Last week I was fortunate enough to chat with Rose, a recent Events Diploma graduate, who's furthering her studies with the Advanced Diploma. It was awesome being able to chat with a fellow events student about her studying journey, as well as some of her best experiences, including working at the Syndey Road Festival and the skills she developed along the way. Check it out below!
What sparked your interest in events?
I’ve always been an organised person since I was little, I remember my grandma said to me you would be the best wedding planner! It never really clicked until I was working in retail and I had a spark of inspiration when my friend said I should put those [organisational] skills to the test and do event management. I thought back on what my grandma had said and then looked at courses online and here I am now! It’s the best thing, it’s my calling.
What was the first event you worked on?
My first one was with the Aspire conference with Holmesglen, they had guest speakers that came in and did activities and role-plays. I really enjoyed that, but conferences aren’t really my thing. My first practical role where I had a job to do, was at VSSS held in September last year. I was a stage manager, so my job was to make sure all the kids would go out on time, record their routes, manage timing, but yeah I loved it. This is where I found my calling! It sounds really funny, but I love the stress of it because you have to think outside the box. Aspire was my first taste of events, but the VSSS was like my first real role where I saw what events were all about.
You mentioned how much you loved working on VSSS, is that the kind of role you see for yourself in the future? What kind of events are you interested in?
I really like council/smaller events but also big festival/community events. I love working with families, children, and the community, that’s something I hold dear. I like going to those events personally and really like the whole feel and vibe. As I said, conferences are a bit too formal for me, I’m a very bubbly and outgoing person, so I guess community markets and festivals is where I feel like I can be myself to grow and learn. I’d love to work with my council or even the city council, I think that’d be cool!
What’s been the most memorable event you’ve worked on?
I talk about it all the time, it was a gig that I got through a lady I met at VSSS, her name is Sam. We connected so well and she offered me this gig which was the Sydney Road Festival. She was kind enough to give me the role of Area Site Manager, where I looked after one section of this 1 km road. I worked on this event for literally 24 hours so, we were there at 2am to bump in and worked all the way through till midnight the next day, it was a huge day but honestly, it was so worth it! I learned so much about what my own capabilities were and by the end of it, I was on my game with my managerial cap on. It was one of the best gigs I ever worked on, and I met some amazing people. To this day, I use it as an example of what true event work is like. It’s hard work but it was so rewarding, I loved it so much.
How do you network at an event?
With Sam, I connected with her more in a friendly way and we connected as people. With the volunteering gigs, I introduced myself and was confident enough to go up to the volunteering coordinator and say ‘hey I’d love to work with you again, here’s my number and email, or can I grab your number/email’, so having the confidence to reach out to people and talk to them will get you a long way in the industry.
Whats an event on your bucket list that you want to do?
This is probably a bit out there, but like I said, I love communal events and festivals, so probably Boomtown. I love their creativity and the stories they build! In the future I’d love to work in operations - I think the bump in and bump out procedure would blow my mind. So, definitely Boom Town would be up there. Melbourne Comedy festival would also be a really interesting event and to be able to meet some comedians would be cool too.
Why did you decide to do an advanced diploma?
To be honest, COVID played a huge part. When I finished the diploma, I was like ‘yep let’s go, I’m ready’ but then once COVID happened, I think a part of me was like maybe I’m not ready. Maybe this is a sign to continue studying. So I thought I’d get an extra qualification so when the events industry is ready to bounce back I’ll get right in there. There’s a lot of extra content that you would do in industry that wasn’t in the diploma, so it’s good to have that extra knowledge under my belt and it’ll look good on the resume.
What advice you would give to new students?
Be honest, honesty is the best policy! When it comes to school work, volunteering or paid gigs, be honest with them. If you don’t know what to do, or you’re confused about your role, be honest and put your hand up to ask for help or clarification. Ninety-nine percent of the time someone will help you. Be confident and speak up about how you feel, whether it be school or volunteer related. Our teachers are awesome resources, they’re not just teachers, they worked in the industry, so ask them questions, they will always help you out.
My chat with Rose ended with some encouraging words for present and future students.
‘Don’t be afraid. If you ever need help, ask your teachers and other students, we’ve all been in the same boat...With the event industry, the sky is the limit!’