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‘We need a Re-Skill and Re-Equip fund’, HBAA tells Government

HBAA’s consultant executive director, Juliet Price is asking Chancellor Rishi Sunak to create a ‘Re-Skill and Re-Equip’ fund to help viable businesses survive.

Price is calling for the fund after many event businesses, with little to no income as a result of COVID-19, are having to find money to invest in training and equipment to help clients run professionally presented virtual and hybrid events. 

“Companies involved in delivering meetings and events, the venues themselves and professional freelancers are unable to arrange, host or work on live events,” Price said.

“They are having to adapt to stay in business by creating virtual and hybrid events which for many, involves acquiring a completely new skill set and knowledge base.”

Price added that this fund should not be about retraining event professionals in other sectors, “such as cybersecurity”. Instead, the Re-Skill and Re-Equip fund will be used to “invest in re-skilling staff so they can be retained in their existing industries to meet growing demand for new ways of working, interacting and engaging, as well as a more secure future.”

HBAA is one of 24 organisations involved in the Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP). Caroline Jackson, BVEP vice-chair, who leads the industry’s Skills, Talent, Diversity & Inclusion working group added: “The decimated events industry needs targeted Government support that includes specialist training and equipment.”

Price also highlighted the need to train more event professionals to be Mental Health First Aiders. She added, “Almost one in five adults (19.2 per cent) were likely to be experiencing some form of depression during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in June 2020; this had almost doubled from around 1 in 10 (9.7 per cent) before the pandemic (July 2019 to March 2020), according to the Office for National Statistics in August.”

The HBBA represents more than 100 UK agencies and 225 venues in the business events, accommodation, meetings and events sector.