26 . www.conference-news.co.uk . April 2012ACADEMIC VENUESare looking carefully at where future demand may come from."When senior management reviewed its portfolio of courses a couple of years ago, the consensus was that a range of courses including most of the marcomms and events subjects did not fi t the new design-based vision for the college, which led to their being closed," Polly Larner, Course Director at London College of Communication UAL told CN. "But with the Olympics in London, and changing trends around the world, a new range of events courses are being considered for CPD and as pathways to other UG and PG degrees which will keep this subject live at LCC and aid the ongoing professionalisation of the discipline."Many of the universities have developed strong links with industry. John Brackstone from Bournemouth University spoke at the Event Production Show about Bournemouth University's relationship with Millbrook Events. Students are invited for placements with the Bedfordshire Centre and go through a comprehensive assessment process to secure one of the coveted internships, which delivers both real salary and responsibility. Head of Events, Kevin Leaver, is adamant that this approach works, and points to two of his event managers having been through the process. "The blend of academic knowledge and commercial experience is priceless," he adds. But 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. Can universities provide the answer? "Yes", says Conor Moss, Head of Learning at University of Derby Corporate, which recently launched the Centre for Events Professional Development (CEPD). Derby's track record is impressive; it created the Diploma in Event Safety Management, delivered with Capita Symonds, as well as qualifi cations in temporary structures with The Star Group, and the new 'Event Control' qualifi cation with MRL. CEPD is already delivering management programmes to clients such as Showsec and Southwater Event Group. Seizing the opportunity is also about being nimble in responding to commercial demands. David Preston, Director of the Event Network and a part-time lecturer on a number of events programmes, spoke at the Hybrid events conference that sat The Dome at Derby Universityalongside this year's Confex. Seeing 80 paying delegates in the audience convinced him of the need to create a professional qualifi cation. "Most event managers learn about virtual and hybrid technology from suppliers, which is simply not a healthy solution. You can expect to see some accredited qualifi cations in this area coming along some time soon," he says.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. There's also a process called APL - the Accreditation of Prior Learning - that allows students exemption from studying if they can prove they already have the necessary qualifi cations and experience.
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