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24 . www.conference-news.co.uk . April 2012ACADEMIC VENUESs well as providing a host of meeting options for conference organisers for just over a decade, UK universities have been providing a variety of events qualifi cations, allowing thousands of young people to enter the profession with an events degree or even a Masters. While many old hands argued about whether such skills could be taught, the result is that the status of events has risen inexorably, and the industry is awash with bright young things.The sector even has its own body, the Association for Events Management Education, created by Glenn Bowdin, Subject Group Leader, at Leeds Metropolitan University. AEME's objective is to "support and raise the profi le of the events management discipline through the sharing of education and best practice". Founder members include universities, colleges and institutes across the UK.The creation of such degrees was not without controversy; the fi rst universities were, in effect, simply adding on the occasional event management module to marketing, tourism or hospitality programmes. After a decade, however, the approach is very different, and courses undergo frequent revision and development."As a direct result of our consultation with industry experts, our BA (Hons) Events Management programme includes a module focussing on entrepreneurship and business development," explains Julian Robinson, Programme Leader at the University of Derby. "This develops students' creative thinking skills and commercial awareness, attributes necessary to be successful in business as well as the competitive job market."However, universities are not immune to the pressures of the commercial world, and some > Back to schoolRichard John reminds us academic venues also teach event management and develop the meeting industry professionals of tomorrowA

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