Solid Event Management Skills are a must for any PA

Claire Derrick, Director of Education at Ashdown Academy

Most office workers today probably have more to do than they ever have before. As efficiencies are made, people have to pick up things they may have only touched on before. We all feel busy and burdened with work we may not have started out with.

This is especially true as budgets are still so tight. Even larger organisations are more often than not seeking to use in-house skills to organise activities like events and conferences, rather than using external suppliers. No matter that the AGM or annual conference still needs to have the WOW factor, be perfect or better than ever before. This time it lands at the door of the internal team.


And by internal team, quite often this means the CEOs PA! Now, there’s no doubting that any good PA is already a bit of a master at events. They are natural organisers, and adept at behind the scenes efficiency. Seemingly making the impossible happen is what being a PA is all about.

But large-scale events may be a little different. Chances are that experienced PAs will get through organising an overseas conference or company-wide away day. But there is an opportunity here to not only impress your senior colleagues, but also add something to your own career. Rather than see events as just an added part of your role, there is the chance to develop some real expertise in this area that will stand you in good stead elsewhere.

Why expand in this direction? Simply, it offers some excellent opportunities, entry into an exciting industry and builds on the skills every PA and EA already has. This year has already seen some world-class events happen here in the UK, from the Royal Wedding through to the Paralympics closing ceremony. Learning what goes into large-scale events like this can help improve the ones undertaken in-house. Rather than just ‘getting through’ a large event, with a bit of training PAs and EAs can help their business lead the way.

So where to look? Many courses don’t have to mean time out of the office – they can be undertaken in evening classes once or twice a week. But there are some things that every PA should consider before signing on the dotted line. Firstly, does the course have any accreditation, which undoubtedly adds value to a CV and better recognition. Secondly, ensure any course has ‘live’ and real-life opportunities to practice events organising skills. The whole point is not to just understand how events are run within your business, it’s about improving on this by experiencing how things are run elsewhere, in different situations. This may mean a brief placement with an established events consultancy to get some hands-on experience, but the opportunities to learn are everywhere. From a friend’s wedding to a local charity event, get stuck in and use every opportunity to build your experience.

The final point is something every good PA has anyway; their little black book of contacts. Add an events element to this. Not just the ones on the company supplier list; add you own venue contacts, entertainment artists or expert design and printers. You can build a list of everything you need to run a different event with real purpose and impact.

And who knows. If all goes well, you may find you become the go-to person for tackling events in the business, and take your career in a whole new direction. As budgets slowly return, organisations will once again be looking for more dedicated and named events organisers. That could be you.

For further details about the the courses that EventCourse offer, please click here or call 020 7183 5129

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