Practical Skills Workshops Wrap Up For This Academic Year

Author / Mark Breen
03 Mar ‘17
We began offering these Practical Skills Workshops in late 2015. Two of our Team go out to the colleges each time to introduce the students to a wide range of things that are key to the running of events, but that they get little or no exposure to during their lectures.

The beginning

We spend a lot of time working with students and guest-lecturing in colleges etc. A lot of our Event Team members are in college and we regularly hear about how the college course offer little by way of practical instruction to the students. Colleges rely on students to source this for themselves.

Even in colleges where they recognise this as an issue, the fact that the wheels in higher education turn slowly means change is a long way away. 

We came up with the idea of the Practical Skills Workshops and reached out offering to deliver them. We were welcomed with open arms. We had relationships in some of the colleges already from our SideStage conference that we ran and guest-lecturing etc. so we knew who to approach.

The format

We generally deliver a 2 hour or so classroom session in the morning covering either general event industry topics and advice on getting work etc. or something more specific on Crowd Safety or Health & Safety etc. Some of the colleges request specific content. 

The afternoon then is spent getting to grips with a wide range of things, including:

  • Event electrics & recognising what should be used indoors V outdoors
  • The different types of barriers and when they should be used
  • Radio use
  • Erecting and dropping gazebos / popups
  • Understanding crowds
  • Event kit and what is key

We cover loads more too. 

The KEY component of what we deliver is that we physically bring all the gear and the students get to use them and get comfortable using them. 

The practicalities

We offered them for free from the outset and I think that helped people realise we were doing this for the right reasons.

At this stage, some colleges do pay towards our expenses as they see the value in what we deliver. Doing them still costs us money but we knew they likely always would. We're not doing them to make money.

It's 2 staff members away for a minimum of 1 day, sometimes more. It's van hire, which can run to 4 days of hire if we're delivering on a Monday morning as well as fuel and tolls. It can be hotel costs too. It all adds up. 

The support

One thing that DOESN'T cost us money is the gear that we bring. 

We own a lot of it ourselves but we get great support from Actavo Events. They supply us with barriers, cable ramps etc. each time we deliver these sessions. They've been great from the beginning and won't let us pay to hire the gear either. They like what we're doing and see the value in it.

It's not that we're a huge client for them either and are worth millions. We do work with them, alright, but we work with plenty of other infrastructure suppliers too. 

They're just good people and were keen to help out. 

The bottom line

The latest run of Workshops finished with Athlone IT this week. 

We'll likely do more this year but they'll be in Oct / Nov / Dec in the next Academic Year. 

Event season is already nearly upon us so we've little scope to do any more until the far side of the Summer. 

If you're interested in these Practical Skills Workshops or something similar, do get in touch.

We don't ONLY deliver them for colleges and have done so for volunteer organisations, brands and more. 

The thank yous

Thank you to all the lecturers and contacts in the colleges that facilitate us delivering these. It's great that key people see the need for students to get hands-on, practical exposure to these things.

Thank you to Mairtin, Nog, Ciara and all the gang in Actavo. Genuinely. You make doing these much easier with your support. We appreciate it and we know the students do too.

Thank you to our own Team members that offer to do these ones. Eoin, in particular, is always happy go and give people the benefit of his experience and we appreciate it. 

The pictures