Conference and exhibition organiser

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would plan and organise conferences and events for different organisations where people do not have the time or expertise to do it themselves.

You’d run trade shows, exhibitions and conferences. You’d work closely with people from the organisation to ensure that you understand what they want at the event. You’d make sure everything is organised on time and on budget.

There are three main areas of work: marketing, operations and sales. You might specialise in one area or work in all three.

In marketing, you would:

  • Research the level of interest in an event
  • Find suitable venues and dates
  • Publicise events
  • Organise design and printing for tickets, posters and promotional items

In operations you’d be responsible for making sure that everything runs smoothly on the day. You would:

  • Plan timetables
  • Book venues
  • Supervise and pay contractors and suppliers, such as exhibition designers and caterers
  • Work closely with venue staff during events
  • Handle enquiries from exhibitors, speakers, sponsors and visitors
  • Supervise health and safety issues, and ensure that venues are cleared safely

If you work in sales you would contact potential exhibitors and persuade them to buy space for a stand in the exhibition where they can advertise their products or services. You’d also arrange sponsorship for events.

Working conditions

Hours

You would normally work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. However you will need to be prepared to work unsocial hours if required, including evenings and weekends when events might take place. You may also have to work longer hours immediately before the start of a conference or exhibition to make sure everything is ready for the opening.

Environment

You would mainly be based at an office and would spend a lot of time on the telephone.

Travel

You would travel to meet potential sponsors and exhibitors, and visit venues and contractors.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

People behind the job

Meet real people who’ve done this job – hear their stories and the path they took to get there.

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Working as part of a team
  • Persuading people
  • Using computers
  • Finding solutions to problems
  • Budgeting
  • Planning and organising
  • Time management
  • Paying attention to detail

Build your skills

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.

Qualifications

Most events organisers have a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7), Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) or a degree (SCQF level 9/10) in subjects such as

  • Event managment
  • Hospitality management
  • Public relations
  • Business
  • Marketing
  • Media

You can enter some events or hospitality management National Certificate or National Qualification courses (SCQF 2-6) with no formal qualifications but most courses ask for National 4/5 qualifications (SCQF level 4/5).

You can enter Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications.

Entry to a degree (SCQF level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of three Highers. Some universities ask for qualifications to be gained in one sitting. 

You can also enter a degree with a relevant Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8). With Advanced Highers, HNC or HND qualification you may enter the second or third year of some degree courses. 

With a suitable honours degree and relevant experience you can apply to a masters (SCQF level 11), such as an MSc in International Event and Festival Management. 

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most courses)
  • Business management
  • Administration
  • ICT subjects
  • Maths
  • Modern languages
  • Social studies subjects such as media

Helpful to have

Experience in events organisation, hospitality, marketing, public relations or fundraising or relevant work-based qualifications such as a Professional Development Award in Events Operations (SCQF level 7). 

An apprenticeship in Creative and Cultural (SCQF Level 6) would be a good fit.