MPI UK and Ireland Chapter announce winners of the Vanessa Cotton Scholarship 2017

MPI UK and Ireland Chapter announce winners of the Vanessa Cotton Scholarship 2017

i Dec 5th No Comments by

MPI UK & Ireland, the local chapter of the largest global meetings and events association, has announced the winners of the latest edition of the Vanessa Cotton Scholarship Award as Delyth Davies from Oxford Brookes University and Holly Steenson from Leeds Beckett University.

Delyth and Holly were acknowledged for their achievements at MPI’s Christmas Celebration event at the Sofitel London St James on Monday 4th December; where they celebrated with a drinks reception and networked with over 35 event professionals from leading agencies including Clive, Imagination, JLE Events Management, TBA PLC and TimeBased with live music provided by creative entertainment agency SongDivision.

Now in its sixth year, the Vanessa Cotton Scholarship scheme was created in 2011 in honour of UK event industry veteran Vanessa Cotton who died in 2010 after a battle with cancer. Over 50 entries were received from students based in the UK & Ireland studying event management related courses who were asked to demonstrate their previous events-related worked experience and was free-of-charge to enter.

Following the strength of the applications received, the judging panel made a strong recommendation that two stand-out entrants be put forward for the month-long paid for internship at Reed Travel Exhibitions. Reed are one of the world’s leading events organisers, with a growing portfolio of 500 events in 41 countries, and a staff of 3,000 exhibition specialists.

Jane Baker, president of the MPI UK&I Chapter, said: “MPI UK & Ireland is committed to helping the industry’s next generation of talent to join our growing sector. It’s vital that workplaces offer talented young people the opportunity to kickstart their careers and we are delighted to work in partnership with universities from across the country and Reed Travel Exhibitions to offer this platform to event management graduates. The quality of entrants received this year was stronger than ever and we look forward to continuing to support students and entry-level professionals into the industry with a number of exciting initiatives planned for 2018.”

Graeme Barnett, Senior Exhibition Director, ibtm events part of Reed Travel Exhibitions, said: “Reed Exhibitions is delighted to continue its long-standing association with the Vanessa Cotton Scholarship Award and even more so this year with the announcement that part of the Award will be to bring talented individuals into our organisation to see first-hand what it takes to be part of the world’s largest exhibition organiser. Deciding on just one winner from the outstanding list of entries proved too difficult so we decided to offer two work placements for 2018 and we look forward to welcoming Holly (Steenson) and Delyth (Davies) to ibtm events and Reed Exhibitions next summer.”


Future Leaders Forum celebrate 150 editions!

i Nov 14th No Comments by

The Future Leaders Forum celebrated its 15th edition at IMEX America in October. 100 students enjoyed an exciting 2-day programme including interactive presentations from industry experts, networking opportunities and a guided visit to the show floor of IMEX America. The Forum is a joint initiative by IMEX, MPI and MCI and was created to inspire and motivate students of courses related to the Meetings and Events Industry to gain more knowledge, make new connections and feel more motivated to join this wonderful industry.

The first Forum in 2018 will take place at the SITE+MPI Global Forum and we would like to extend an invitation for all MPI members to get involved. If you would like to get involved or learn more, please contact Sarah Skavron from IMEX (

MPI announces internship prize for Vanessa Cotton Scholarship Award 2017

i Oct 7th No Comments by

MPI UK&I are delighted to announce the 6th MPI Vanessa Cotton Scholarship, created in honour of UK event industry veteran Vanessa Cotton. The scholarship was created to recognise the industry’s brightest and most ambitious students, graduating from event management degrees and supporting their first step in to the meetings and events sector.

Following consultation with universities and industry, this year’s winner will receive a one-month, paid internship with Reed Travel Exhibitions. Reed is the organiser of IBTM World, the leading global event for the meetings, events and incentives industry.

A panel of industry judges will shortlist the final three candidates from the entries submitted and representatives from Reed will select the winner. The judging panel will include Liz Quinton from CWT Meetings & Events, Ryan Curtis-Johnson from drp, Sam Coates from Keith Prowse, Nicola Weston from Slaughter and May, Sue Etherington from QEIICC, Nicola Alexander from Travel Alberta and Sue Munro, industry consultant.

Jane Baker, President of MPI UK and Ireland, said: “MPI has a long history of initiatives that encourages new talent to join the meetings and events sector. We’re delighted that this year’s Vanessa Cotton Scholarship does that in a new way, with the opportunity to gain valuable, paid work experience with one of the industry’s leading players. We’re excited to work with Reed and grateful for their ongoing support of this programme.”

Graeme Barnett, Senior Exhibition Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions, said: “Reed has supported MPI’s Vanessa Cotton Scholarship since its launch in 2011 and we are proud to do so once more. Identifying the best new talent to join us is vital to our continued growth, and involving the winning applicant with the industry’s leading event, IBTM World, provides a win-win for all involved.”

Students on event management and related courses at universities across the country are invited to apply through the online portal:

The deadline for entries is Friday 20 October 2017.


Engagement with University of Greenwich students

i Sep 13th No Comments by

The University of Greenwich’s Business School Employability Office (BSEO) can facilitate ways for event employers to engage and connect with students. There are different ways in which employers work with The University of Greenwich, including:-

  • Summer/part-time internships
  • Placements (between 9-14 months)
  • Permanent or contract roles suitable for recent graduates
  • Mentoring a student (2 contact hours per month)
  • Employer events including mock assessment centres and presentations
  • Workshops sessions with practical tips and takeaways
  • Employability fairs, promoting what roles you have to offer to students
  • Guest lectures to discuss relevant topics that relate to specific subject areas
  • Networking events to network with students, staff and other companies

The University of Greenwich reaches out to students through numerous platforms, including a BSEO Employability Dashboard which hosts vacancies and appointment slots and acts as a ‘one stop shop’. They also target students with emails to promote available opportunities. Furthermore, the University liaises with academics to familiarise them with opportunities which promotes BSEO led services to students through lectures and tutorials.

MPI is proud to partner with The University of Greenwich as the host venue for MPI Connects in April 2018, designed to bring together industry employers to talented industry jobseekers. The event combines insightful education with speed-dating style meetings, enabling job seekers to understand more about potential positions or internships, and for our employers to give guidance on interviewing skills as well as how to clinch that all-important first job

For more information, please contact Sophie Mataba, Employer Partnership Manager via email:-  or telephone:- 0208 331 8223.

MPI UK & Ireland are looking for a student photographer to support our events programme; this a great opportunity to build your event photography portfolio!

i Jul 3rd No Comments by

The MPI UK & Ireland Chapter is looking for an event student or recent graduate interested in photography to support our forthcoming programme of live events for senior event professionals.

 The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work on projects at a professional level, taking in the experience of working on a range of event projects and developing your own event photography portfolio, whilst getting paid travel expenses. Images will be featured on the MPI UK&I Chapter website (, social media platforms and, potentially, in industry press publications. In addition, you will make plenty of useful contacts with professionals within the meetings and events industry, allowing for more positive feedback and references from potential employers, as well as increasing your chances of ultimately finding permanent employment.

Students members interested in the opportunity should send a covering email, along with examples of work (if available) to Deborah Kelly on

MPI UK&I launches Events Apprenticeship Support Scheme

i May 30th No Comments by

MPI UK & Ireland, the local chapter of the largest global meetings and events association, has announced the launch of the MPI Events Apprenticeship Support Scheme.

The new scheme is designed to provide grants of up to £2,500 to events industry employers who take on apprentices through the new Government-backed Trailblazer standard. The grant includes funding for external training from an accredited provider, annual MPI membership for the apprentice and their mentor, plus registration costs and expenses towards attendance at MPI UK & Ireland’s educational events for one year.

To qualify, employers should provide documentation to confirm that they have employed the apprentice to be supported. The apprentice must be paid at least the national minimum wage and have successfully passed an initial three-month probationary period. Applications will open annually, with initial applications to be submitted between 1 July and 1 September 2017.

The scheme is backed by the MPI Foundation, who will raise funds in the UK later this year through Post Show Charity Party at The Meetings Show. The fundraising event will take place at The Hand and Flower pub opposite London Olympia from 5.30pm-9.30pm on Tuesday 13th June 2017. Tickets are £50+VAT each and include complimentary food and drink, plus entertainment and networking with hosted buyers and show visitors from across Europe.

Jane Baker, president of the MPI UK&I Chapter, said: “MPI UK & Ireland is committed to helping the industry’s next generation of talent to join our growing sector. Alongside MPI Connects, our recruitment programme for graduates, this new MPI Events Apprenticeship Support Scheme will make it easier and more cost-effective for employers to hire and train promising candidates choose not to take the university education route.”

Tony Fundaro, Senior Director, MPI Foundation, said: “One of the key missions of The MPI Foundation is to fund education that drives the success of meetings professionals. The new Events Apprenticeship Support Scheme launched by MPI UK & Ireland does exactly that so we are proud to support it. All proceeds from the Post Show Charity Party at The Meetings Show will go directly to this scheme so we encourage the industry to register. Not only will it support the industry’s future talent, but it offers attendees a fantastic networking opportunity with hosted buyers and visitors from across Europe.”

Registration for the MPI Post Show Charity Party is here:

Employers looking to register for more information about the MPI Events Apprenticeship Support Scheme should contact Hamish Reid, Commercial Director on


Events Apprenticeship Support Scheme

i May 12th No Comments by

The MPI UK & Ireland Chapter is delighted to announce a new industry-wide support scheme designed to provide grants to event employers who take on events apprentices through the new Government-backed Trailblazer standard.

Employers should have a turnover of less than £10m per year, the apprentice must have an employment contract and have successfully passed a three-month probationary period, and the apprentice must be paid at least the national minimum wage.

Grants will be to the amount of £2,500 per apprentice and will include:-

  • £900 towards the external training provider costs (through an accredited provider)
  • £80 (€90) towards MPI membership for the apprentice for the first year (student membership plus an application fee)
  • £195 (€225) towards MPI membership for the apprentice for two more years (student in transition membership)
  • £435 (€500) towards MPI membership for the apprentice-mentor for the first year (full membership plus an application fee)
  • £500 towards admittance to MPI UK&I educational events during the first membership year
  • £390 towards travel to attend MPI UK&I educational events during the first membership year

Applications for the 2018 award open today, 28 February, and will close on 31 March. The winner will be announced in April 2018. Applications forms can be obtained from

MPI Vanessa Cotton Scholarship 2017

i Mar 26th No Comments by

MPI Vanessa Cotton Scholarship

Each year, MPI UK & Ireland hosts the MPI Vanessa Cotton Scholarship, an annual competition created to recognise the industry’s brightest and most ambitious event management students as they take embark upon careers in the meetings and events sector.

The scholarship was created in 2011 in honour of UK event industry veteran Vanessa Cotton who died in 2010 after a battle with cancer. Entrants are asked to demonstrate their previous events-related work experience, both paid and voluntary, and entry is free to all UK & Ireland students looking to build a career in the sector.

Dates for the 2017 Vanessa Cotton Scholarship will be announced soon.


Jade Woodall named the 2014 Vanessa Cotton Memorial Scholarship Winner

i Dec 3rd No Comments by

Jade Woodall, a final year BA (Hons) Events Management student at Bournemouth University, has been named as recipient of the 2014 MPI Vanessa Cotton Memorial Scholarship.

Jade was selected as the winner by a panel of industry judges to receive the scholarship, and has won an all-expenses paid trip to the MPI European Meetings and Events Conference (EMEC) in Krakow, Poland, next February. This will enable her to participate in educational sessions and network with more than 200 event professionals.

Jade said: “I am very excited to have won The Vanessa Cotton Scholarship and I am so grateful to MPI UKI, Reed Travel Expo and ExCel London for giving me this wonderful opportunity.

“I am really looking forward to EMEC in Poland where I hope to continue with my professional development by making new contacts and building on my current experience and knowledge of the industry.”

Jade saw off stiff competition from a record number of entries to receive the scholarship, which recognises the brightest of the next generation of event professionals who show outstanding communication skills and a desire for personal development.

Jade was flown to Barcelona for the announcement of the scholarship at global meeting and events exhibition EIBTM 2014.

“My trip to Barcelona was a great experience,” added Jade. “I made some valuable contacts and got to meet the judges of the competition who said they really enjoyed reading my application.”

Attending the EMEC – Olivia Pole-Evans, Vanessa Cotton Scholarship Recipient Shares Her Story

i Mar 26th No Comments by

I feel extremely honoured to have been awarded the MPI Vanessa Cotton Scholarship which funded my attendance to EMEC 2014 in Istanbul. Additionally, I was invited to participate in the MPI-IMEX-MCI Future Leaders Forum which took place prior to the event and connected students from across Europe to learn, share and discuss Networking and Meeting Design.

The conference started with a fascinating introduction from Peter Hinssen stating: “We are at the flip of the new normal”, our markets are becoming networks and we are facing radical innovation to which we have to adapt and leverage. He identified the potential of 25 year olds entering the industry, and their ability to make significant impact on innovation as they’re not corporately formatted yet – something I may have been enthusiastic to mention in conversation throughout the remainder of the event!

The interaction didn’t stop there… with Christopher Barrat’s session on Networking, which had the plenary session on their feet and interacting, by analysing our handshake style and reinventing our introductions for the remainder of the conference. There were many other educational sessions from Ted Talk advice to Lego Strength-based-learning, with the theme of transformation embedded in every aspect of the sessions.

However experiencing Istanbul’s culture was never far away with an array of Turkish Food, drink and dance performances during the Social Evenings where the Networking continued over a glass of wine.

The experience has increased my desire to be involved with MPI and future events. It has also changed the way in which I’ll introduce myself following several Keynote Speakers advice and enabled me to develop an extensive international network and connections… and sample some Turkish Delights!

About Olivia:
Olivia is currently studying for a degree in Event Management at Leeds Metropolitan University. She has already accumulated a very strong track record in event management, co-ordinating a host of different festivals and congresses, whilst also studying for her degree.

About the Vanessa Cotton Memorial Scholarship:
The scholarship is available to MPI member students currently attending a meetings industry related degree in the UK or Ireland and will cover registration, accommodation and travel for at least one student to experience the professional development and networking at the MPI European Meetings & Events Conference (EMEC) 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey, 23-25 February 2014.

The recipient of the scholarship will be able to attend educational sessions and network with over 300 meetings industry professionals. Several UK & Ireland board members will be in attendance and will assist the winner to maximise their participation.

Please check back on later in the year for details of next years scholarship!