The first task for IEM and other event industry bodies has been to collaborate with event professionals and reputable event management companies and industry bodies to establish exactly what professional recognition looks like within the events industry: knowing what something looks like is the only way to recognise it, after all.
Following this, to achieve a full picture of what professional practice looks like across the sector, the IEM, in conjunction with People 1st (Sector Skills Council) developed a set of National Occupational Standards for Event Management (NOS). These national standards set the benchmark for professional practice, by which new and established event personnel can have their practice measured – and recognised as professional.
Of course, just like the long-established professional standards for teachers, for example, laying out the professional standards for event management in a line forms only one side (practice) of the triangle of Learning, Development and Practice … there also has to be training available to help practitioners gain experience and meet these crucial standards.
This is where the latest qualifications for event management have come in to provide benchmark training, opportunities to experience all facets of event management and to facilitate the start of lifelong learning and continued professional development for those forging a career in events management.
With qualifications paving the way to meeting the benchmark standards (the Learning side of the triangle), the quality and rigour of the qualifications themselves also need to meet standards of professional recognition, so fledgling and established event managers looking to obtain relevant qualifications are advised to seek those qualifications which do offer such recognition and accreditation from established professional bodies.
The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CMI) is an internationally recognised, high profile body which is also working closely with IEM and accredits the event management courses run by Event Academy. This accreditation includes monitoring the content and quality of courses in line with industry best practice, which is also now aligned with the new national standards.
With their website full of resources and continued professional development (CPD) advice, the IEM’s focus on lifelong learning for event managers demonstrates the final aspect needed to completes the Development side of the professional triangle of learning and career development for event managers: CPD. Alongside national standards and qualifications, well-run CPD supports events managers in identifying gaps in knowledge or practice and can help identify the steps in experience or training which need to be taken to meet or maintain those standards.
These steps can also include qualifications not only relevant to event management, but also to the purpose of CPD. Eventcourse live and online courses are now fully accredited by the CPD Standards Office, with recognition of “equipping people with the academic and practical skills to be effective in the workplace” – the whole premise behind CPD.
But beyond this, and for many, effective CPD isn’t only about effectiveness in the workplace: in the fast-moving events industry it’s also about those professional standards and making progression within the industry. CPD and skills development is instrumental in promoting good practice as well as being a springboard for making progress within an industry, something which raises the bar of overall practice higher as those with the best professional practice make the progress within the industry and those who don’t make the grade move on elsewhere.
As the demand for events in the UK looks set to continue to grow throughout 2016 as in 2015, this makeover of the professional face of the event management industry is timely and has never been more relevant.
By using CPD and qualification routes effectively to meet, maintain (and ideally exceed) those new industry standards, the IEM are supporting event industry professionals to help achieve the “professional recognition which event organisers have been seeking for decades” (Susan Spilbey, IEM) and can carry forwards in the 21st century.