Learning is continuous whether you're an apprentice or managing director

Self-development should carry on throughout your career in events, says Realise CEO David Preston.

Image credit: iStock
Image credit: iStock

David Preston is CEO of Realise, which places apprentices with employers in the events industry

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In my last article for C&IT, I wrote about mentoring and coaching. Now let’s discuss what I call the ‘leaning continuum’ – a simple concept that all of us should strive to develop for our teams and ourselves, day in, day out. Even ‘silver surfers’ like me are not exempt from the process. So, what do I mean?

If I focus on just our industry of events; how do you get your career started, what is required to ‘get on’ and what happens when you reach the pinnacle of your career and own/run an agency?

Firstly, you can get into the industry the old-fashioned way by ‘I know David, who knows Richard and they can get me an interview etc’. Nothing wrong with this but it doesn’t actually help you build skills and knowledge. 

The second way is to do an internship, often associated with your Event Management degree. Here at least you are gaining skills and knowledge.

Lastly, you can explore the apprenticeship route where you will gain skills, knowledge and behaviours appropriate for a career in the world of events.

This is just the beginning. So how does someone starting out in events continue to develop? Should they have a coach and a mentor? The answer is yes, particularly a mentor in your early stages of your career, evolving into a coach as your experience grows, you understand your own capabilities and you start to forge your own career path.

Coaching alone is not enough and you need to develop your skills and knowledge to ensure you continue to grow – it’s a very competitive world out there. So, doing courses, relevant to your role, networking like crazy and attending industry events are all part of the process. And yes, I know you have a day job but careers are not built in a day.

I have often felt that it is one of the joys of owning your own business that you can employ smart people, often smarter than yourself and learn from them.

It is an exchange, as you have experiences that they have not had yet, so you can share this knowledge with them and they have experiences that you have not had yet.

At some point in your life, you might be considering a new career and a complete change. To facilitate this you will probably have to learn new skills. Just remember it is never too late.

The ‘learning continuum’ is a process of continuous development and we should never be shy about looking for help to achieve that next step.

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