More than 30 event industry professionals gathered yesterday (July 8) to review and debate the next levels of the event management apprenticeship programme. Having successfully established the entry Level 3 with more than 100 apprentices now in employment and training programmes, the meeting was convened by the Event Management Apprenticeship Programme (EMAP) board in order to ensure that the event industry has direct input into the content for the next levels in the programme.

A packed agenda provided those in attendance – employers, associations and training providers – with an update on the work completed and the latest developments being led by EMAP. Sarah Wright, chair of the EMAP board, opened the meeting, kindly hosted by the BMA House Events team, with a summary of the latest developments. These included the establishment of working parties to support specific work streams such as comms and diversity and the pending formal announcement of the first commercial sponsorship deal for EMAP, which will be used to refresh and improve the event management apprenticeship website.

Simon Hughes, vice chair of the EMAP Board, was then joined by Joshua Owolabi, who is about to start his apprenticeship journey at Level 3 as an event management assistant, to discuss his choice of an apprenticeship to kickstart his career in events. Owolabi was with Saskia Summerhill, creative apprenticeship co-ordinator at Big Creative Education. There was a great response to the insights both provided, with Owolabi’s passion for wanting to create more community events to provide safe spaces for young people in his neighbourhood in Hackney being hailed as one of the highlights of the day for many of those present.

There was a short review of Level 3 provided by EMAP board member, Asi Panditharatna and then the introduction of content for Level 4, led by Adam Proto, the EMAP Board member responsible for standard development. Delegates reviewed the proposed framework for both this and discussed how Level 5 and Level 6 might be constructed to provide relevant access points for the range of skills and experience found across the event sector. The workshop session was followed by a short presentation from Radhika Chhatwal, head of operational efficiency at Citywire, on the work in hand around diversity and inclusion – one of the key objectives established by the EMAP board.

Reflecting on the outputs from the meeting, Wright commented: “Getting time and commitment from so many people today is a fantastic result – this programme is designed by the industry for the industry, so the ideas and thoughts we’ve captured are invaluable in that process. We will of course be extending the development of the standards to all those that have expressed interest in the work being undertaken by EMAP but were unable to attend today. All of our EMAP volunteers working on the board and working parties really appreciate the support from the industry but need more support through the employment of apprentices, sponsorship of the programme and joining the vital working parties. The sharing of great ideas and really useful expert insights make the work required to drive the recruitment of apprentices in order to broaden the talent pool really worthwhile.”