UKCEM 25 Years Alumni Stories: Emma Clueit
Events Management Alumna, Emma shares how her well-rounded studies at UKCEM prepared her for an exciting career in live music and sport.
Course Studied: BA (Hons) Events Management
Years of Study: 2008 - 2012
Current Position: Accessibility Manager, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
Since graduating in 2012 Emma has worked in live music and sports events. She has worked for the likes of Live Nation (an international live music and events company), British Athletics, The NEC Group (National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham), Wasps Rugby & Netball and is currently working on the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Do you have any standout memories from your time at the UK Centre for Events Management (UKCEM)?
When I look back on it, the memories that standout the most are the practical projects which we worked on. There were club nights, charity events and fashion shows and it was great to see everyone put their learning into practice and celebrate what other course mates had achieved.
I also really enjoyed our guest lectures. These were done by lecturers and speakers from various sectors who would come in and tell us about their experience within the industry.
What skills did you learn at the UKCEM that have helped you in your career?
I really enjoyed the choice of additional course modules. Learning about things like finance, law and marketing enabled me to get a well-rounded understanding of events which I’ve been able to transfer to the projects I’ve worked on.
What have been the standout moments so far in your career?
Every role has had its moments and these usually happen when the events are nearly over. Everything is running as it should and you get a brief moment to stand back and observe what you have helped to achieve.
Working on festivals run by Live Nation was always really special. Most of the time you were tired, cold and muddy but nothing could beat the headliner slot, looking over a sea of people having the best time. The feeling was similar at the NEC where I would often be listening to the soundchecks of world class acts through the office wall. If you were on a call or trying to concentrate it could be frustrating, but looking back I think ‘how many people get the chance to experience that?’
When working for British Athletics I was fortunate enough to stand trackside to watch Usain Bolt run the 100m – the energy in the stadium was electric. And even though we’ve still got 18 months until the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, helping to deliver an event of that kind and its legacy in my hometown is already very special.
How has your sector adapted in response to the Covid-19 pandemic?
We’re very lucky that Commonwealth Games planning has been able to continue throughout the pandemic. Working remotely has presented some challenges, but the team has pulled together by being flexible and adaptive.
In my role, a key focus has been ensuring that as we’ve moved online, everything we have done is still inclusive and accessible. It’s not always been straightforward but by sharing best practice and adapting to requirements, we’ve be able to develop new ways of working which can still be applied and be of benefit once we return to an office setting. We’ve learnt a lot.
Even though we’ve been lucky, it’s definitely been heart breaking to see the effect the pandemic has had on the live events sector.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to start a career in the events industry?
Make the most of every opportunity. Volunteer, grow your skill base and make contacts. The events industry is a small world so work hard, develop a good reputation and build good relationships.