Sally Fraser, BA(Hons) International Events Management

I’m using the skills I’ve learned on my programme to organise a children’s charity’s first grand summer ball and I’m determined it’s going to be one of the season’s highlights.

I’ve have  gained valuable experience volunteering for charities, which is helping me to become a successful event manager – we’re encouraged throughout our course to get loads of work experience because you learn so much that way. I’ve helped organise concerts, conferences and balls for organisations such as Enable Scotland through our lecturers’ fantastic industry contacts, and worked as an events’ executive for the Prince’s Trust for six months. It taught me so much about the bread and butter of the industry. I’ve enjoyed volunteering in this sector so much that I’d like to focus on working in charities in my career.

Now I’m working on my biggest event yet – organising next summer’s grand ball for an amazing Lanarkshire-based charity called Project Gambia: People Feeding People It raises funds for St John’s, a school for 600 deaf children in Gambia, and supports its feeding programme as well as buying school buses and bikes for its teachers. Malnutrition in Gambia causes lots of hearing defects.

The project wants to take its work wider, so wants to organise events to support that. I’m organising its inaugural ball and while being really supportive, the charity has let this be mine. So, I’m organising everything from the drinks, the host, entertainment, auction to marketing. I’ve realised it’s OK to ask people and I’m learning lots. It’s putting everything I’ve learned at university to work. You can’t just walk into event planning. Nothing in class can prepare you for the on-the-evening crisis like a photographer not turning up!

I’d wanted to study psychology but heard about events management at an open day and got really excited as I suddenly knew this is what I should be doing. Before that I didn’t know that such a job even existed – even though I’ve always been a good organiser and as school captain had organised all our school events.

It has exceeded all my expectations. I love it. There is an amazing feel-good factor in bringing what you know to help people in need.

I have big ambitions for the ball and hope it raises a large sum of money for a very small charity that’s full of committed people. Everyone pays their own way so that every penny goes to the kids. Maybe we’ll even raise enough to expand the school – that would be amazing.