RAI has high ambitions for fostering talent

Date: 22/02/2023


RAI Amsterdam, a longstanding member of AIPC, is the exclusive sponsor of the 2022-2023 edition of Future Shapers, the AIPC talent programme. The RAI is a role model when it comes to attracting and fostering talents, both by promoting a career in the event industry at high-schools and universities and by offering a wide range of professional trainings to its staff.

During a video-conference, Maurits van der Sluis (COO at the RAI), explains that the management of his organization firmly believes in investing into talent. In that sense, supporting the AIPC talent programme is a next logical step.

At the RAI, a lot of attention is given to both attracting and fostering talent. Recognizing that there is a war for talent at the moment, the RAI applies a “bring the outside in” policy, actively scouting for talent at high-schools and universities. To that purpose, partnerships have been set up with institutions such as Hotelschool The Hague, HL Stenden, BUAS, Windesheim and ROCvA in order to highlight the importance of the events industry, to collaborate on projects and to attract young professionals.

Attracting talent is one thing, retaining and growing these talents a completely different one. On this front, van der Sluis insists on the fact that there is no “one size fits all”, as needs and expectations from individuals can be profoundly different. Therefore, the HR department of the RAI has developed a range of programmes, from the more “classic” internal training to tailor-made programmes for high-potentials. Here again, the partnerships mentioned above bring great value as they provide the RAI with “insider” insights on the type of education offered and the value it can bring to the organization.

As a result of these efforts, the RAI is very successful in attracting and retaining the talent in needs to deals with both a changing market landscape when it comes to customer requirements and the increased use of technology, both at the level of the customer experience and at the level of the convention center management.

Coming back to AIPC’s Future Shapers, van der Sluis tells that he was very impressed by both the quality of the lectures and the level of ambition when it comes to addressing event industry challenges of the first edition. “The presentations given by the Future Shapers at the AIPC Annual Conference in Budapest were extremely professional and relevant – for a moment I thought these were existing companies pitching their products. Instead, these were two teams consisting of convention center talents, who met face-to-face for the first time two days before their performance.”

As part of the Future Shapers programme, the participants are indeed asked to come up with an idea, which in their view could (re-)shape the future of convention centers. Not only do they need to explain the concept they have in mind, they also need to articulate the value it will bring and do a high level impact estimate in terms of time and budget. Similar to the previous edition of the programme to which Maurits refers, the entire Future Shapers Task Force – which coordinates and supports the programme – was surprised (amazed might be a better word) by the quality and level of innovation of the ideas put forward for this year’s edition.

While the ideas touched upon very different areas – from sustainability to catering and technology – they all had one common denominator: to drastically improve the value offered to customers by convention centers. It clearly demonstrates what this industry is really about: providing the best possible experience.

Unfortunately, only two ideas can make it to the next stage, which is about transforming the concept into a business proposal to be presented by these talents at the 2023 AIPC Annual Conference in Luxembourg. We will not disclose the winners yet, but you might want to know that both concepts of the previous edition have been/are being transformed into real products, which will make a tremendous difference for convention center management. So watch this space!

Sven Bossu

Scroll to Top