With the constant air of economic uncertainty gripping the UK and the wider world, every industry is being forced to tighten its belt, make budgets work harder and protect the business it has. The event, conference and exhibition industries are no different but one worrying development is the reduced investment our industry is channelling into the development and training of new people. Creating new jobs in tough times is a difficult proposition but this doesn’t stop experienced organisers from retiring or moving on. As this happens, it is vital for agencies to be able to bring the best people into our industry.
A lack of apprenticeship schemes and the reduction of training and development programmes will leave businesses unprepared for when the economy recovers and we move into a period of more sustained prosperity. Holding internal experiences for your people and both organising and attending exhibitions and sales events to generate new business is more important than ever during difficult times. This means that undervaluing events professionals and refusing to invest in their development will harm businesses.
Much of this stems from an unusual opinion many businesses hold. When suffering legal troubles businesses approach law firms for expertise, when finances become difficult, the accountancy experts are brought in. In the case of the events industry, many businesses believe they can cut investment in dedicated events professionals and pull in people from other areas to do the job. This leads to badly organised, poor quality experiences for event attendees, as these makeshift teams do not have the knowledge or ability to deliver large-scale events, conferences or exhibitions.
What needs to happen is a more focused approach from internal teams and agencies towards recruiting and developing new talent. Aside from university leavers with event management degrees, the industry needs to create more apprenticeships and more opportunities for school leavers. Training and development on the job must be increased to protect the future quality of the entire industry. The UK events industry has one of the best reputations in the world for quality and expertise. We could see this slip away if we don’t protect our upcoming talent and invest in the creation and development of new professionals to safeguard our future.