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Finding work experience outside London

From the archive: April 15, 2016 written for Campaign Magazine

Student Hub agony aunt Caitlin Kobrak is an Events Management grad and experiential marketer at George P Johnson (GPJ). Here, she answers a question about opportunities outside London.

Q: I'm looking at taking events management degree course and would love to get some experience on my CV before applying. However I live in the Midlands, and it seems like there aren't many opportunities to gain experience here. I can't afford to travel to London either. Do you have any suggestions? A: Firstly can I just applaud your choice of degree subject, not only is the events industry a very exciting area to get into, but event courses have only improved over the years. There are some great universities, based all around the UK, that offer fantastic links with event professionals and the industry. I appreciate that sometimes it can seem that industry is firmly based in London, giving the best opportunities to individuals who are based in the South. However that is definitely not true - I say writing this in London - events are everywhere, including the Midlands! You only have to take a quick peak at the NEC event listing to see the number of events gracing Birmingham! And events are not just taking place in major cities, there are a number of festivals, event companies, industry suppliers, agencies, technology companies etc. based all across the UK. It can be daunting trying to find these opportunities so I here are a few options;

  • Start by looking at what opportunities there might be at your school or college. Is there a prom or end of year event that you could help promote or organise?

  • Look at what events your local council are holding. These offer great volunteer opportunities, often take place on the weekends, and are willing to take on people under the age 18.

  • Overall, stewarding is a really great way to gain event experience, get an idea of how events come together, and see how event organisers pull it altogether. Which is why it is also worth looking at festivals that will take place in the summer. It is important to remember that the events industry is much more than just festivals, but when you’re trying to get your first steps into the industry festivals are a great option as they’re often looking for volunteers!

  • Another option you have is contacting local music venues and hotels, and seeing if they would offer some work shadowing. Whilst this is often less hands on it is great opportunity to really see how people work, ask questions & start building connections.

At the end of the day when you’re applying to university (and the same goes for event jobs) they’re not going to care if you got your experience in London or from a small country fete in the middle of nowhere. They want to see individuals who are engaged with the industry, passionate, willing to learn, and happy to really get stuck in & involved! And as you will continue to take on work experience and internships whilst at University this initial experience doesn’t have to be on the scale of the Olympics. Small steps is just fine.

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