Investing In New Talent To Move With the Times

The Venue Management Association was established over 30 years ago and is now the leading industry association for venue and associated industry professionals in the Asia Pacific Region. With over 850 members in Australia, New Zealand and Asia, membership is geared towards middle-senior managers from diverse venue sectors including sports stadiums; entertainment arenas; conference and exhibition centres; performing arts centres; race tracks and showgrounds; and museums, festivals and shows.

The Association supports their membership and industry participants across the various stages of their career lifecycle to ensure that the venue industry remains at the forefront of world’s best practices, continues to innovate and adapt, and both grow and attract the best talent available to the industry.

The VMA is dedicated to the growth and success of the venue management industry through delivering professional development and networking opportunities, as well as a wide variety of education programs including the Venue Management School and Leadership Institute, both of which are residential based programs delivered by leading domestic and international experts. They also deliver a number of services throughout the Asia-Pacific region, such as their sister Venue Management School in Shanghai, which focuses on exhibitions.

VMA moved to the Gold Coast from Brisbane five years ago and CEO Michael Brierley says they’ve never looked back. “A lot of the people we work with on the Gold Coast are very innovative and have a great sense of fun. It’s also such a beautiful place to work.”

University Partnership

For the past three years VMA have had a partnership with Griffith University that encompasses three key areas:

  • An internship program which not only includes taking on interns but also marketing the program through their venue network in South East Queensland to encourage their venue operators to also take on interns.
  • A pathways program where the Diploma of Venue Management students from their own training institute are recognised through a number Griffith’s Bachelor degrees, providing VMA’s graduating students accreditation for a number of subjects if they decide they want to go on and further their studies.
  • A joint research component where both organisations look for opportunities to gain insight into the industry.

Michael Brierley says it’s not just the students who benefit from the internship program.

“If you’re not engaging with new talent you tend to fall into the same traps because your older workforce continues thinking along the same lines as they’ve done previously, but nothing stays the same and you have to continue to grow to move with the times.”

The CEO points to their current intern Georgina McGuirty, an International Tourism and Hotel Management student from Griffith University, as a good case in point. “She’s already provided some great ideas around how to target, engage and communicate with millennials. With our workforce not being in that demographic her suggestions have been a learning curve for us. It’s good to see how the younger generation think, digest and absorb information and how they go about their work. As an employer we need to understand those implications when we want to start bringing new people in to our industry.”

Clear Strategy

Brierley is a Griffith alumnus himself and over the years has worked with many interns through various organisations. He says the key to making the opportunity work for both the employer and the student is to have a clear strategy around your desired goals.

“As a business you need to be very structured and clear about what outcomes you want from the internship. Be honest with the applicants by telling them up front what your expectations are and don’t be afraid to go through an interview process to get the right person. You don’t want to waste their time or yours, so the more detail you can provide from the outset creates greater clarity for all involved.”

The CEO says that businesses also have a responsibility to ensure that the intern has an enjoyable experience.  

“There would be nothing worse than coming out of a 150hr program and not having enjoyed yourself. So most importantly it’s about enjoyment, but interns also need to gain a realistic understanding of what the industry challenges are, the relationships that need to be built and to see how their role can deliver a benefit to an organisation through the practical experience they’ve gained.


Talent for Business Growth

A program to help Gold Coast businesses access student talent

Find out more

Want to find out more about Australia's favourite classroom?