Love the idea of bringing some of your creativity and energy into exhibitions? It’s a great choice because the world of exhibitions can be extremely diverse and is literally global – from trade shows such as the Ideal Home or Motor Show, to arts and education, history, culture and science – just name the sector of interest and an exhibition could well be involved!
A Day in the Life of an Exhibition Manager
So, being an exhibition manager means a range of skills and tasks coming into play each day as you make all the preparations. And of course, because an exhibition is very rarely ‘for one night only’ the job also involves ensuring momentum, interest, and engagement – not to mention smooth running – across the entire duration of the exhibition, even when it’s a ‘visiting’ exhibition on a worldwide tour!
As such, the actual scope of your role will depend on the type of exhibition manager role: for instance, if you’re an in-venue exhibition manager you probably won’t be researching venues. But whatever the type of role, regular tasks across those days are likely to include those fundamentals of event management and those eye-for-detail aspects that come specifically with exhibition management:
- Research, creating proposals and pitching to clients.
- Organising logistics, planning the exhibition schedule – and monitoring all aspects.
- Securing venues, exhibitors, designers, contractors, and suppliers – in accordance with the exhibition schedule you’re responsible for.
- Supervising teams and working closely with any outside teams involved, such as venue, catering, security or PR staff.
- Sales, promotion, and marketing – including ‘selling’ the idea to sponsors who you really want to be involved in the exhibitions, selling exhibition space to exhibitors, as well as possibly selling tickets to the event.
- Security, health and safety – especially if valuable exhibits are involved.
And these are just the obvious aspects of the role. Every exhibition will be different and will involve a myriad of specific tasks and skills that not everyone has when they set out in event management! So that’s where our courses come in – to get you skilled up so you don’t make an exhibition of yourself, but a success of every exhibition you’re involved with!
How to Get into Exhibition Management
It’s possible to get into exhibition management from a range of other careers – particularly those sectors which demand attention to detail, great people skills and the ability to organise and meet deadlines, such as PR, HR, sales, marketing, and hospitality.
If you’re currently in a role which demands great organisational skills, such as being a PA, working in catering or as a travel or media assistant, you could also find yourself with a skillset – and mindset – which transfers well to exhibition management.
If you already have a degree in a related (or even completely different area) then our Postgraduate courses support a transition into exhibition management in two ways:
- Through developing your existing skills in an event-based context, through experiential learning and volunteering.
- With a three-month work placement as part of the course, to allow you to develop professional practice, a professional network (essential) and a portfolio of experience in exhibition event management.
If you’ve recently left school or college, or just want to move forward from where you are now, then there are also courses for you which include options for online and live modules, for maximum flexibility:
- Foundation – an intensive, level 3 qualification to introduce you to the events industry.
- Diploma – a level 4 certified qualification covering everything you need to know about the fundamentals of event management – and then some!
- Degree-alternative – progressing from level 3 to level 7, this combination of our Foundation, Diploma and Postgraduate courses is around a third of the cost and time of a traditional degree course and offers live event management, work placement and individual mentoring.
Volunteering is also a great way to gain experience, put what you’re learning into practice, build a network of contacts and to help put yourself ‘out there’ where the opportunities are. As such, all our courses give you access to a wealth of volunteering roles at exhibitions as well as other types of events, so that you can start to develop the skills you need right from the start.
Like many event roles, getting a position as an exhibition manager, exhibition director or exhibition assistant can be very competitive. However, as exhbition management is also very marketing-oriented, because our courses are all Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) accredited and are well-respected in the events industry, successful study with us can greatly improve your professional practice – and prospects!
Exhibition Management Career Opportunities - from Exciting Roles to Big-Name Brands and Companies
So where could you end up? The truth is, anywhere across many of the major cities and cultural hubs across the globe. Many exhibition roles are venue-based and most many major cities boast dedicated exhibition centres, or museums, arts and education venues who might employ exhibition managers, directors or assistants.
It’s also possible to work in exhibition events through agencies, including one of our industry partners Clarion, specialist international events company which specialises in exhibitions and conferences.
Because exhibitions usually have a very specific “showcase” focus, many corporations also employ event managers who have exhibition expertise as part of their marketing teams, to support marketing aims through exhibiting new products, research developments, and marketing or investment proposals.
Working in exhibition events really does present opportunities for working with high profile companies and household names, as most companies and brands use exhibitions for promotion, education and communicating ideas and awareness about their company or brand.
This was certainly the experience of alumni Elly Thomas, whose work placement as part of her Postgraduate course with Event Academy resulted in the opportunity to work on an international exhibition event with the World Photography Organisation (WPO), including working with big brand Sony. What’s more, from the success of her extended work placement, Elly has progressed to a full-time staff role with the WPO, something which fits right into her passion for events and flair for photography!
Read more about Elly’s big brand experience in delivering large-scale exhibitions as part of her work placement and as her route into an events career.
Exhibition Management - Our Expert Lecturers
Our lecturers also offer their own areas of expertise – so if you’re looking to become an exhibition planner, you’ll be learning from those who are centre stage in delivering successful events, including exhibitions:
- Clare Thomas – Marketing Lecturer Clare has a diverse expertise which includes running experiential events, marketing, and training. With experience in working on national and international projects, Clare’s the ideal person for injecting enthusiasm and know-how into the fundamentals of event management and in bringing exhibitions to life as experiences.
- Simon Kimble – Clarion??
Because our lecturers don’t just stand up and tell you all about it: they also involve you, with on-site visits to in-progress events they’re working on, something which has a real impact both on your learning and your professional experiences, as alumni Hayley found on her Postgraduate course:
“It’s brilliant to see how the lecturers actually work when they are on site.”
Our courses readily include this level of immersion with the work of professional event managers, because our aim is simple: this experiential basis for all of our learning content should really enhance your own knowledge, practice, network, opportunities, and prospects when it comes to professional exhibition management roles.