Hospitality students specialize in event management in postgraduate program

By: Natalie Carrigan

Your school’s open house, that program information session you attended, and upcoming job fairs all have something in common. They’re not just career advancement platforms, but all are events that take a lot of planning and careful execution.A smooth program delivery requires event management, where visitors can enjoy a timely event, full of anticipation for the knowledge, products, or services displayed from each activity.

A career in event management is full of hard work but high rewards, and time management and organization skills are being sought out from professionals. The areas of employment mainly revolve in the Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation sector, but opportunities exist in the areas of sports, not-for-profit, education, and several others. Many companies train their staff, and a degree is not necessary for this role. However, many employers prefer workers with experience in this area or having graduated from an event management college.

To satisfy the need for a specialization, Centennial College created the Event Management – Festival and Conference (1831) program.This one-year graduate certificate program invites college and university graduates in hospitality and tourism to focus on the area of event planning. Students can expect to learn the following commonly found responsibilities of an events professional:

Site Logistics and Operations Management: Students will learn how to create a floor plan of events, including the acquisition of the venue, props and design for the venue, food and beverage requirement, and other operational needs.
Volunteer & Team Building Coordination: Managing an event requires different functional teams, including volunteers, so event organizers need to be aware of the tasks that each member undertakes and plan their roles accordingly.
Communications and Media Planning: Events are a promotional platform for many brands and organizations, and events themselves need promotion so the target audience can be expected to attend. Additionally, there are many deliverables to be coordinated with various suppliers and vendors.
Sponsorship development: A big area in event management involves sponsored events, so students must learn the sponsorship process and how sponsored events are handled.
Event budgeting: Event planners are expected to follow strict budgets while producing exciting events. Students will learn how strategies to use budgets efficiently.

“The academic side of (the Event Management – Festival and Conference program) is very traditional. The practical application is a little different. It’s very unique. We’re probably the largest conference facility in the province of this type. Just finished great renovations. Now we’re in a full-service conference facility. We have started to branch out and do a lot more off-site events and get more actively involved in the community,” says Bob Dallas , Faculty member and Program Coordinator.

Dallas is also part of the program committee at the Culture & Heritage Institute, which launches workshops, conferences, festivals, and other educational events to Centennial students, professionals, and the general public. This provides enhanced learning opportunities for students and a networking opportunity with their peers and industry professionals. Past events included the Greening Tourism Conference, where students learn the current trends in sustainable growth in the tourism industry. Event Management students can use the knowledge from this event to pursue materials and suppliers that are environment-friendly.Event Management students learn plenty from their classes and Centennial-hosted events, but most of all, the practical experience provided by the college through its hospitality services.

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Jason White described the event management college event planning profession as career that requires college education, in which he outlines the required knowledge of professionals as stated in the courses in the Event Management – Festival and Conference program.

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