New research project to create outdoor events industry career guide

May 30, 2023

Academics at Leeds Beckett University are developing a set of new career guides for people looking to enter – and progress careers in – the outdoor events industry.

The outdoor events industry covers a wide range of events including music festivals, agricultural fairs, recreation and leisure events, and some corporate events. The range of jobs within the sector is diverse and includes events manager, events assistant, production roles, security, health and safety, and marketing.

Professor Kate Dashper, in the School of Events, Tourism and Hospitality Management at Leeds Beckett, is leading the research project, which has been funded by the Events Industry Forum. She said: “The outdoor events industry consists of a diverse set of occupations, roles, positions and career paths, with variable working patterns, contracts and relationships. This can make it difficult to understand what a career trajectory looks like.”

This can cause problems with recruitment – as it is not clear to potential applicants what kind of career they could develop in the industry. It can also make retaining staff challenging – as it can be hard for current staff to identify ways in which their career can develop and progress.  

Professor Dashper said: “Over the next 14 months, our research will address these gaps in understanding. This will provide the evidence we need to develop two resources: one to guide potential and current outdoor events professionals to see the sector as providing a long-term option for a successful and satisfying career; and one to assist events organisations in recruiting, supporting, developing and retaining staff.”

The academic team will focus on: how a career in the outdoor events industry can progress; defining the likely stages in career development; ways in which individuals can enhance their career prospects; and what can organisations can do to support, attract and retain talented individuals.

The two guides produced will be freely available to the outdoor events industry:

  • An Outdoor Events Industry Career Guide – This guide will identify career trajectories for different roles in the industry, including career case studies, recommended training and qualifications, and options for planning and developing a satisfying career. This will be aimed at potential applicants – students, young people, professionals in other fields looking for a change of career – and current outdoor events professionals, to assist with career planning.
  • Supporting Career Development in the Outdoor Events Industry – This guide will be aimed at employers, to identify what organisations can do to attract, support, develop and retain staff to remain within the outdoor events industry.

Misan Jekhine, a PhD student in Events Management at Leeds Beckett University, researcher on the project, and graduate of the MSc International Events Management course, said: “The research will help current and potential students better plan and manage their careers, give them a better understanding of the careers in the sector, and showcase the unique peculiarities of an outdoor events career.”

Professor Dashper added: “The project will benefit the outdoor events industry in relation to both recruitment and retention. As many organisations in the outdoor events industry do not have trained Human Resources professionals, these industry-focused, evidence-based resources will provide essential guidance and input to assist in all stages of employee management, helping organisations attract and hold on to the best staff.”

Leeds Beckett University students take part in a variety of placement and volunteer roles in the outdoor events industry as part of their studies. Dhruv Dev, MSc Events Management Student and elected Students’ Union President at Leeds Beckett University, took part as a volunteer in The Awakening – the opening event for LEEDS 2023. He found this a valuable experience for learning new management skills. You can read more about his experience on the Leeds Beckett blog.

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