Cuckoo Events’ Practical Skills Workshop Through A Student's Eyes
A couple of weeks ago, Martin (he’s one of the bosses in here), Eoin, Charlotte and I hit the road for Athlone to deliver a practical skills workshop to 4th year Hospitality students studying at Athlone IT.
Oh - and a big hello from the new kids at Cuckoo Events. My name is Sinead. Charlotte and I joined the Cuckoo Events team after Christmas.
My event path
I started the MSc. in Event Management in DIT last September. I love the course and could happily talk all day about it. We are a small class and we are all passionate about events! We have different interests within the industry, so we learn a lot from each other outside of the classroom also.
Shortly after starting, we were up to speed with the latest academic research on management within the hospitality, tourism and events industries in Ireland as well as on a global level. Academically, the course is strong and we’re all really enjoying it.
However, I’ve had a real wake-up call since joining the Cuckoo team. I realise now just how much I have to learn about what’s involved in running events on the ground, from an initial event idea to the #makinghappyhappen stage.
On the Thursday evening before to our trip to Athlone, Martin sent Charlotte and I a list of items to get ready for the workshop.
In all honestly, most of these items were completely new to me. The list included barriers (yes, I had heard of these before!), metal weights, a 110v stepdown transformer, our new defibrillator, a Lenser, a Leatherman, fire extinguishers, 13 and 16 amp reels and a 110v splitter, to name just a small fraction of the entire list.
Martin gave us a run through of every single piece of equipment before we loaded up the van on Friday. Charli was more familiar with a lot of the equipment than I was, due to her background in drama and theatre. The number of key elements of event kit that Martin was lining up for us to bring with us probably surprised Charli less than it did me. There’s a lot to it.
On Monday morning, we arrived on campus and met our group. Martin delivered content on Event Safety Management and we all got stuck into some group work before lunch. Almost everyone has been to an event, so everyone had a contribution to make when asked to think of one event that we had attended where we felt that the crowds were poorly managed causing us a feeling that things were unsafe.
Following a delish lunch courtesy of the culinary arts students at the AIT restaurant (thanks guys!), we did a practical session in the afternoon with Eoin. Eoin is one of the Event Team here in Cuckoo and is very experienced in all sorts of events. The restaurant was cleared out to make room for the simulation of the large-scale gig that the group were about to set up.
Based on what was learned during the morning session, the group decided where various event management features such as Event Control, the different types of barriers, the stage and the entrance and exits should go.
One of the most insightful parts of the day for me was the crowd management exercise we did with the square metre rope. A square metre rope is a rope tied at each end which covers the area of 1 metre square when laid out on the floor. Eoin got two people at a time to get under the rope, and to move around in the same way as attendees might move at a concert or festival.
When the last two people that would fit were inside the rope, another student was asked to put on the paramedic bag and try to get to the person at the front of the space, as if he or she was in difficulty. Everyone within the rope space as well as those watching from the floor could see that this would be almost impossible for the paramedic, given the lack of space.
I think this very clearly illustrated to every student in the room the importance of crowd management and capacity management at events.
This is a really effective exercise that the Team here in Cuckoo and Safe Events uses regularly on Event Safety Training courses we devise for clients.
Getting the balance right
Overall, as an event management student, I can see that practical skills and knowledge are absolutely critical to the successful management of an event.
Academic knowledge might be helpful and insightful, but without exposure to the practicalities of event management, we will not be prepared to properly manage good events.