Read about our alumni students careers after studying their degrees at Napier and hear what they have to say about their experience studying a degree in Tourism Hospitality Festival and Events Management including their advice to current students

Headshot of Tourism alumna, EllenJessica McClure

Jessica McClure graduated in 2021 with a First Class Honours degree in International Festival and Events Management and has worked in a variety of roles within the hospitality and events sector. She is currently working for the Law Society of Scotland and discusses how she is now using her degree in the legal sector.

I am fortunate to say that I have had a very straightforward post-graduation journey despite the challenges of graduating with a degree in Event Management during a time at which the world’s events industry was brought to a standstill by the pandemic. Between submitting my dissertation and my official graduation, I worked on a number of projects at ENU and did some free-lancing in online-event management, all while I applied and interviewed for numerous full-time positions. After a month or so of this, I secured my job at the Law Society, and the rest is history! 

Can you talk about your current role at the Law Society of Scotland?

Absolutely- first thing to note is that I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would be using my degree in Festival and Event Management to work in the legal sector, and yet, here I am! This role has widened my understanding for the incalculable reach and diversity of the events industry, taught me a wide set of unique skills and introduced me to a whole different field and knowledge-base. In my role I organise between 15 and 20 events a year, in online, in-person and hybrid formats and by producing these events I have had the privilege of working with judges, high-profile lawyers and activists, to name a few. 

What are you passionate about in the work that you do?

I think the three things that I am most driven by is: the areas in which I have left to grow my knowledge and experience in event management and the impact my work has the Scottish legal profession.

Firstly, having room for continued growth and learning is very important to me not only because it keeps me engaged and motivated in the work place, but also because it means that even post-uni, I am continuing to invest in my professional future. Despite being in the role for nearly 1.5 years now there is a lot left to learn and new ideas to develop– which I find incredibly exciting. 

Secondly, I have always been intent on working in a field where my work has a positive impact. I feel that working in the legal sector means that my time and efforts are going towards a good cause. In the past our events have covered themes such as human rights, equal rights, charity law, and environmental law; to name a few projects that I found particularly rewarding.

In what ways has your experience at ENU had an impact on your career and shaped who you are today?

I could write a list a mile long of the ways in which ENU has shaped myself and my future. Making life-long friends and experiencing living abroad for the first time, for example, would by no means be insignificant items on that list. 

In terms of my career specifically, however, I would say that ENUs biggest impact on my career was a combination of the quality and diversity of the subjects offered, the support and dedication of the teaching staff, the flexibility of my schedule which enabled me to work while studying, and most importantly, the undertaking of a placement while at uni. 

Being able to complete a degree that enabled me to gain industry-experience was a leading factor in my choice to go to Napier, as well as choosing to study IFEM specifically. I firmly believe that I have my placement– which I undertook in the Netherlands at a high-profile international organisation– to thank for finding employment straight out of university during the pandemic.

What career advice would you give to current ENU students?

My piece of advice would be to get involved. ENU has so many different resources, societies, and projects looking for support, be sure to take some time at Uni to get involved wherever you can, in whatever interests you. I worked on a number of different red triangle projects while at Uni and was both a student ambassador and student representative. Being involved in these extracurricular activities helped me gain experiences which made me more employable, helped me widen my professional network… and I had a lot of fun to boot!

Tourism alumna, Ellen standing on a mountainEllen McCrossan

Ellen McCrossan is a student in the BA International Tourism Management at Edinburgh Napier University. She participated in study abroad in the 2021/2022 academic year at the Munich University of Applied Sciences in Germany, also known as Hochschule München (HM).

What made you decide to study at Munich University of applied sciences?

There was a range of universities to choose from, but I wanted to focus more on tourism than business modules. HM has the largest tourism department in Germany, therefore I knew there were going to be many modules to choose from. Also, Munich is a great base to travel from: it is around an hour and a half from the Alps, and close to Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic and Switzerland.

What was the highlight of your experience?

Definitely meeting so many international students! It really changes your perspective of your home country and your understanding of different cultures. As a tourism student, this contributed to my cultural competence. Being able to travel using this competence was also useful: once you make connections you are able to travel further.

Did you face any challenges, and how did you overcome them?

I struggled with the cultural differences: people from Munich were more direct than where I am from in Northern Ireland. This was shown in daily tasks like going shopping or taking the underground trains. You just have to adapt to this large change but knowing that other students from home felt the same helped with the transition.

What are your ambitions for the future?

As I have lived abroad for a year, I know I would like to do this again in my career. It was a great learning opportunity. I also have a more international perspective; I would like to work outside of the UK to continue learning about different cultures.

What advice would you give to current ENU students who are considering study abroad?

The experience and friends you make will outweigh the paperwork! 

festival and events management alumna, BreigeBreige Swift

Breige Swift graduated in 2012 with a BA (Hons) in Festival and Events Management with Human Resources from Edinburgh Napier University. She is currently an Events Manager with responsibility for Themed Years and other project areas including Responsible Tourism at EventScotland. As Scotland's national events agency, EventScotland is a team within VisitScotland and they work to assess grant funding applications, bid for, develop and create events opportunities that will deliver significant social and economic impacts and international media profile for Scotland.

What has your journey been like after graduating?

I took an unpaid placement as part of my degree and that proved instrumental in helping me find my first job out of uni, as I returned to the Edinburgh Mela Festival year on year – eventually becoming their full time General Manager from 2013. It’s not been a totally straightforward journey as I was made redundant from a job I really loved in 2016, but I’ve found working in festivals and events in Edinburgh a really rewarding and positive experience overall. Taking short-term contracts across events and festivals and building my network have been crucial to gain experience and open doors. I was lucky enough to be recruited into EventScotland in September 2016, initially on a fixed-term maternity cover contract, but other opportunities came along internally, and I am lucky to have now been full time with the organisation for a few years.

Can you talk about your current role at EventScotland?

My full job title is ‘Events Manager – Themed Years and Special Projects’. In my current role, I am leading on the development and delivery of a special national programme of celebratory public events to showcase our current Themed Year - The Year of Stories 2022. I also work across EventScotland's wider portfolios with responsibility for Science, Mela and Fashion events as well as Responsible Tourism. We are chiefly a grant funding body but as the national agency, work hard to support the industry, working closely with grantees and wider partners to help maximise the positive impacts of events and festivals across Scotland and beyond.

What are you passionate about in the work that you do?

I feel really lucky to be so passionate about the work I do. I was born and bred in Edinburgh and the thriving events, arts and cultural sectors here provided a source of inspiration and a natural career path for me. I never realized how lucky I was as a kid growing up to have so much on my doorstep, and those quality, authentic and life-enriching experiences are something I am passionate about providing access to for others, from all walks of life. Obviously, our daily work and priorities have taken a major shift following the pandemic and the need to respond to the climate crisis as well as the current cost of living challenges. All of these factors are putting pressure on tourism and events and that’s tough for everyone, but it’s really rewarding to play a role in the recovery and sustainable development of these industries.

In what ways has your experience at ENU had an impact on your career and shaped who you are today?

ENU provided one of the first and most respected degrees in Festivals and Events Management and that’s been amazing for opening doors in my field. I always felt supported by my tutors at Napier who have regularly checked in with me over the years since graduating and, more recently, I have really enjoyed returning to ENU as a guest lecturer and visitor and to meet and answer the questions of students today.

What career advice would you give to current ENU students?

I know it’s a really challenging time at the moment, but rather than let that demotivate you, I would encourage students to be reassured that the current challenges mean that skilled and dedicated people are even more in demand. Keep a finger on the pulse and dig in where you are passionate and can make a difference – be that sustainable development, social media and marketing, digital or other innovations. Do also look out for networking events and conferences and for shorter term or volunteering opportunities relevant to what you want to do longer term as I’ve really found they can open doors and expand your horizons – good luck!

Festival and Events management alumnus, CameronCameron Hughes

Cameron Hughes graduated from Edinburgh Napier University in 2021 with a First Class joint honours degree in International Festival and Event Management with Marketing and is currently a freelancer working in a variety of roles in the live music and events industry.

What has your journey been like after graduating?
Having worked in numerous events and marketing roles alongside my studies, I took the plunge straight into full-time freelance work as soon as I graduated. In my first twelve months, I’ve worked at countless gigs and festivals in many different roles across the UK and abroad.

Can you talk about your current roles?
I currently work across a number of events and festivals in lots of different on-site roles, allowing me to develop a breadth of experience and knowledge in various areas. Some of my roles include Event Manager, Stage Manager, Tour Manager, Promoter Rep, Artist/Talent/VIP Liaison, Sustainability Manager, and Brand Activation Manager, among others. In addition, I sit on the board of Hidden Door Festival and have recently started to work in Artist/Music Management.

What are you passionate about in the work that you do?
I’m a big advocate of sustainability and accessibility in events and was able to hone in on these areas during my degree, including through my dissertation, which explored the accessibility of festivals and events for people living with young-onset dementia. I’ve since been able to apply my knowledge in these areas and have a positive impact by working in sustainability and accessibility roles within the industry.

In what ways has your experience at ENU impacted your career and shaped who you are today?
Firstly, moving to Edinburgh - the World’s ‘Festival City’ - put the industry right on my doorstep. This enabled me to work on a multitude of events and find areas I might (and might not) want to work in after graduating. While studying at Edinburgh Napier, I was able to forge new opportunities for myself and others by conceptualising and delivering my own events as well as founding and leading both an Events Society and Armed Forces Network. I was always supported hugely by staff at The Business School and was very fortunate to receive recognition as the Association for Event Management Education’s first UK Event Management Student of the Year, having been nominated by my Programme Leader. Cheers David!

What advice would you give to current ENU students?
Embrace every opportunity, create your own luck and be relentless. There are so many things to get involved with while studying and time really flies - I promise you - so grab what you can while you can and run with it.