the rules on fireworks and pyrotechnics. We learn many health and safety rules relating to events and venue management, and the laws surrounding them in quite some detail.
We learn these things so that hopefully these dreadful disasters don’t repeat themselves.
We learn these things so that people like Kirstie Allsopp can walk into the National Television Awards and feel comfortable and safe in the knowing that she will come out alive. She feels entertained and everything runs to time.
It’s supposed to feel effortless. It’s supposed to feel calm for the attendees. But without a doubt the entire events team are running round like headless chickens back stage. And the people that have been in the business for twenty years probably have worked their way up into that role, but the assistants on large scale events and the newly emerging talent which are going to take on the entertainment and business world in a matter of a few years, are all educated and trained in that profession.
Yes, it might be Mickey Mouse. But as a teacher once said to me, the company that made Mickey Mouse made a hell of a lot of money.