Aisha Ruth Francis

Events Management BA (Hons)

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  • Year of graduation: 2016
  • Current job title: Senior Event Manager
  • Organisation / Company: Proud Events
  • Industry Sector: Live Events

Your University Experience

Why did you choose to study your chosen course?

I’ve always loved going to live events, in particular music festivals and my favourite weekend of the year was always going to Glastonbury with family and friends. Every time I went to a festival it amazed me that there were a team of people behind the scenes that got to create the magic we all get to experience and I aspired to be a part of that, which is what led me to wanting to study Event Management and find my way into the wonderful world of events.

What did you enjoy the most about the course?

The best part of the course for me, was that we got to put into practice everything we’d learnt each year by organising our own event with other peers on the course. It was always a really great way to end the term!

What necessary experience did you gain, and how do you think that your study has helped in your career or personal development?

The fact that the course has a great balance of both academic learning and hands-on events means that you work very closely with your peers and are able to build great relationships, which really helped me when going out into the big wide world, both within my career and my personal development.

In ten words or less how would you promote the University of Northampton to prospective students?

A fantastic place to choose to study!

Your career

Describe your career progression so far, and any plans you have for the future; are there any particular hurdles you may face?

I graduated in 2016 and spent a couple of years freelancing within the industry, which I was able to do through the contacts I had made on my placement year. It was great as I was able to work on a huge variety of events, my favourite being the Islamic Solidarity Games which took place in Azerbaijan, where I ended up living for a year.

Following this, I started working full time for an Event Production company called Proud Events, where I have now been for 4 years and have since worked my way up to become one of their Senior Event Managers. With Proud Events I’ve worked on music festivals across the world, from Ghana to Puerto Rico and I am currently the Event Manager across a couple of great events in the UK, one being Strawberries & Creem Music Festival which sees up to 35,000 attendees.

Which, if any, skills and knowledge did you gain on your degree that you find useful in your work role?

The variety of modules on offer throughout the course allow you to gain a wealth of knowledge across a number of different event sectors. Specific modules really allowed me to develop my skills in areas I still use in my current role now; such as Accounting and Finance, which has helped when managing large festival budgets and the Risk Management Module, which helped develop my knowledge which I have carried across when working with my operational suppliers on Event Management & Safety Plans for events.

Your Placement Experience

Where did you complete your placement year and what was your role?

I completed my placement year at an Event Production company called Continental Drifts. I spent a year working with them as their Event Assistant and got to work on a huge number of incredible festivals such as Glastonbury and Bestival.

What were the benefits of doing a placement year?

Deciding to do a placement year was the best decision I’ve ever made. It allowed me to really put into practice everything I’d learnt whilst at University and gain first-hand experience of working within the industry. It meant that by the time I’d graduated, I had a year’s worth of experience under my belt and contacts within events that would ultimately help me continue to grow my career.

Do you have any tips for applying for placements? What can students do to help them get one?

Just like applying for jobs, it can be competitive applying for placement opportunities but if it’s what you want to do, the work placement module is a great at helping you get on your feet. It was challenging at times but the support I was given on both throughout the module and by the course leaders themselves, it meant I kept pushing and found my perfect placement.

What employability skills did you develop during your placement?

The most valuable skill I gained from my placement year was definitely confidence. I wouldn’t have said I was particularly confident before my placement year, but following the year out working in the industry, I came back to university with a new drive to really push myself and get more involved, this also transcribed once I’d graduated and in putting myself forward for certain jobs.

What advice would you give to students about to begin a placement year?

I’d say throw yourself in completely. Take chances, push yourself and connect with as many people as possible.

Your Advice

In one sentence, what advice would you give to undergraduates interested in this work eg. tips on gaining entry, accessing opportunities, anything you wish you had known earlier?

Experience is key and the University offer a lot of opportunities to get involved in various events across the course. I would definitely advise taking up any that particularly interest you as this will only benefit when looking to progress your career!