Following David Cameron’s call to give Britain a pay rise, the great wage debate in the events industry has reignited competition for the best talent. However, it is not just current talent that is being fought for – the battle for the next generation of emerging talent will soon ensue.

Here, brand agency Crown’s MD Nicky Havelaar and marketing manager Cecilia Law discuss the value of internships and its own efforts to sustain the events industry.

Internships have a long tradition of being a shoe-in to a job or industry. However, it comes with the stigma that interns will be stuck with grunt work, performing the mundane tasks no one else in the office wants to do.

Whilst this remains true at some organisations, the reality is, internships are just as beneficial to companies as it is to the interns themselves.

Companies that have a structured programme that facilitates learning with practical applications benefit from nurturing the talent of future employees, potential rising stars in their industry, and who knows, quite possibly the next Angela Ahrendts, Es Devlin or Zaha Hadid.

Havelaar recalls the experience of her first role and why it is so important that we invest our time and resources in developing staff.

“The training I had in my first role gave me confidence and a solid grounding in the industry,” she says. “It was an unparalleled opportunity to bond with the team and inspired a deep loyalty to the organisation. This is a culture we have sought to instil at Crown. Some of our longest serving members of staff have been in their roles for over 15 years, having worked their way up to the top of the organisation from entry-level positions. We strive to give individuals the confidence to exploit their talent and make a good impression, with us and elsewhere.” 

With this mentoring philosophy, Crown conceived Green Shoots, their internship programme that employs undergraduates on an industrial placement for a year. Green Shoots provides a steep learning curve into the events industry with real, frontline exposure on projects and the opportunity to get involved in all aspects of the project cycle, from concept development to project management and delivery.

“This programme sends a strong message about how we value our staff and contributes overall to the sustainability of the industry. Replenishing producers, designers, and bringing up the next generation of talent is a massive responsibility that we all need to be involved in,” Havelaar says.

Whilst there are some mundane tasks, the reality of any job is that this is just a tiny percentage of the role. Internships are a two-way street. Interns with the determination and the aptitude to want to learn and succeed will be the ones to benefit from their time at a company. Companies that offer an educational programme with exposure on real live projects, coupled with access to the expertise of their existing team are the innovators at the forefront of their industries.

Green Shoots is unique in that the level of their potential, coupled with their business acumen and emotional intelligence, determines the recruitment of interns. This approach has been key to staff success at Crown and allows individuals to shine and excel on their own merits, especially when assigned with challenging tasks.

This article was originally published in Engage Magazine.