Young people working in concert
Onkaparinga youth learn skills to boost their professional development as well as the culture of the region.
How does a group of 16 to 25-year-olds plan, prepare and deliver an event for their local community? By working hard, working together, and, judging by the success of this year’s Regen Festival, by attending the event management training course offered through Onkaparinga Youth.
Regen 2019 was coordinated by a team of 14 event management students in partnership with the City of Onkaparinga, the Southern Riders Committee, Onkaparinga Youth Committee and local youth artists. It took place in April and attracted more than 3000 people. The festival featured youth-focused market stalls; music performances by local school students and musicians; a skate, BMX and scooter competition; and the ceremony for this year’s Youth Recognition Awards.
For the young people involved, the festival was the result of months of labour. It began in October 2018, when they embarked on Onkaparinga Youth’s first ever training course in event management. It started with fortnightly meetings where council staff supported and helped develop the students’ ideas.
First on their to-do list was the delegation of different roles. “Before organising anything we put our hands up for different aspects we wanted to learn,” says participant Coleman Kain, who MC’d Regen 2019 and was involved in stage management. “There were a lot of opportunities to explore different aspects of event management including preparing risk assessments, looking at finance and considering the marketing.
“The council staff were amazing at pulling us all together and guiding us through the process of planning and delivering an event, and I think that was super important,” Coleman says. “Then we found where we fitted to bring the Regen Festival together and that’s what worked: working to our strengths.”
One of the objectives of the event management course is to ascertain and carry out the thoughts and ideas of young people, according to Jolyn Phillipps, Community Development Officer and course facilitator. The result is a melting pot of ingenuity that guides creative and innovative music, art, recreation and leadership initiatives across the region, and helps to provide platforms for the local community to recognise and celebrate youth culture — such as Regen.
“The course aims to build skills for young people and give them the opportunity to undertake accredited learning and enhance their personal and professional development as well as their careers,” Jolyn explains.
At the end of the course, the students involved will have completed seven units as part of a Certificate III in Events from TAFE SA, and it also provides other opportunities.
For Coleman and his peers, the benefits of taking part in the course far exceed even the satisfaction of running a hugely successful event for several thousand people.
“The event management course brings together likeminded people and you get to create something really cool for more than 3000 people,” Coleman says. “You don’t really get a chance to do something like that otherwise.
“For industry experience, we also went to Groovin the Moo and the Wooden Boat Fair, as well as other smaller events. I got to meet a lot of people that I wouldn’t otherwise have met, and I wouldn’t have had those opportunities if I hadn’t done the course. It’s a really good way to get a foot in the door.”
Now with the success of the Regen Festival on his resume, Coleman continues to manage events at his family’s venue in Inman Valley, as well as anything he can get his hands on. He puts what he’s learned to good use with his simple philosophy of what makes a good event: “One where people have a good time. If you see lots of smiling faces — which I certainly did at Regen — that’s a good sign.”
The 2019 festival showcased local talent (photographs courtesy of Seventh Photography), and was MC’s by Coleman Kain (picture 4), a graduate of Onkaparinga Youth’s event management course.