26 April, 2017

The South African exhibition and events industry can deliver world-class events but have very few qualifications which recognise the high level of skills involved. The EXSA Academy has been established to address skills development and to help its members and the wider events industry, to comply with Health & Safety legislation which requires everyone working on events to be trained, experienced and qualified. Additionally, transformation and BBBEE requirements are major issues which also require skills development, continuous professional development and qualifications.
The EXSA Academy’s starting point is to identify all jobs in the exhibitions industry and then identify the skills, training and experience required for competence, then RPL (recognition of prior learning) to prove that the requirements of the job profiles have been met.
It soon became apparent to the Academy that event management has an established career path but the event technical stream has not received the same attention. Besides carpenters and electricians, there are very few qualifications for the events technical stream, where the skills levels start at School standard 5, for an event porter and go all the way up to NQF level 6 and 7 (degrees) for stand designers.
Thousands of temporary workers undertake basic jobs at exhibitions and events. To allow these workers to meet health and safety regulations, the EXSA Academy profiled the following jobs:
Event porters Event carpet layers
Shell scheme assistants Event furniture hire – crew
Event furniture hire – warehouseman Shell stand installer
Event furniture hire – senior crew Event furniture hire – senior warehouseman
Stand construction assistant Event furniture hire – crew supervisor
Event furniture hire – warehouse supervisor Shell scheme team leader
Event furniture hire – reservations Event furniture hire – reservation supervisor
Our thanks to the exhibition professionals who helped develop these job profiles. The EXSA Academy now needs the rest of the exhibition industry to study these job profiles and let us have comments and corrections, plus identify other jobs which need profiling.
For the last 40 years, the exhibition industry has trained their own staff and assessed their competence, that is how the industry has grown from the 11 companies who founded EXSA, back in 1980. The EXSA Academy’s mandate is to facilitate skills development but not to become a training provider, plus to act as registrar, recording all of the competence and qualifications gained.
Municipalities, venues, safety officers and City EMS demand event safety files from suppliers, which include proof of staff training. Even exhibition organisers require proof that all of the suppliers they engage have staff who are experienced, trained and qualified.
The EXSA Academy is now asking exhibition professionals to formally train their staff and assess their competence against the jobs profiled, just as they have always done. ‘Formally train and assess’ simply means that training documents are developed which ensure that everyone receives the same training and assessments, for every job. These training documents can then be submitted to the EXSA Academy, together with proof of ID and experience, photos and a fee, then the company will receive a Certificate of Membership of the EXSA Academy for the employee, together with an identity card to be worn at events showing that the wearer has met the requirements of the specified job profile.
Once all of the basic event jobs have been profiled, the EXSA Academy will move on to the senior event technical jobs:
Event technical coordinator – at NQF level 5
Exhibition stand builder – at NQF level 5/6
Exhibition stand designer – at NQF level 6/7 – possibly as an elective subject to an Interior designer degree at NQF level 6.
A great deal of input will be required from relevant exhibition professionals, on these senior event technical jobs, to ensure maximum legal compliance
The EXSA Academy will be meeting with the Services SETA to discuss funding and guidance on the development of event technical qualifications which will be registered with SAQA.
Finally, the high level of skill in the South African exhibition industry will be recognised and bench-marked to protect them from litigation and the public from unqualified chancers. These exhibition bench-marks/qualifications will allow us to compete favourably for International event

for more information visit: