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THE CONSULTANTMarch 2012 . www.conference-news.co.uk . 61 We've now had just over a decade of young people studying and graduating with events qualifi cations of various shapes and sizes from universities across the UK. While many old hands argued about whether such skills could be taught, the result is that the status of events has risen inexorably, and our industry is awash with bright young things.For anyone over 30, what opportunity is there for professional development and recognition within the events sector? There are a variety of courses available, but no real structure of progression. Some trade associations - MPI and IAPCO are the best examples - have embraced the idea of systematic development and recognition of both learning and experience, but for the main part the lack of industry co-operation from the dozens of trade associations means there is no obvious route to a structured CPD (continuing professional development) model.There is, however, a new opportunity to fi ll the gap. Launched at The Event Production Show this year, is the new Centre for Events Professional Development (CEPD) created by the Corporate arm of the University of Derby. Now, let me declare an interest; guess who has been appointed Development Consultant for the new body? Answers on a postcard. But don't let that put you off. Derby's record is impressive: it created the Diploma in Event Safety Management and developed a host of other qualifi cations for the sector, with others in the pipeline.And, if you're one of those people who either graduated before the onset of these degrees, or just never went to university, then pay attention. Accredited learning has changed; much of it takes place online, and is delivered in modules that allow you to build up large qualifi cations through an accumulation of smaller ones. And while I don't want to bore you with jargon, there's also a process called APL - the Accreditation of Prior Learning - which allows you exemption from studying if you can prove that you already have the necessary qualifi cations and experience.The latest trend is for what's called Work-Based Learning; using what you do in a day-to-day role, refl ecting and learning on it, and building a portfolio that meets Progressive educationIf you think education is expensive, try ignoranceRichard John goes back to school this month and speaks in educational tongues on CPD, APL and CEPDRichard John is an events industry trainer and consultant. He can be contacted through the Editor.the rigours of academia while delivering genuine corporate benefi ts.Don't get the idea that this is an 'easy' option; books still have to be read and assignments completed. It's just the learning and assessment processes have been made more customer-centric.The CEPD is launching with a host of programmes in safety management, control room operations, acoustics and AV technology, as well as management, business and marketing. Perhaps of most relevance is that many of the courses that are appearing are designed in conjunction with other associations and providers, to ensure the all-important 'real world' aspects of the topic are delivered.So, if you really do want to be considered as an 'event professional', check out the website (www.derby.ac.uk/cepd). And don't forget the old adage: "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance".Richard John

EDUCATION62 . www.conference-news.co.uk . March 2012AMugarucsht While parking your car, you accidentally back into another parked car, causing some damage. Do you think it's OK just to drive off without reporting the accident? That's one of the questions from a new Integrity Test, published by the University of Essex's Centre for the Study of Integrity. I've adapted it here for the conference industry, and for conference organisers in particular. So have a go. Count up your scores (in brackets) and then read what I think your score means about you. Just consider the following actions and indicate if you think they are justifi ed or not:A. Accepting a place on a FAM trip, even though you know that you will never organise a meeting there.Never justifi ed (1); Rarely justifi ed (2); Sometimes justifi ed (3); Always justifi ed(4)The conference industry is based on trust, people who are who they say they are, and do what they say they will doHow honest are you?Rob DavidsonRob Davidson is a Senior Lecturer in Events Management at the University of Greenwich.Rob Davidson puts the conference industry's integrity to the testB. Omitting to point out to a venue that they have forgotten to charge you for an item such as bottled water.Never justifi ed (1); Rarely justifi ed (2); Sometimes justifi ed (3); Always justifi ed(4)C. Pretending that another meeting planner's ideas and costings for an event are actually your own.Never justifi ed (1); Rarely justifi ed (2); Sometimes justifi ed (3); Always justifi ed(4)D. Choosing a venue on the basis that it is paying you a higher commission than another venue that you know is more suitable for the event.Never justifi ed (1); Rarely justifi ed (2); Sometimes justifi ed (3); Always justifi ed(4)E. Claiming on a job application form that you have experience or credentials that you do not.Never justifi ed (1); Rarely justifi ed (2); Sometimes justifi ed (3); Always justifi ed(4)F. Employing casual staff and paying them less than the minimum wage. Never justifi ed (1); Rarely justifi ed (2); Sometimes justifi ed (3); Always justifi ed(4)G. Choosing an exotic destination for a conference because you personally want to visit that place, even though you know that other destinations would be more suitable.Never justifi ed (1); Rarely justifi ed (2); Sometimes justifi ed (3); Always justifi ed(4)H. Keeping a gift (say an i-Pad) given to you by a grateful venue, rather than passing it on to your employer/client.Never justifi ed (1); Rarely justifi ed (2); Sometimes justifi ed (3); Always justifi ed(4) The conference industry is based on trust, people who are who they say they are, and do what they say they will do. And if your actions don't feel right, they probably aren't.How was it for you? What did you score?8 - 12: Prepare for canonisation. You are a future patron saint of meeting planners everywhere.13 - 18: You're basically a good egg - but you can crack .19- 24: If you were working for me, I'd keep a watchful eye on you - and my personal belongings!25 - 29: Did your mother never tell you: 'Every time you tell a lie, a little fairy has to die'? The bottom of your garden must be strewn with tiny corpses.30 - 32: Who do you plan meetings for? The Mafi a? The Khmer Rouge? A Colombian drug cartel?