This week has marked the fifth year of the NEC’s training programme for local students studying for a BA or Masters in live events.  

Event Week Live, run in association with Birmingham City University (BCU), aims to provide real on the job learning, giving students further skills they can take into their prospective work places. Across three days, 15 students have benefitted from a talk from NEC MD, Kathryn James, witnessed the behind the scenes action of setting up and running the world’s largest dog show – Crufts, and experienced how the venue provides its outstanding customer service.  

The success of Event Week Live has grown year on year, and now also involves many industry bodies including GES and this year, the Kennel Club.

Duncan Sedgwick, Course Director – MA Event and Exhibition Management at BCU, said: “Events Week Live is a fantastic opportunity for students to experience, first hand, the workings of an internationally renowned organisation such as the NEC. It builds on their network of industry contacts and gives them the chance to work with the NEC in a professional context. The days spent at the NEC really give them a chance to build on their experience and helps kick start their careers in a fantastic industry!”


Andrew Hickinbotham, UK Sales for GES added: “It’s always a fantastic opportunity to discuss the awesome events sector with a student group, especially at the NEC. Once again; great fun, great questions and great discussion: with subjects ranging from creativity to sustainability, tensioned fabric systems to data intelligence.

“I am a huge advocate of bringing new talent into the industry, and this key event always gives me the warm feeling that the future is in safe hands”.

Following on from Events Week Live, five of the most engaged and promising students will then be chosen to take part in the NEC’s Elite programme. Run across one year, the placements can be fitted around other studies or work, with experience including event shadowing and introductions to industry contacts with support from a personal mentor.

Michelle Baldwin, NEC Senior Event Manager who leads the Elite programme said: “The NEC is dedicated to nurturing young, local talent and this is an opportunity we are really proud to offer. On completion of the Elite programme students will be armed with the key fundamentals for a fruitful and prosperous career. The insight and industry contacts they’ll also gain will prove invaluable as they take their first steps into the world of live events.” 


Claire Cash attended Event Week Live in January 2018, as an MA student in Events, Festivals and Exhibitions.  Her enthusiasm for events was noticed by NEC representatives, and she was subsequently offered a position on the Elite programme. She now works as an Assistant Event Manager at the NEC. She has been in post for just over six months.

Speaking of Event Week Live and her time on Elite, Claire said: “At the time of Event Week Live I’d been working as a part time lecturer at Kidderminster College on music business and events – something I’d always had a passion to get into. Following the three-day experience at the NEC with fellow students, I was lucky enough to get handpicked for one of only five spaces on the Elite programme.  The time I had on this was busy – juggling it with study and work – but well worth it. It gave me exposure to many more elements of live events you only get as a member of staff, and completing the experience with such a world-renowned venue really added kudos to my CV. Ultimately, it gave me the opportunity to apply for an opening at the NEC, and less than a year later I’m now a fully-fledged assistant event manager. I cannot credit both programmes and the NEC team enough.”   

Adam is the co-founder and editor of Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.