Tyler is 22 years old and from Edinburgh. She didn’t do well as school but after she got the chance to run an event at work, she realised she wanted to pursue a career in events management. She did an apprenticeship to get the grades for college and then passed her HNC and then HND in Events Management. This provided her with the qualifications to move directly in year three of the BA (Hons) Events Management at Queen Margaret University. Tyler was concerned she wasn’t university material, but with determination and the help and support of QMU’s student services team and her Personal Academic Tutor, she is performing well on her course and developing a passion for the events industry.
She tells us more about her work in the industry and her experience of studying in both further and higher education.
Why did you choose QMU and this particular degree course?
I helped to organise an event at my work and that’s when I realised that organising events was what I wanted to do as a career. I chose to study at QMU because I didn’t really want to study away from home and QMU was closed to where I lived. I also went on a field trip to QMU with my college class. The Events Management professor was one of the speakers at the conference and he really inspired me to further my education. After the visit, I knew I wanted to progress in Events Management at QMU.
What did you do before coming to QMU? Were you at college?
I was at Edinburgh College and I studied Events Management – HNC and HND.
Did you face any particular challenges in your educational journey before coming to QMU?
I didn’t do very well in school – in fact, I didn’t get the entry qualifications to undertake a HNC. However, I was employed and they realised how determined I was to further my education. As a result, they put me on a modern apprenticeship programme in order to satisfy the entry requirements for college. I never thought I would continue with my education at university until I realised that I was able to complete the work successfully.
How did you feel about coming to QMU?
I was nervous and scared that I wouldn’t do well. After not doing well at school, and struggling to get to college, I thought I was out of my depth applying to QMU. My perceptions have changed enormously since then.
How did you settle into university life? What support networks/initiatives were in place to help you get to grips with university level education and general student life?
The Direct Entry Induction Week was incredibly helpful – mostly because ex direct entry students were there to offer advice and guidance. All QMU students are allocated a Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) and my PAT really was a great help. I knew I could turn to him for advice and support on my work. I also had a mentor for my dyslexia who helped me adopt strategies to overcome my difficulties.
What were the most useful/helpful services that you used at QMU?
My Personal Academic Tutor was very helpful. QMU has a Wellbeing Adviser, who is part of the Student Services Team. I often met with her and she really helped me get through difficult times.
What was the most interesting part of the course?
The core events modules are really interesting. I really enjoyed learning about events and regeneration - like how events can assist to enhance a city’s image and legacy. I also found global justice and events really interesting – knowing about the dark side of events such as the lack of human rights – it was a real eye opener.
What were the course challenges and what do you consider to be your successes?
The reading. There was a lot of reading to do compared to college and I was struggling to keep up with it all. However, I was later diagnosed with Dyslexia, which explained a lot of the doubts I had and some of the struggles I was experiencing. The help I received from QMU’s disability team was great and it meant that I learned to develop strategies to help me keep up with the reading.
Can you share what opportunities you had to develop practical skills relating to your course?
I worked part-time at Volunteer Edinburgh as the Events Co-ordinator, so that was great experience for me to gain while studying the same subject.
Any advice for students who might be interested in this course?
Go for it! The course is interesting and fun.
Did you undertake any paid/voluntary work and if so, how did you juggle the demands of this with study/family life etc?
I worked part-time with Volunteer Edinburgh. At first, it was two days per week (14 hours) but once I went into fourth year I asked to decrease my hours to one day a week. It was challenging but manageable. It was great that my employer was very encouraging of my studies and offered me a level of flexibility. It was also beneficial for me to undertake a work that was in the same capacity of my degree.
Extra Curriculum activities
Did you take part in activities that added to your experience and helped to improve your CV and job readiness?
I helped with Direct Entry week. I was one of the assistants, wearing the green t-shirts and directing new students to their timetabled sessions. I was also a Student Leader with the new Peer Assisted Learning Scheme (PALS). It's where students in the year above facilitate sessions to the year below on modules. We help the students with planning their work and give advice and techniques to help them tackle seminar work and assignments.
What would you like to do once you graduate?
I want to work in the private sector – perhaps organising corporate events, but I am open minded and would be delighted to try difference experiences within the events sector.
Are you currently working?
I’m currently working full-time with Festivals Edinburgh. I am assisting the Project Manager on the delivery of the Festival City Volunteer programme. My job entails promotion, recruiting and managing volunteers, managing volunteer hubs and assisting the Project Manager with any other tasks.
Would you consider further study? Yes, but not right now.
I would like to gain more experience in the field first.
"I was also a Student Leader with the new Peer Assisted Learning Scheme (PALS). It's where students in the year above facilitate sessions to the year below on modules. We help the students with planning their work and give advice and techniques to help them tackle seminar work and assignments."
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