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Formal Qualifications for the Live Events Industry.

Andy Robertson

Although the usual route of entry to a career in the live events industry is through experience and networking with the right contacts an alternative route may be to get a formal qualification. What options are available in the UK for anyone keen to start a career in the live events industry?

Whilst many ‘old hands’ will state that they put experience over and above any formal qualifications the growing number of professional events management companies is growing and as such the interest in formal qualifications is rising. Aside from the large corporate events management companies like Live Nation and Superstruct there are a growing number smaller independent event management companies perhaps managing between 20 and 50 events a year. It is these smaller event management companies that may see the most growth and therefore demand for qualified talent.

A quick search online reveals a variety of ‘events’ themed qualifications available from numerous universities and colleges. However, for an ambitious individual who wants to get into a management role there are some interesting three-year degrees available. For example, Nottingham Trent University offer a three-year full-time BSc (Hons) degree in Live and Technical Events, where students are taught by well-connected industry professionals with extensive experience of live sound, lighting, video technology installation and operation and production management. During the course, all students will have the opportunity to undertake real event work experience. The University of Bolton offer a top up degree (following a foundation course) which on completion awards a BA (Hons) degree in Live Event Production that is geared more towards live music, festivals, conferences and the corporate sector.

Although these two examples differ in career prospects, the first being more technically focused and the second being geared towards event management, there are many other courses available and interested students should easily be able to find a course that matches their area of interest. 

The large corporate event management companies already have well established career programmes and talent management and with hundreds of vacancies to manage they have well established recruitment and selection processes. These are obvious companies for a graduate to target for possible employment although competition for open positions will be fierce. A wiser move maybe to look at the growing independent event company sector where more opportunities may exist but with a less corporate structure. Students and graduates of ‘live events’ themed courses should not just rely on a good qualification. The live events industry thrives on people who are super enthusiastic about their profession and graduates should be able to demonstrate their involvement in the live events industry over a number of years. This could be working as a festival volunteer or understudy to audio and lighting engineers in their spare time. Whatever route someone chooses to start a career in the live events industry they will find it one of the most rewarding sectors to work in. 

For any graduate of a live events course using a software management platform like
Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their live event. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors guestlists and ticketing.

Photo by Ekrulila from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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