As we in the third level sector, prepare to welcome new students to our event management programmes throughout the country this September and of course welcome back our current event management students, it is obviously a time of uncertainty for us all. The challenge of Covid-19 is here to stay in the medium term and we are committed to continuing to offer the best possible experience to our students and stakeholders, which is mindful of the ever present risk which the virus currently presents.
Here at IT Tralee we will obviously be guided by the up to date public health advice available at the time. It is envisaged at present that the course delivery style will be in a blended format. On-campus delivery will be prioritised for practicals/ labs/ workshops/ tutorials and small group sizes. There will be a particular emphasis on maximising on-campus delivery where practical for first year students, in the first semester. This will likely include physical distancing in class of at least one metre at all times, and two metres where possible. Staff and students will wear masks/ visors upon entry to buildings and sanitation stations and one way systems will be in place. Students and staff presenting with symptoms will also be isolated immediately and the response will be co-ordinated by staff at the Health Centre. Signage throughout all buildings will help students to navigate queries or policy and there will be a FAQ section on our website + regular emails and social media updates to students. Specific further measures will also be incorporated for students who are in ‘high risk’ groups.
Some modules will take place via online delivery for this semester and possibly Semester 2 also. Government have committed to allocate additional funding for students to upgrade laptops, tablets and other equipment for online learning, as well as increasing the student assistance fund.
It is hoped (subject to public health advice) to incorporate some site visits in Semester 1 for all students, and in conjunction with industry partners. This blended delivery will be complemented by a significant guest lecturer input via online delivery, from industry leaders in Ireland and abroad. Regarding work experience hours which students engage in normally in Year 1, we hope at present that this will be completed via micro volunteering in the local community where possible, and also using novel approaches such as virtual volunteering. We can back load student hours to spring 2021, if public health advice allows mass gatherings to resume in a staged manner. Plans for student summer placements will remain paused for now, as we monitor progress on Covid-19, but again we have a range of options available and some fantastic industry partners who are delighted to offer students meaningful practical experience.
The experience will be somewhat different for now, but rest assured we will still be encouraging all our students to get creative, develop their teamwork and leadership skills, become concerned citizens and experience the great opportunities that the festivals and events industry offers.
Tips for event management students
- Keep a close eye on email and social media updates from your college. Also, look for the Covid-19 FAQ section on the college website.
- Be aware that guidance is subject to change and colleges are still finalising details of course delivery.
- Contact the admissions office of your college or your lecturer, if you have specific queries.
- When you return to college, be prepared that it will not be possible to go back to the old format of college life at present. There will be significant change, but remember everyone in your college is working hard to offer you the best possible educational experience, given the current challenges of Covid-19.
- Continue to manage your own mental and physical health. Focus on exercise, sleep, eating well and staying connected with your friends and family.
- Join clubs and societies in college, who will still be providing a great chance to pursue hobbies and meet new friends.
- Keep dreaming! This is a great industry. We will party again… Festivals, weddings, gatherings will all come back…
Lecturer in Events Management & Tourism Studies
Hotel, Culinary & Tourism Department
Institute of Technology, Tralee