The dream of building South Africa’s best tertiary institution specifically for event coordination started 11 years ago when creative, Aleit Swanepoel, and business partner, Hans Roosenschoon, saw the rising need for professionally educated event coordinators.
The very first Aleit Academy intake had their lectures in more of a mentorship capacity – around a table in a Stellenbosch coffee shop. With no specific curriculum or any additional workshops, five students learnt from the best of the best in the wedding and event’s industry, Aleit Swanepoel, founder of The Aleit Group. From the early 2000s, the incredibly versatile hospitality and event industry has grown tremendously and boasts a wide variety of job opportunities in different fields.
Since then, The Aleit Academy team has grown in leaps and bounds, and now four dynamic ladies run the Academy with an iron (feminine) fist.
- Bianca Rijnsburger has been with the team for the longest and is our Course Executive. She designs all our students’ lecture schedules, lectures three learner programmes, coordinates the internal job shadowing within The Aleit Group as well as the second-year workshops and runs the social media marketing.
- Nicola Bernardo, our mom in the team, is usually the first contact you will have with the Academy. She is responsible for the application processes, spends time developing the courses, lectures three learner programmes and is our student accommodation manager.
- Mia Scheepers might be the youngest member of our team, but this fiery red-head works hard to place our students within the industry, coordinates the first-year’s workshop week and lectures three learner programmes. She is also part of the Aleit Academy Alumni family and graduated in 2016.
- Finally, Monique Harris is the most recent addition to the team – also an Aleit Academy Graduate (2014). She runs the first-year student practical hours, does student placements, is the in-house photographer and graphic designer, coordinates all Academy events and lectures two learner programmes.
The Aleit Academy and the events industry have had to adapt to survive the COVID-19 lockdown over the past 3-4 months, mostly by doing all interactions online.
The rigid event “rule book” of when and how to entertain has slowly been changing over the past 10 years already, with a lot of emphasis on making it your own. Following Covid-19, the re-writing process has reached its peak and a clean slate of sorts has been created upon which we can start building new event rules and creating a new entertainment norm for the future.
We, as the event industry participants, are the lucky ones to be able to influence and decide what it will look like for years to come. This will of course include an emphasis on and increase in health and safety spending at events to prevent the spread of disease. The domino effect we expect to follow is a decrease in the percentage of budget spent on décor and stationery items and a tendency for clients to host augmented smaller, more intimate events.
The chances of physical meetups being allowed again anytime soon may look slim, but it is undeniable that in-person interactions will continue to be an integral part of our cultural future. We expect an influx of wedding and event bookings in 2021, as event bookings that were postponed in 2020 will take place in addition to those who were planning on hosting events in 2021 all along. With over 30 weddings from our own venue booking list alone being postponed, we expect the 2021 calendar to be filled to the brim!
With this busy year that lies ahead, a need for capable human resources to help alleviate the increased demand will become increasingly necessary. These human resources need to be affordable, have hands-on experience and know the industry. Guess what, we’ve just described our students! They are innovative, creative entrepreneurs who would appreciate the opportunity to be involved in the process of re-inventing weddings, conferences and start new event-traditions. We are excited to shape our future event coordinators in the industry and to see how our students re-design the future event trends.