As we move into 2023, Andrew Harrison discusses the need to encourage new talent into the industry and why it needs to remain a top priority.

This past year has been incredibly busy and has seen many event suppliers stretched to the absolute limit, so we need to ensure that nurturing new talent remains high on the agenda.

The talent shortage is one of a multitude of challenges impacting our industry right now, from rising costs and political and economic instability to the climate crisis and growing pressure to be more sustainable.

But without a strong pipeline of new talent coming into the industry, we’re going to face a whole wave of new challenges in the future. So, we must ensure we don’t get distracted from tackling the talent issue amidst everything else.

As an industry, we're not very high up the pecking order when it comes to young people’s career choices and finding your way into events by accident seems to be an accepted norm.

ESSA’s Future Focus Working Group is trying hard to rectify this. We have done a lot of work on nurturing talent through our partnerships with various educational institutions, and recently launched free student membership targeted at students who are keen to enter the world of events.

The Student Membership offers access to a wealth of industry training, activities, events and work placement opportunities with ESSA members to provide first-hand experience of many real-life aspects of the industry, supplement their learning and help cement their desire to enter this exciting industry.  

But the issue of attracting talent to the events industry is bigger than ESSA and its members. It requires a collaborative approach that appreciates all elements and opportunities within the industry and not just one stakeholder group trying to fix the problem for themselves.  

As part of the Events Industry Alliance (ESSA, AEO, AEV), we recently launched our government manifesto with skills and training as one of five key areas. We are also contributing to the UK Events (formally BVEP) work on developing industry wide formal education and training to improve the pathways into our industry.

Nurturing talent is essential to safeguarding the future of the events industry and we all have a responsibility to entice the next generation to join us.

Published in the January 2023 issue of Hospitality and Events North magazine. 

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The Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA) is a trade body representing the very best contractors and suppliers of goods and services to the UK’s thriving events industry.

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