Member Blog

Rowan Bennett, Head of Marketing and Events, The Honourable Artillery Company

Education in Events – to degree or not degree?

A recent report informs us that the UK Events Industry is now worth £39.1bn and employs 530,000 people.

When considering a career in events there continues to be a discussion on education in the industry and whether that degree in events management will get you to where you want to be.

There are now over 50 universities offering event related courses across the UK. But is it necessary?

Graduating from Leeds Beckett as it is now known, I completed my BA Hons in Conference and Exhibition Management back in 2005, and for me I wouldn’t change the path I chose.

One benefit of completing a degree course is the wide ranging set of skills you learn across such a cross section of industry.  It helps to narrow down the path you might choose from such a diverse range of jobs.

It also helps create a natural network of contacts, I’ve worked with so many of my class mates over the years, and it’s such a support system and wealth of knowledge delivered through the alumni.

Many degree courses have placement years, and that is the aspect that helps them stand out from the rest.  Ultimately it is your experience that teaches you how to put the theory into practice.

Once courses are complete and students take their next step into industry it is their experience that will give them the edge, alongside their degree – the two must complement each other.

Each year I deliver a number of guest lectures at universities and it is inspiring to meet the next generation of event professionals.  I’m a huge advocate of education in events – I’m a living breathing example of it but do I feel it gives me the one up on my industry peers that haven’t had a formal qualification?

No, of course not, because ultimately success in our industry rests on passion, on enthusiasm, and that underwritten drive to take an empty space and deliver a show stopping event. Whatever the content and whatever the nature. No amount of training can teach you that – you either love it or you don’t.


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