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Work placement and apprenticeship options for event management

It’s hard to know how to get the relevant experience for making a move into event management, but those options are certainly out there. From volunteering to gaining work placements and apprenticeships as a route into a role, event management offers endless possibilities …

From those large national events such as the London Marathon and Glastonbury to smaller local events, the UK sees thousands of events held each and every day. Whether national-scale public events, private, corporate or at-home functions, any gathering of people requires precision organisation and efficient management to see it flourish successfully, which means there are plenty of opportunities for professional organisers to forge a steady and thriving career in event management.

These usually take three different forms:

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Making a plan is part of the process

Often the process of becoming a professional event manager starts off informally – the person with a flair for organising events and activities becomes the go-to person when others want something organised. Becoming an event manager is a natural progression which takes this informal flair and experience to a professional, paid level of expertise.

However, making the transition does take some thinking about … throwing a successful party for friends and deciding from there to give up the day job and become an event manager isn’t necessarily the best idea for setting off on your new path. Things which you might want to consider before making a definite plan to transition into event management might include:

Volunteering at local or national events to get a feel for the requirements of different aspects of events, such as security, entertainment management, booking and promotion.

Visiting local events, such as exhibitions, trade fairs, flower shows, dog shows, wedding fairs, festivals and concerts. Make sure you attend events that you might not usually visit because it doesn’t matter whether or not you’re interested in the content, you’re there to focus on the running of the event itself – after all, as an event manager you could be asked to arrange any type of event!

Consider aspects such as:

Basically, all those things which might seem irrelevant to you as a visitor suddenly seem much more relevant and interesting when viewed from the ‘other side’ of the event. Visiting events with this in mind will quickly give you a much deeper insight into the reality of event management across a whole range of events and inform you on how to gain the experience you might need.


Looking into relevant qualifications is also another way to gain experience and insight into the role as part of your progression route into a career in event management.

Relevant qualifications include:

Event management degree courses – although these may be expensive and hard to access if you still need to earn whilst making a transition to an event management role.

Vocational qualifications in event management – providers such as Event Academy offer flexible qualification routes which have the additional benefit of links with apprenticeships and work placements, allowing both practical and theoretical learning of all aspects of event management. These courses are also available at postgraduate level, so graduates who feel they need more practical experience and additional routes into apprenticeship opportunities are also catered for by vocational learning.

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Workplace experience

What volunteering and vocational qualification routes both offer are ways of gaining workplace experience in event management in practical ways and within key aspects such as planning, organisation and presentation – of all types of event. This not only allows you to gain plenty of experience and expertise, but also offers insights into the types of events you prefer or might like to specialise in.

Additionally, being part of the event circuit, through volunteering, attending events and taking an EventCourse with work placements allows networking opportunities which can be fruitful. Even before qualifying, such courses will link you up with many events which require Entry Level staff for stewarding, hosting, catering and setting up, all of which offer additional opportunities to earn whilst you learn, as well as facilitating the process of becoming a professional event manager.

Apprenticeship awareness

By volunteering and taking work placements which offer lower paid, temporary event staff roles, you’re not only boosting your CV and experience but also preparing yourself for any transition into an apprenticeship role, if this is your ultimate aim.

Although apprenticeship roles are notoriously low-paid, they do offer real value in terms of networking, professional knowledge and industry expertise opportunities. EventCourse courses offer access to apprenticeships as well as corporate, public and private sector contacts who regularly offer apprenticeship roles.

By being aware of the possibilities that vocational courses, work placements and apprenticeships offer to increase not only your options but also your skills, experience and qualifications, you stand a great chance off maximising your potential for becoming a professional event manager.