The next generation of meeting and event planners are cutting their teeth at TAFE SWSi with live events like the annual Flowers in Motion exhibition.

The old adage “practice makes perfect” has been applied to all kinds of learning and while scientists continue to debate the hours and type of practice required for success, one thing is clear: training improves performance and changes the brain.

And the new breed of event planners set to take over the industry are honing their critical and creative thinking with hands-on event management courses like those offered at TAFE South Western Sydney Institute (SWSi).

“Event management courses are becoming increasingly popular,” TAFE SWSi events teacher, Amanda Ivanac, says.

“We have more than 180 students per year studying a number of qualifications – whether it be part-time, full-time, face-to-face delivery, or via flexible learning – and looking forward, employment for conference and event organisers to November 2018 is expected to grow very strongly, particularly with the opening of the International Convention Centre Sydney in 2016.”

TAFE SWSI offers event management courses that include Certificate III in Events, Diploma of Events, and Advanced Diploma of Events and according to Ms Ivanac, the practical learning involved helps prepare events management students to be job ready.

“Students develop employability skills through active participation in orchestrating multifaceted events in conjunction with their theory-based learning.

“TAFE SWSi event teachers work with key industry partners and local councils and communities in building a profile of multifaceted events for students to orchestrate throughout the year,” Ms Ivanac says.

“Each semester students who have undertaken a Diploma and Advanced Diploma of Events have the opportunity to project manage these events.”

Each year TAFE SWSi’s event management students conduct around eight major events, and in 2014 these included the ISES Student Forum (200-delegate conference and team-building), Pets in the Park (150-delegate art exhibition and cocktail reception), and Flowers in Motion (1200-delegate parade and cocktail reception).

Event profile

“Flowers in Motion has it all,” Ms Ivanac says.

“There’s a fabulous variety of floral displays, entertainment, delicious food and drinks along with an innovative parade of fashion and flowers.”

Now in its fifth year, Flowers in Motion takes place in a converted aircraft hangar at Padstow TAFE and features a cocktail reception followed by a two-part fashion parade that showcases floral couture. The 2014 event followed the theme ‘A Symphony of Flowers’ as more than 50 models paraded more than 10,000 flowers in elaborate floral pieces created by floristry students.

The event incorporates student showcases from various industries such as floristry, hairdressing, beauty, hospitality, and photography, and the entire event is managed by Diploma of Events students.

“The students have to manage all aspects of the event,” Ms Ivanac says.

“Their role in coordinating Flowers in Motion is to define the scope of the event, develop project plans, conduct a team SWOT analysis, manage key stakeholders, and evaluate the event.

“Over the course of six months, student portfolios showcase their capability in developing sponsorship proposals, budgets, and critical time paths, run sheets, production schedules and so on.”

Diploma of Events students have been managing Flowers in Motion for the past three years and over this time the event has grown from 150 delegates to more than 1200 in 2014.

With this, event sponsors have also increased. The 2014 exhibition, which took place in November, saw a 50 per cent increase in sponsorship and engaged industry heavyweights AV1, Decorative Events, Romeo’s Chair and Sydney Wide Party Hire as key industry partners. m

For more information about TAFE SWSi, visit