20 May 2015

This is a particularly interesting development in the events industry world as it involves the meeting of stakeholders and professional bodies to back the expansion of the Institute of Events Management (IEM). This industry body has been created to help promote the professionalisation of the sector, the MeetPie.com website reports.

The meeting of numerous industry leaders – including the NEC’s director of operations, Brian Pell; the president of NOEA, Richard Limb; the managing director of The Conference Collective, Jacinta Scannell; and the founder of CreativeConnection consultants, Tim Casswell – represents the importance of this new institute and leads us to question the reasoning behind its formation.

Casswell voiced his concerns regarding the future of the industry, stating: “[There is] insufficient imagination in the design and running of events”, and therefore the implementation of the IEM’s standards and curriculum will help enormously to regulate the sector.

The ethos behind the IEM, he noted, was an “ambitious attempt to draw together a lot of good wills and different initiatives towards the professionalisation, protection of participants, and promotion of innovative conferencing approaches.”

However, political resistance and a lack of funding is holding the IEM back in terms of its scope, and “the challenge that we face is to create enough critical mass of support and momentum to draw other individuals and organisations into this initiative”, Casswell said.

The IEM website claims that the body is there to provide an “opportunity for individuals who already work or wish to work in the Events Sector to gain professional recognition, enhance their profile, skills and knowledge, and make global connections”. The term “institute” is actually a protected word in the UK and can only be used by organisations carrying out research at the highest level.  As a professional body, the IEM intend to aspire to Chartered status and will, in essence, provide membership to the industry and offer a framework of training and accreditation.  When we first read of this initiative we felt there were already a lot of associations and bodies in the events industry, but having better understood their intention to create a means of professionalising the industry – in much the same way as is enjoyed in other professions such as Surveying, Public Relations and Law – this does seem to be something from which the industry would benefit.

What do you make of the creation of this new institute?  Do you think it’s an invaluable opportunity to professionalise the industry?  If so, why does it seem to be struggling to gain traction – legal approval as an institute was gained almost three years ago and yet this is the first we’ve heard of it. Let us know your thoughts.

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