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Conferences and events: area of work

Planning and organisational skills are vital for graduate career success in this area.

The success of an event or conference is largely down to proper planning. You could be organising a quarterly meeting of board members or a national event like Royal Ascot: no matter how big or small the event, the pressure is on to get everything right. There is a wide variety of work; if you were responsible for delegate administration you might invite participants, follow up their registration, book their accommodation and send them a post-conference report. In event and venue logistics, you might secure venues, work out critical time plans and budgets, or organise conference materials. You could also be responsible for finding the right staff for the event – from the catering services to the welcoming team.

Working environment

This industry offers an exciting, fast-paced working life. Within this area of work, you can choose between a large number of jobs. Your employer could be a company or venue with its own event management team or a specialised agency, or you could even be self-employed. The work can be extremely varied, particularly at large conference centres, as one day you could be setting up a concert and the next coordinating a trade show. There are also opportunities for travel, although you may be expected to work outside of the nine-to-five working day as many events take place on evenings and weekends.

Getting in and getting on

You’ll need excellent communication skills to work effectively with a range of people. Energy and enthusiasm will help you to sell your events services to clients or to motivate staff. Being able to work well under pressure is also essential, and good organisational skills will help you to work to strict time constraints and tight budgets. Commercial awareness and technical knowledge are key to making events successful.

Employers look for strong transferable skills and relevant experience but qualifications can also be beneficial, including degrees in management, marketing or event management.