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The benefits of a practical course

Hi, Abi here, second year Events Management student at Leeds Beckett! I wanted to talk to you about the benefits of being on a practical course that isn’t exam based and how this has helped me develop skills and prepare me for life after university. Events Management is a course that can take you in all directions, so you really can go into any sector of the events industry and any role from rigging stages to client liaison.

Events space

Assessment types

Although I study Events Management, it's worth saying that there are many courses at Leeds Beckett that follow the same teaching style, this is just my personal experience. 

So what do I mean by ‘exam based’? All uni courses are assessed and some courses need more exam-based assessments due to the nature of the degree. However, at Beckett, many courses are more practical and that is one of the biggest selling points for me.

My course has different assessment types – so far we've done; a vlog, a report on an organisation with suggestions of how it should improve, a multiple choice open book exam online, an event manual, a safety and operations manual, a couple of real live events, a couple of essays, some group presentations, group pitches to real life business clients and plenty more ways of practical learning that aren’t assessed. 

Life Skills

Time management is an important skill that I have gained with various assessment and learning styles as they all needed different amounts of time and levels of concentration. I learnt how to prioritise which assessments needed more solid concentration and what I could do in more of a social environment sat in the café for example.

Having these different styles of study really helps you figure out how you best learn and work; do you like being under pressure or with a big plan in place? Do you learn best through practical approaches or are you better at getting that essay done in solitary confinement with no noise or distractions (that’s me...). Or maybe you are more creative sat outside with friends? It’s worth taking some time to try different styles of learning and revising as it will help further down the line when you need to do that kind of task again. Whether in uni or a job all skills are transferable.

Budgeting is another skill I have gained. Admittedly, you aren’t going to learn this skill from an essay, but from things like the event manuals where you record literally everything to do with the event – from target audience to finance and the order that you tidy up the event, you start to learn basic excel skills from filling out a budgeting sheet and this can mean you can recreate one for your life, maybe monthly or fortnightly so you can start to budget your lifestyle too. It all helps, especially for being a student where money can get tight at times.


What about skills for employment after uni?

Employment after uni may be a daunting thought, and that’s totally fine! I didn’t know where I wanted to go for a long time and you may or may not know what sector, city or job title you want so don’t panic about life after uni just yet. Lots of help is available from our lecturers, placement teams, employability and careers! I have also really felt as though my course has helped me build confidence for some elements of life after uni.

Speaking on camera

We did a vlog for a creative marketing module which to start with...I hated! But after persevering with writing, recording and rewriting my script (because we all hate our voices on camera!) I started to really enjoy it. 

During the pandemic I had lost my job so I started looking for work I could do remotely and all of the interviews were online. Most started with a few questions you had to answer in a recording before going through to the second stage of the interview but because I had already done a vlog on my course, I really didn’t struggle with confidence on these. 


Learning to manage and work with different types of people

With my course leading to an industry where you would be working in teams 90% of the time, group work is really important. A lot of the groups are selected for us on our course, so you work with different people all the time. This develops a really strong skill of being able to network and talk to different types of people which is useful and makes you stand out in any part of life not just employment. I really took the time to learn how different people function best, learnt to play to their strengths, find what they are enthusiastic about and use that as an advantage. You will always work with many different personality types, no matter what job you are in so this is a really good skill to be able to practice.

Overall, I think uni naturally gives you new skills as you have much more independence. For many people it’s living away from home for the first time and starting the next and possibly the biggest chapter of your life. But being on a non-exam-based course has really prepared me for some of the skills that are needed for later in life and has given me a solid foundation to build on.

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