Image source: Facebook / Singapore EXPO

After having worked in the MICE industry in Singapore for six years, Sharon Chan felt a need to upgrade her skills so she could develop a better understanding of her clients’ requirements and serve them better.

The senior manager at Singapore EXPO enrolled in the Certified in Exhibition Management Course under the SkillsFuture Study Award programme. Successful applicants received a bond-free award of S$5,000 which could be used for course fees and other training expenses.

The SkillsFuture Study Award Programme for MICE industry professionals was first launched by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in October 2016 as a push for excellence, but more than that, it revealed the passion for growth among industry players.

This was certainly the case with Chan, who credits the course with helping her better manage the various challenges she faces as a MICE professional with a venue provider.

“To successfully attract new businesses and clients to Singapore, MICE professionals are expected to be creative and flexible. Event attendees expect to be engaged on multiple fronts so organisers want to create innovative and experiential event platforms that keeps their attendees engaged. Venue (providers) will therefore have to be creative in space planning and align themselves constantly to the needs of everyone. It is like coming together to complete a big jigsaw puzzle that always takes a different shape and form,” explained Chan.

Chan benefited from the insights provided by the trainers in the three-day course, where veterans in the industry shared their past experience and actual situations they faced.

“Having a better understanding of organisers’ needs and a more wholesome overview of their planning process has enabled me to better capture and engage them, and eventually gain their trust to hold their events at Singapore EXPO & MAX Atria,” she said.

For Alloysius Teng, the SkillsFuture Study Award motivated him to enrol in the Professional Events Management Course provided by the Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers (SACEOS). The award covered the fees for a course he had “always wanted to do”.

The senior assistant director of event venue sales at Gardens by the Bay shared that the course helped equip him to better meet the constant challenge of creating  events for clients that would make them go “wow”.

“Having an insight into the various considerations that event planners have during the planning stage was very helpful to me as a venue sales person,” said Teng.

He also picked up tips during the course that would help him tackle future challenges, such as knowing how to provide assistance to the client in matters such as logistics to help them plan, prepare and execute their event to realise the potential of the venue and enhance the delegate experience, instead of merely providing a space.

Such value-addswill show up the difference between a venue that goes the extra mile and one that just provides the bare necessities -- and excellent service can be the deciding factor that brings in and retains clients for future events.

Image source: Pexels

For MICE professionals, the need to upgrade one’s skill set is real, as the industry is constantly evolving. As such, industry players need to continue learning to remain competitive . The SkillsFuture Study Award provides just that avenue for such professionals to upgrade themselves so they can be at the top of their game to compete for both local and international clients. 

“Change is the only constant (in this industry),” said Chan. “We need to keep abreast of the latest industry developments in order to better ourselves for our clients.”

Applications for the next intake of the SkillsFuture Study Award can be made from now till 15 June 2018.

STB administers the Study Award for Hotels, MICE, Travel Agents and Tourist Guides sectors. More information about eligibility criteria and the supported courses under the award scheme can be found here.