‘I’ve been doing incentives for 20 years, and it’s the same people on famils every time; hardly anyone new is coming through,’ she explains. But what exactly is stopping young people looking at this industry as a career option? ‘It’s the hard work, it’s the low pay. You think the travel would be incentive enough but once you’ve stuffed a couple thousand envelopes your mind changes pretty quickly. But if you want the pay off, you’ve got to do the work, and the end result is happy clients, which is rewarding.’ Diana McIlwrick, director at Dinamics, says her company takes every opportunity to ensure its project managers are exposed to as many famils as possible to ensure Dinamics is in great shape for the future. ‘I think that it is our responsibility to make sure the industry is looking forward and exposing future business owners and project managers to a wide range of destinations and events so that they have a depth of knowledge and are looking at the big picture to present new destinations and concepts to clients,’ she says. CINZ launched the Education Hub at MEETINGS earlier this year, in a move CINZ chief executive Sue Sullivan says was to highlight the importance of training and professional development to the business events sector. ‘We have seen strong demand for access to professional development within our sector. We know it is crucial we invest in human infrastructure.’ The CINZ Emerging Talent programme has been running in Auckland and Wellington for two years, and is designed to meet the needs of up-and-coming professionals and give them valuable network building opportunities. ‘This programme is giving young professionals the stepping stones they need to build their professional networks and assist them as they progress in their careers into management positions,’ says Sullivan.
Growing old together
One of the challenges facing the tourism, incentives and business events industry is a lack of fresh blood. That’s the feeling on the street when Meeting Newz canvassed some conference and incentive organisers recently, who say that while clients appreciate the experience veteran planners can offer, the industry risks getting stale if there are no ‘young ones’ coming through with new ways of doing things. Catherine Barwood of Premium Incentive & Conference, says the lack of young people coming through the conference and incentive scene is the biggest problem the industry has right now.