Breaking into the London events industry

words Al Woods

Have you ever attended an event and thought you could do better? Spent an evening somewhere and thought of the many ways you would have done it differently? If so, you might be missing your calling as these are common questions event planners find themselves asking all the time.

If you’re looking for your next challenge or have always wondered about the glamorous lifestyle event planners must lead, this page is for you. We are going to walk you through the basic processes of becoming an event planner in London.

A little about event planning

First let’s discuss the reality of event planning. While there may be glamorous elements to the job and a glass of champagne or two, that only comes after weeks or months of hard work. The day-to-day life of an event planner revolves around spreadsheets, risk assessments, discussions with providers or clients, meetings, frantic phone calls and very long hours in the lead up to an event.

That may all sound like hard work, and it is. But there is nothing like the satisfaction of watching an event from the sidelines as attendees enjoy themselves and everything runs like clockwork!

There is a long road to get to that point but it is a road well worth travelling.

Is event planning for you?

Before we talk about how to get into event management, it might be worth seeing if it’s the career for you. You will need:

  1. To be calm under pressure.
  2. Be flexible and accommodating.
  3. Have awesome organisational skills.
  4. Be able to genuinely multitask.
  5. Have excellent personal admin and time management skills.
  6. Be resourceful and imaginative.
  7. Have a level head when everyone around you is losing theirs.

One key still of an event planner that doesn’t get mentioned very often is the realisation that events are not about you. The ability to put your client first and always remember that the event is for them. It should deliver on their needs and provide the goals they want. Get that set in your mind and you will go far!

Becoming an event planner

Do your research

Before jumping into a new career, learn all you can about it. Identify and follow other event planners and industry experts on social media. Read Eventrbrite’s blog and Event Industry News. Get to know the terms commonly used in the industry.

Get some experience

Event planners face the same challenges of other careers. To get a job you need experience but you need a job to get that experience. There are ways around that. Volunteering is one way to gain experience while helping others. It’s also something you can do while gaining certifications to help boost your grades and get a real idea of what our profession is like.

The London Assembly has a useful page on volunteering in London. Search on their website to find the volunteering roles that are events-based.

Keep up to date with London’s event calendar. When you see an event you’re interested in, check out their website to see if there is any information about volunteer roles. Even if they don’t have a volunteer page, it’s worth getting in touch to find out if they have any opportunities.

Training and certification

There are no formal qualifications necessary to become an event planner but gaining a recognised qualification will boost your CV, should provide you with practical experience and networking opportunities.

London hosts a wide range of event management degree courses which you can check out on Whatuni. The most important feature to look for when browsing courses is a work placement. This will give you essential real-world experience. However, you won’t be on the placement until after two years of study which makes it more important to volunteer beforehand to see if the life of an event planner is the one for you.

Event Academy host a range of courses in London from the Business Design Centre in Islington. These courses are specifically designed to take their students into the world of events. A 1-year degree course is available which includes a work placement and networking opportunities, and is certainly worth comparing against a traditional university degree.

Gain more skills and experience

Event management is like any career. Once you have your foot in the door you can work your way up, attend courses and gain qualifications while you work and learn as much as you can about the industry and about you as a person. From there you may identify a specialisation, find you are awesome at a particular type of event, are a wizard with handling talent or for solving seemingly insurmountable problems.

The events industry is huge and diverse and requires every skill and talent there is. If you have the drive and the passion to succeed, there is sure to be a role for you here!

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