Events Management: An Emerging Challenge in Australian Higher Education
This article discusses the emerging need for events management education and training in Australia's growing events industry. Events can vary from conferences and meetings to festivals, exhibitions, trade shows, entertainment attractions, and sporting occurrences. Industry-based research has shown that events management requires particular skills, knowledge, and competencies. The urgency and high impact of many events means that mistakes caused by the lack of appropriate management competencies can be costly, if not disastrous. This article reports on the development of a postgraduate events management certificate course at Victoria University of Technology (VUT). How a survey and an industry focus group were used to identify the key competencies that are being addressed in the course are also discussed. An initial survey of 53 events managers showed that a postgraduate certificate course in events management was the most favored option for the education and training of events managers. The survey also indicated that there were are five perceived requisite knowledge domains for an events manager. These are legal/financial, management, public relations/marketing, economic/analytical, and ethical/contextual. An exciting adjunct to the course has been a government-funded multimedia project. The project entails the development of a state-of-the-art multimedia events management education and training program. The project is being piloted in 1997 as part of the introduction of the accredited course. The program guides users through the problematical path of planning and running a major hypothetical festival. The initial CD-ROM activities involve the establishment of festival objectives, resources, and staffing requirements. In addition, three game-like simulation modules engage users in detailed planning, organization, and running of the festival. Users are also required to deal with randomly generated occurrences. The CD-ROM will also be used as a research tool to explore the decision-making patterns of experienced events managers so that they can be modeled by students. The University is committed to the development of an innovative events management education program and postgraduate course.
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