Starting out in a new sector can be intimidating but there are lots of great communities out there specifically for the events sector. From facebook groups to whatsapp groups to membership organisations and associations (like our own!), you can connect with fellow young event professionals, find opportunities and get advice through some of the following portals.
If you run, or know of, a community you think should be on this list, please get in touch with Amelia via email@example.com.
Free to join, and easy to access, there are some brilliant groups on facebook, whatsapp and other social media platforms that allow you to connect with a group of fellow event professionals as you start out.
Event Grads Facebook Group
The community and support network for event management students and graduates. They share resources, opportunities, jobs, workshops and advice to help newcomers navigate the event industry.
Group members can also ask questions and get advice from fellow event graduates. Event Grads also run the Event Grads Cafe, a chance to meet others within the Event Grads community in a casual and informal setting which takes place on zoom. The calls last about 40 mins, you can bring the drink of choice and pets are more than welcome!
If you’re a recent graduate, or new to the events industry and looking for a supportive community, this is the space for you.
Join the facebook group now: https://www.facebook.com/groups/eventgrads
The Delegate Wranglers is the event industry’s biggest facebook community with over 23,000 members worldwide. It’s a group for all professional conference organisers and events industry suppliers, a place to share info, ask questions, advertise industry jobs / freelance positions and generally look to help each other out with the benefit of all their combined experience. It is a group created and run by events organisers for events organisers.
There are dedicated hours for freelancers and suppliers, and a whole schedule of engagement to get involved with. Membership is free and includes a profile listing on their website.
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheDelegateWranglers/
Events 101 is an online platform for young students and professionals who would like to get into the events industry. They run a community whatsapp group, where they share job opportunities, and members can ask questions and start discussions. It’s a great way to get to know fellow event professionals, and get involved in opportunities to get some more hands on experience of the sector!
Event First Steps
Event First Steps was started back in 2014 by two recent event management graduates, Elena and Caitlin, who found that the gap between what was taught at University and what it was like to work in the events industry was huge. A year later they met another event professional, Priya, who had recently joined the industry from a completely different career, and together they realised taking the first steps in the events sector is daunting no matter age or previous experience. So in the summer of 2016, they officially formed Event First Steps, a not-for-profit initiative.
Over the last 5 years, we have since hosted events around London and worked with universities across the country to help industry newcomers of all ages and abilities build their networks, learn from industry heavyweights and forge their own career path.
Find out more here: https://www.eventfirststeps.com/more-about-us
Institute of Event Management
Wherever you are in your career, the Institute of Event Management and its members will support and inspire you to achieve your full potential. As soon as you sign up to the IEM you will be invited to provide us with a Point of View, which you can use to raise your profile and have your say, become a Mentor/Mentee and contribute to how your professional body develops.
Find out more here: https://event-managers.institute/membership-benefits/
Whilst not specifically events focused, there are some great organisations who support creatives and have lots of applicable networks and resources for event professionals.
What they say: “The independent network for the UK’s Creative Industries.
We believe in the power of creativity and the creative industries to change lives, placing creativity at the heart of the UK’s culture, economy and education system. Our goal is simple: to cultivate a world where creativity is championed, valued, and fundamentally nurtured.
We unite the creative industries and generate opportunities for innovation to thrive by investing in creative people and businesses. We’re here to harness the power of the creative sector to build a stronger, fairer, and more prosperous future.”
What we say: “Whilst not specifically events focused, this is one of the largest creative networks in the UK, and a great place to connect with other creatives, whether you’re a member or not. They also hold really inspiring events across the UK.”
The professional network for people who don’t wear suits to work. Land your dream job. Upskill at events. Get advice & find collaborators.
The Dots is a great place to look for jobs in the creative industries, to find freelance projects and to build a community. You can connect with people, attend events they host, share your own projects and ask for (and receive) advice from fellow creative professionals.
Industry Bodies and Associations
What is an association? An association is a group of people or organisations who work together for a joint purpose. We, at EVCOM, are an association. As well as our staff team, we have a board with members from a range of different companies. People and organisations can become a member of EVCOM. We listen to their concerns and needs, and work on their behalf, by lobbying Government for more rights and recognition, putting on learning events (such as our conference and smaller workshops throughout the year) and running awards schemes to celebrate the industry. Associations are a great way to build a community, connect with other event professionals and learn.
Find out more about joining EVCOM as a member here.
Find out more some other associations and key industry bodies below.
Association for Event Management Education (AEME)
What they say: “The Association for Events Management Education (AEME) was established on April 21st 2004 with the aim to advance events education within the UK and overseas.
Our objectives are:
To provide a voice for events education.
To support and raise the profile of the events discipline through the sharing of education and best practice.
To provide a discussion forum for issues effecting events education and industry.
To establish communication opportunities between events stakeholders.
To encourage the development and dissemination of the events management body of knowledge.
To support, undertake and disseminate events research.
To encourage international exchange of ideas and best practice in events.”
What we say: “If you’re interested in teach events at any point in your career, or campaigning for the kind of teaching student on events focused courses receive, then this is a great community to get involved with. They also have great examples of best practise and discussion forums about the industry you can join.”
View their website here: https://www.aeme.org/
Association of Event Organisers (AEO)
What they say: “Association of Event Organisers Ltd (AEO) is the trade body representing companies which conceive, create, develop or manage trade and consumer events. It is run by its members for the benefit of its members through an elected council of representatives, specialist working groups and a fulltime secretariat.”
What we say: “AEO lobby government, offer learning and networking opportunities to their members and foster a sense of community. A great initiative that all members can make the most of it, is the opportunity to be mentored by an existing member of their choice from those that take part in their mentoring programme.”
Find out more: https://www.aeo.org.uk/welcome
Association of Event Venues (AEV)
What they say: “We are a committed trade body representing venues of all size and type both in the UK and internationally. We are run by our members for the benefit of our members and the wider events industry.
Whether you’re an international, national, regional, multi-purpose or specialist venue, the AEV offers you the opportunity to connect with peers, learn, benchmark and share best practice for the benefit of your business and the wider industry in which we operate. Our united presence ensures your voice is heard and to be certain that the interests of venues are foremost.”
What we say: “Like AEO (their sister organisation), AEV offers learning and networking opportunities to it’s community, but this community is all about venues. They also undertake research, share best practise (always useful), and lobby for the rights and recognitions of venues at Government level.”
Check out their website here: https://www.aev.org.uk/
What they say: “The Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) is an umbrella organisation representing leading trade and professional organisations, government agencies and other significant influencers in the business visits and events sector. BVEP’s vision is to support sustainable growth for the United Kingdom’s Events Industry, covering meetings, conferences, exhibitions, trade shows, incentive travel, event hospitality, ceremonies, sporting, cultural and festivals as well as other services provided to travellers and attendees to events.
BVEP’s mission is to support growth across the entire sector via advocacy, networking, collaboration and a collective voice.”
What we say: “The BVEP are a great organisation who lobby hard to get recognition and rights for businesses and people working in the events sector. They are a great organisation to be aware of as you progress your career within the events sector.”
View their website here: https://www.businessvisitsandeventspartnership.com
You can find the individual websites of BVEP members here. Lots of these are great companies to check out for more info: https://www.businessvisitsandeventspartnership.com/partners
Event Supplier & Services Association (ESSA)
What they say: “We are the Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA), a trade body representing the very best suppliers of goods and services to the events industry. With a focus on Health & Safety, education, business development and driving excellence and shared best practice, ESSA and our members sit at the centre of the events community both in the UK and overseas. On a day to day basis, we support our members with the provision of business essentials such as access to unlimited legal and HR advice, H&S support, insurance advice and a number of money saving group discounts. Having established ourselves over the last 10+ years (merger of BECA & AEC 2007), with our members we are the collective voice of the supplier and services sector.”
What we say: “ESSA represents the event supplier and services community, an often unsung but vital part of the events industry. They work with AEO and AEV, and this alliance allows members to be a part of cross association working groups and event programmes. Unity is at the heart of it all!”
View their website here: https://www.essa.uk.com/
Events Industry Board
What they say: “In March 2015 the Government published the Business Visits and Events Strategy. One of the key commitments within this was to create an Events Industry Board to work with Government on fulfilling the commitments within the strategy. The Events Industry Board is an industry-led board composed of individuals and representative organisations from the Events industry. Our role includes looking for ways to improve and promote the UK events sector, and acting as a sounding board and point of dialogue between Ministers and the industry.”
What we say: “EVCOM sit on the events industry board. It’s a great organisation to know about and support. Their focus is promoting the status of the events sector, and speaking both to Government Ministers and the industry, to ensure we are represented in policy and that our sector is head.”
Find out more here: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/events-industry-board
beam/ Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA)
What they say: “beam is a name, not an acronym, but it has its roots firmly based in business events, accommodation and meetings, and shines a light on our industry. Built on best practice in business, and supported by the four pillars of Resilience, Innovation, Ethics and Quality, our HBAA heritage provides the springboard for an exciting and ambitious strategy developed with our members.
Our agency members run businesses that specialise in the procurement of accommodation, meetings and event facilities and services, both in the UK and internationally, on behalf of corporate clients. beam is the association that supports them and the hotel and venue companies they work with.”
What we say: “beam, previously HBAA (they are in the process of rebranding), have a great community with roots in the hotel sector. We have collaborated with them on multiple webinars, including a series around International Women’s Day. They deliver webinars and resources to meet the needs of their members.”
Check out their website here: https://www.hbaa.org.uk/
Meetings Industry Association UK (MIA)
What they say: “The Meetings Industry Association (mia) is the principal association supporting and growing the business meetings and events industry in the UK, and the keeper of AIM, the UK’s only recognised quality standard for the meetings industry. We support our members with research and training and, through a multitude of networking opportunities, we help them to grow and strengthen their business.”
What we say: “mia conducts great research in and around the industry, a brilliant way to find out about trends and areas of focus. With over 25 training and networking events a year they also have great opportunities to learn and connect with other members.”
Find out more here: https://www.mia-uk.org/