Looking to get into the events industry? Then the College of Event Management might be just the place for you. We sat down with Director, Annie Shillington, to find out more about the college and the realities of working in events:
Tell us a little about the College of Event Management: The College of Event Management (CoEM) started as a one campus, one qualification private college in Sydney in 2012. Two friends; Boris Kelly, event industry guru and educator and Annie Shillington, previous owner of other well established and successful private colleges, saw a real need in the event industry for graduates who possessed the relevant, practical skills and knowledge to walk into an event management company, start work and show value to employers from day one! This (almost desperate) industry need was the basis for the CoEM concept and associated vocational event management courses. Four years down the track there are now two campuses; Sydney and Melbourne (Melbournians love, love, love their events), a stable of amazing industry lecturers on staff and many satisfied graduates working in a solid and fast-growing domestic industry.
What do students get to learn? The starting point for students is to learn about the industry that they are about to join; not many students are aware of the diversity of the industry and how far reaching its influences are. From there, it’s on to areas of study such as team management, venues and sites—students visit sites and live events during the course—event design, crowd safety, marketing, budgeting, sustainable practices, compliance, technical productions, infrastructure, to name a few; so many subjects in such a short time! Students also complete a substantial amount of event industry work experience across a broad range of event sectors. Facilitated by the college and its industry contacts, students not only gain real and ‘hands-on’ experience but often make valuable industry connections that lead to employment after graduation. What makes the CoEM’s Diploma of Events different to all the others? Our main point of difference is the fact that we are the only college in Australia that specialises solely in event management courses, meaning that we know what side the bread is buttered on when it comes to all things relating to events. By offering a simulated workplace, the college environment is structured to resemble an event management workplace where students feel like they’re in a real work environment, working on real briefs. All our programs, whether face-to-face or online, focus on skills and practice and are highly specific to events. Most colleges mix classes, which then tends to water down content into a very generic learning experience. What are the advantages of having a diploma of events under your belt? The events industry is heavily regulated and those that work within it must know what they’re doing, so it’s important to hold a qualification that is recognised by industry regulators and the industry itself. In saying that, one of our mottos is: you don’t need a degree to be an event manager! We find that statement rings very true within the event industry. A vocational qualification such as a Diploma has the right balance of skills and knowledge based rather than having too much of a theoretical emphasis. We feel that success within the event management industry is reliant on connections, reputation, a proven track record, ability, passion, a ‘never say die’ attitude, willingness to get dirty hands and work long hours and a whole bunch of determination. Glitter and tassels aside, what’s the event industry really like If you asked any of our lecturers they would say the same thing about the industry; it’s not for the faint hearted. The hours can be long and weird, stress levels can skyrocket due to crazy deadlines and there is a constant need to find solutions to problems that pop up. BUT in the end, when the people flood through the gates, the night goes off without a hitch and there are thousands of happy attendees talking about the event on social media it’s all very much worth it. One great thing about the Diploma of Events is that the lecturers don’t sugar coat the realities of the job. They impart an uncensored, first hand account of their experiences and all the relevant tricks of the trade. What are your top 3 pieces of advice for anyone wanting to get into the event industry?
1. Do the best work you can do, not matter what the task.
2. Show initiative, it’s the best way to stand out from the crowd.
3. Don’t think you’re too good to start from the bottom. When you’re at the top you will have a better understanding of every crew member’s role and they will respect you for that.
What jobs are available after you complete the diploma? Once graduates have a qualification under their belt they can work in roles such as event coordinator or manager, venue manager, wedding planner, event operations assistant, event admin assistant, conference coordinator and the list goes on. Any of those roles could be in the following fields; music, arts and community festivals, sporting events, exhibitions, media events, weddings, charity campaigns, venues, conferences, parties and corporate. Any student success stories you can share? Some of our successes happen while students are still studying with us. Like Jade from Melbourne who was given a great contact for Soundwave festival. She ended up working on the crew at the event in Melbourne and impressed management so much that she was flown north for the Sydney leg of the tour. Some success stories happen after graduation too. Like Jemma who who went straight into the event team at Star, and Kirrily who now has her dream job as the wedding coordinator with Trippas White Group after tiring of a career in real estate. And then there’s Bonnie who coordinates Pasha for Merivale. And I can’t not mention Lauren who’s now an event coordinator with TAG Creative in New York. But sometimes the biggest success story of all is that person who has a burning ambition to make a positive change to their life through education. Just completing a challenging course can be absolutely life changing for someone. In that case, there’s a huge sense of satisfaction for all involved. How do people go about enrolling in the CoEM? Everyone is welcome to check out our website: http://www.collegeofeventmanagement.com.au/ read about our courses and apply online.