Entertainment Manager

The Job and What's Involved

Entertainment managers plan and organise events of many kinds, from cabaret and discos, to children's activities and street festivals.

Their work differs according to each job and employer, but may include organising:

  • Cabaret, shows, dances and discos at hotels and clubs.
  • Dance classes, competitions and children's activities at holiday, leisure and entertainment centres, and on cruise ships.
  • Exhibitions, plays, street festivals, firework displays and children's holiday workshops for local councils or event venues.

Some entertainment managers have the same entertainers working with them at regular venues. Others may have to devise full entertainment/event programme's. Tasks may include:

  • Finding venues and checking their suitability for particular types of entertainment, taking into account facilities such as changing areas, scenery storage and public parking.
  • Researching and booking suitable performers.
  • Contacting agents.
  • Negotiating bookings and fees.
  • Obtaining items for specific acts.
  • Arranging publicity.

Entertainment managers also carry out administrative tasks such as completing booking paperwork and drawing up contracts. They spend lots of time liaising with fellow staff members, people maintaining equipment, performers and the public.

Entertainment managers usually work flexible hours, and may need to attend evening meetings and performances.

Some entertainment managers are employed permanently or on a fixed-term contract. Others are self-employed and work on separate contracts for each job. Some of the work is seasonal.

Work is usually office-based, but involves spending some time at entertainment venues. These vary in size, quality of facilities and temperature - sometimes they can be hot and smoky, at other times cold and draughty.

The work is likely to involve some travel. It may be necessary to relocate, or stay away from home for long periods. A driving licence is useful, and sometimes required for traveling between venues.

Starting salaries for entertainment managers are around £12,000 a year. Self-employed managers are paid set or negotiated fees for each job.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

Entertainment managers are employed by a variety of organisations, including local councils, hotel and leisure companies, cruise and holiday park operators, clubs and individual entertainment/event organisations.

Jobs are available throughout the UK and overseas. More winter work is becoming available as increasing numbers of cruise ships offer winter holidays, and more sophisticated indoor holiday centres are being developed in the UK.

Entertainment manager jobs may be advertised in local or national newspapers, in The Stage, and on the websites of major entertainment and leisure operators. Jobs in hotels, holiday parks, theme parks and cruise ships are advertised at www.residententertainers.com.

Education and Training

There is no set entry route, but previous experience in the entertainment industry is useful, and is often required. Most entrants are adults.

Degrees, foundation degrees and HND's in the following subjects can provide a useful background for management roles in the entertainment industry:

- Business studies
- Marketing
- Hospitality
- Event management

Entry to degree courses is with five GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3) and a minimum of two A levels/three H grades, or equivalent. Entry to HND courses is with four GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3) and one A level/two H grades, or equivalent. Entry requirements may vary, so candidates should check with individual colleges or universities.

'Creative Apprenticeships', covering a variety of creative fields, are being piloted in the London area from September 2006. They are likely to be available nationally from September 2007. Further information is available from Creative & Cultural Skills.

Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.

Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For further information visit My World of Work www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships, Careers Wales www.careerswales.com; and for Northern Ireland contact www.careersserviceni.com.

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Training usually involves informal, on-the-job learning. Individual employers may provide training in the form of short courses and workshops.

Some larger organisations may offer opportunities to take formal qualifications such as the ISPAL awards.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

An entertainment manager should:

  • Be confident, positive and outgoing.
  • Have good communication skills.
  • Be flexible and able to respond quickly to changing situations.
  • Have administrative, marketing and negotiation skills.
  • Be a good organiser.
  • Be hard-working and energetic.
  • Have a good knowledge of health and safety requirements.

Your Long Term Prospects

In large organisations, it is usual to start as a team leader or assistant manager, and then work up to a management position. It is then possible to progress to head of department or to a wider management role.

There are opportunities to work overseas.

Get Further Information

Equity, Guild House,
Upper St Martins Lane, London WC2H 9EG
Tel: 020 7379 6000
Website: www.equity.org.uk

ISPAL, The Grotto House,
Lower Basildon, Reading RG8 9NE
Tel: 0845 603 8734
Website: www.ispal.org.uk

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