#AdoptAStudent – Industry experts provide support through online programs

Corinne Maxfield Program Leader Tourism & Events at William Angliss Institute "Remote learning hasn’t slowed down our events students and teachers - the reality is quite the opposite."

Innovative thinking and adaptive learning have been essential skills for all of us in the time of COVID-19. None more so, than for event management teachers and students. The Vocational Education Training (VET) events teaching department at William Angliss Institute have innovated by adapting the Diploma of Event Management program to provide industry engagement despite the COVID-19 restrictions. Program Leader Tourism and Events Corinne Maxfield talks with EventOrganisers.

“For example an industry placement program partner was turned into a mentoring partner for the students across two subjects,” she says.

The Angliss Practical Placement Program is an industry-based learning experience for students designed to give them opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience working with highly regarded industry partners. It enhances classroom-based learning and creates events ‘industry ready’ graduates.

“Our students would have spent one or two days per week for eight or 15 weeks respectively working on a project-based activity within an events business. This new mentoring program still gives the students the opportunity to meet with industry specialists and learn from them albeit virtually at the moment,” explains Ms Maxfield.

“The normal events we do with organisations and charities through the year have been cancelled and we have asked the students to devise online student events including trivia and dance classes, and a virtual guest speaker series.”

“The organisation skills involved in a virtual event are transferable to in-person events – plus industry experts have indicated that online events, and hybrid events, will continue to be a big part of the industry moving forward.”

“Remote learning hasn’t slowed down our events students and teachers – the reality is quite the opposite as we continue to strive to give our students the best experiences possible,” says Ms Maxfield.

“We are thrilled with the idea from Peter Jones for the event industry to #AdoptAStudent and provide event experience opportunities for the next generation which is vital,” she said.

Over the last semester, students were not able to organise any on-campus events which is normally part of the course and assessment. Instead, Angliss events teachers Jacinta Francis, Sandra Grima, Silvana Madia, Julie Rayner and Garth Lategan joined forces to bring to life event management essentials including project management, leadership, sponsorship and legal skills with a stellar guest speaker series line-up, and alternative online event scenarios.

Notable industry experts including Peter Jones OAM, Lucy Morris from Secret Sounds, Elias Grayden from Showtime Event Group, Aryanna McLure from Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Adam McKenzie from Timberyard, Liliana Sanelli from Perfect Events and many more, spoke to events students about how they can thrive in the industry despite a tumultuous year.  Angliss graduates such as Casey Bonacci, Director of Casey Bonacci Events, also engaged and inspired the students.

Peter Jones – Peter Jones Special Events

With over 30 years of experience, Peter Jones explained that ‘unexpected moments with a lasting impact’ are the key to a successful and memorable event. During his presentation, Peter highlighted case studies of how Peter Jones Special Events won event pitches by placing creative and strategic perspectives first.

Peter concluded his talk by sharing what he thinks the industry needs most right now – the ability to lead, the passion to be the source of new ideas and experiences, and a new generation that has a vision and the thirst to innovate.

“This is your chance to be a part of it. It’s a challenging time, but an exciting time too. When the industry bounces back, it’ll be bigger than ever,” Peter said.

Casey Bonacci – Casey Bonacci Events

Casey Bonacci is a proud Angliss alumni with over 10 years of event management experience. Before starting her own business, Casey’s resume was filled to the brim with positions at The State Library, Federation Square, LaTrobe City Council and more. With a lot of her events being held online or postponed to a later date, Casey understands how unsure many students may feel, but she encouraged them not to be afraid as she believes the industry will be back on its feet soon.

“Take any and all opportunities that come your way and never stop ‘flearning’ (failing and learning)!

“Although you might not be able to volunteer at live events now, see what other opportunities are available. Can you assist with an online event? Maybe event marketing or audiovisual? Get creative and think outside the box,” Casey said.

And as many are still working from home, Casey thinks it’s a great time to practice your communication skills. With limited face-to-face time, it is an art to communicate your ideas clearly and get the job done.

“Be open and transparent with your employer, team, staff, suppliers, and clients with what you are trying to achieve and why. They say communication is key but it’s only effective if you can clearly and concisely say what it is you’re wanting to achieve,” said Casey.

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