'Students from Leeds Beckett are some of our best interns!'
We interviewed Mieke van Loenen, Director Events at ICCA to find out why they work closely with our School.
Why does ICCA work closely with the School of Events, Tourism and Hospitality Management?
ICCA works with universities such as Leeds Beckett for two main reasons: Firstly, they are ICCA members and we want to help them make the most of the benefits that ICCA membership offers educational institutions, such as access to an international network that can assist with research projects or funding support. Secondly, we want to connect with potential employees in the meeting industry at an early stage and support the careers of future meetings professionals!
In fact, this second reason is a large part of what we do with universities. The meetings industry is continuously growing and can be a lucrative career choice for many graduates, especially as the business events sector is always searching for qualified, passionate personnel. We want to play a part in nurturing the next generation of young event professionals and help instil a love of events, especially association meetings.
Often the association business is forgotten or not emphasised enough in Events Management education; ICCA is a strong advocate of the power of and opportunities available through association meetings and by working with universities, we want to make sure students become aware of this as part of their university education.
We’d also like to encourage students to make use of ICCA’s network at an early stage in their careers. We offer a lot of practical opportunities for students, such as our internships and Scholarship Students programme, with plans to create more chances for future event professionals to get their foot in the door in the coming years. This is a major aim of James Rees, our recently-elected president.
What are the greatest strengths shown by our students when they intern with ICCA?
Students from Leeds Beckett are among some of our best interns! They are very eager to learn and understand and appreciate the opportunity given to them by interning at ICCA, a leading global association with worldwide connections to potential employers. They also learn quickly and can deal with our members, who are an international group and feature professionals from all levels of seniority, in a professional manner.
Due to this, they profit fully from working in a busy Events department and play an integral role in planning and executing an event that attracts over 1,000 people, including working with our team onsite at venues across the world.
What would you say to someone looking to get in to the industry?
Go through ICCA! But also, make connections when and wherever you can and take advantage of new opportunities. There are plenty of them if you go searching, like our Student Scholarships for our annual Congress! The IMEX Future Leaders Forum is also great way to get some extra education and access networking as a student. If you work with real-world event professionals, your knowledge increases dramatically in a very short space of time.
We cannot stress enough: explore the options available to you in Events and think beyond just tourism! Business events and MICE in general have so many paths open to you to tread and can offer you a lucrative and meaningful career.
Questions answered by Mieke van Loenen, Director Events