Meetings & Events Australia launched its specialist conference and events training college, Australian Events Academy (AEA) on Thursday, March 20, to a group of industry professionals at SMC Conference and Function Centre.
With skills shortages in the Australian events industry at an all time high, Linda P Gaunt, MEA CEO, has worked on this initiative for the past five years. A number of corporates who attended the evening were interested and are pursuing the need for tailored training to their organisation.

Personal assistant and executive assistant roles have quadrupled over the past few years and as John Whittingham, AEA manager mentioned on the evening, “these companies are multi-skilling their staff, especially EAs and PAs so they can plan their own events and conferences in-house”.
He also highlighted that the courses held by AEA help event professionals work out how to get the best tangible outcomes from an event and are able to measure their return on investment.
AEA event management course entry is suited to people who are working in, or wish to enter service segments including conventions, visitors and tourism travel organisations, meetings and events industry operations and suppliers, or hotel, club and hospitality venues.

Range of courses include: Nationally recognised qualifications eight week event management program; Nationally recognised qualifications six weeks event management program; One day courses; Event Management Essentials online course; Event Professionals Certificate; Diploma of Events SSIT50212; Advanced Diploma of Venues and Events CUEO60403; and Customised training programs.
The next eight week short course commences on April 29 with a range of one day courses to be held in May 2013.

For further information about specific AEA course content details, fee information and enrolment forms, contact AEA on 02 9929 5400 or log onto or email




Y MEA – an initiative for young industry professionals (aged 30yrs and under)

This year in VIC, Y MEA commenced with taking in the view from the West Tower Suite of Sofitel Melbourne on Collins while Belinda Ancora of Three Piece Suit and Beth Shank from the newly branded Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) presented the current trends in the Victorian business events market. Since its inception five years ago, Y MEA attendees have enjoyed expanding their industry knowledge and developing their networking skills at events with presentations and panel sessions from industry stalwarts and inspiring young future leaders.
Additional Melbourne-based Y MEA events will be held in May, July and September.

Professional Development – ongoing industry focussed development

In conjunction with VIC professional development sponsor, the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, MEA professional development sessions will cover a range of topics in 2013. These include: how to maximise the effectiveness of your sales efforts, thriving in a digital economy and the use of various social media platforms for customer engagement and promotion, and understanding and adhering to various legislative and regulatory issues impacting business events.
March saw Deborah Monk of Medicines Australia joined by Cindy-Lee Bakos AMM, of MCI Australia to present “Australian Pharmaceutical Industry Codes – make your events compliant”.

With sessions held every six to eight weeks in VIC and topics developed by events industry professionals across a variety of sectors, you are sure to find a relevant development opportunity in 2013.
The MEA Student Insights program continues to provide oppor-tunities for event students to gain valuable insights and practical tools to assist in their transition from student to professional within the events industry. Input from educators and industry has resulted in an updated program, offering better alignment with current course curriculums and more practical, interactive sessions. VIC Student Insights 2013 will be held in August.

ClubMEA – Showcasing the new, while promoting conversations, networks and initiatives

Events industry leaders all agree that effective networking is intrinsic to building and maintaining successful business relationships. ClubMEA events are designed to provide the right environment to maximise networking while providing the opportunity for venues and event suppliers to showcase various products and services. Great relationships and the abundance of world-class facilities in and around Melbourne have afforded the opportunity for some unique and exclusive experiences such as “Coldplay – What a Production”, a luncheon and behind the scenes look at Etihad Stadium during preparations for the supergroup.

Victoria MEA members began the year with an “Evening by the River” at The Boat Builders Yard and celebrated Excellence for the MEA Industry Awards VIC Gala Dinner at the Art Centre Melbourne. Some of the most anticipated events are the annual MEA VIC Trivia Night (June) and Auction Night (August) events.

Get involved in 2013

MEA, with the support of its sponsors and the volunteer members of its VIC branch committee, along with its VIC functions, professional development and Y MEA sub-committees strive to deliver events that:

  • Showcase the latest industry developments and offerings.
  • Facilitate industry collaboration by promoting the development of conversations, networks and initiatives.
  • Provide informal consultation on topical issues.
  • Foster personal and professional development through interactive presentations, workshops, live demonstrations and behind the scenes tours.

If you wish to suggest a professional development topic, get involved in one of the volunteer committees or sub-committees, or talk to MEA about showcasing your product or service at a MEA event, please contact the MEA team via email on