This great industry of ours has come an awful long way in recent years and I firmly believe that that has come from a better understanding of risks and how we can mitigate them whilst still having fun and taking responsibility for our actions. Change has also come about because we are a much more self regulated and process driven industry than we were a decade or so ago.
The investment in the next generation has played a huge part in that change process. We see rewards of that in the increased professionalism of today’s event resource and excellent working practices now adopted as matter of course.
The right education is undoubtedly the key to unlocking a passionate workforce who can hit the ground running and rightly continue to keep the UK as the bench mark in event production other countries aspire to.
The “right education” is not dictated by an certification, it’s defined by those who are teaching and the knowledge they pass on. A good course should have current professionals teaching the students using case studies and engaging workshops that replicate the real world of events.
I believe that we do need a legitimate certification or quality mark that indicates the course is teaching relevant material with the mission of turning out excellent students that are embraced by the industry that has to employ them.
My fear is that any ruling body will mistake academia to be the starting point for what is undoubtedly a vocational subject. Independent course providers who have created their curriculum from decades of experience and then invested in employing decades more experience to teach, will suffer if new certification criteria makes it impossible for them to compete with University based courses, some of which employ very little actual event experience.
I have the pleasure of working with Senior Producers who graduated from Leeds and Senior Producers that have simply worked their way up from stewarding at festivals. Honestly, there is absolutely no difference in their ability and very little in their methods.
If I were in a position to standardise the certification of our industry, I would simply provide the examinations and marking, behaving as more of a guardian and examination board that sets the standard. Every teaching body would then have to teach to that exacting standard to prepare their students for the nationwide examination(s).
The questions could be generated by the industry and based on the kind of information one would expect a student to know or understand to qualify for an industry qualification.
By creating a series of (industry generated and approved) examinations we wouldn’t be dictating how we educate the next generation, we would however, have control over the level of knowledge and skill we would expect a student to have learnt.