Building professional profiles

It’s hard to believe how much has happened in such a short time. It was eight years ago when the CMP Network launched in South Africa. The road has been long, sometimes bumpy, but mostly rewarding. So, where did it begin and where to from here?

Let’s start from the very beginning

From our initial investigations at Frankfurt’s IMEX eight years ago – the essential worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events – to the top of the Johannesburg Civic Centre, the contrast was significant but the view spectacular. The state-of-the-art boardroom setting had the latest amenities and all 15 of us had been registered with the kind courtesy of event support company Purple Hands. The catering was sponsored, for the first of many events, by the MICE Club.

Joanne Joham from Meeting Professionals International (MPI) gave a presentation on CMP status attainment. Following further discussions during the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) conference in Cape Town, between Joham and the MICE Club, the deal was sealed to progress to the next level.

A year later the first exam was completed in Johannesburg under the watchful eye of the adjudicator, Wits University’s Dr. Graham Hart. All seven candidates seated became CMPs.

MICE status established

Today there are some 37 CMPs in South Africa and by the end of 2012 there are likely to be over 40. This is testimony to the effective communications, marketing and promotion all South African CMPs have been processed through the CMP Network South Africa. The MICE Club name, for status attainment, changed to the CMP Network in 2009.

The promotion of CMP in South Africa has been as spectacular. The numbers of CMPs in other countries are: Italy – 26, Singapore – 22, Switzerland – 11, UK – 8, Spain – 5, and Brazil – 1.

Hard work and passion pay off

The MICE Club’s extensive time and investment in growing MICE professionalism in South Africa could not be complete without mention of major milestones achieved:

  • American Express Card financed the exam shortfall in 2006 and 2007 allowing the first seven candidates to write their exam and the second exam to be held the following year
  • special exam rental rates from Emperors Palace, Sunnyside Park Hotel, GIBS and Services SETA Training Centre
  • lengthy discussions and coordination resulting in Services SETA pilot project funding for over 25 accepted candidates
  • Markex organisers agreement to a CMP Network exhibition stand
  • adjudicators Prometric agreement for post-exam drinks and snacks
  • checking of over 150 candidate applications
  • undertaking of 23 information sessions and 15 blueprint breakaway sessions.

With limited possibility of contradiction, it’s unlikely there are any individuals or groups as thoroughly briefed on a MICE status attainment process as the CMP Network South Africa. From every possible perspective there’s been a learning curve, which has helped South Africa going forward.

Clearly the CMP programme is for experienced and knowledgeable MICE suppliers and services, which in turn provide both the private and public sector MICE buyers with a benchmark of supplier’s professional ability. The status achievers have also learnt and shared best practice with colleagues and clients therefore enhancing many suppliers bottom line.

The bigger picture

It’s been an interesting eight years resulting in the incorporation of the Network into a much bigger picture, branded as The MICE Academy. You’ll be seeing a more inclusive endorsement from our 3S Media partners. The MICE Academy will focus primarily on CPD (Continuing Professional Development) for a range of industry requirements to professionalise and build career advancement profiles. Appropriate sessions will have the red CPD logo to identify authenticity in keeping with the South African skills development requirements.

With this more inclusive role it’s likely the South African MICE industry will take on a professionalism not considered a mere five years ago. To this end the MICE Academy website is currently being populated and once complete the SA Conference e-newsletter will announce the details.

The Academy acknowledges with gratitude the support of our current strategic partners and co-branders who have embraced the MICE Academy with enthusiasm. Currently these are: Gallagher Convention Centre, ZD Marketing and our media partners MeetingsSA and the SA Conference e-newsletter and directory.

Further strategic partners have expressed interest, which will undoubtedly boost our offerings to a new level of building a MICE profession in South Africa going forward.
It‘s this positive attitude from our strategic partners that will eliminate the driving of wedges – so prevalent amongst industry groups – in favour of the building of bridges.

Long may the MICE Academy prosper!