The NEC has teamed up with Birmingham-based University of Central England to launch a course offering a professional diploma and master's degree in exhibition management.
Andrew Morris, chief executive of the NEC, said so far the sector had seen no formal qualification or real training.
He went on: "The exhibition industry has been a sleeping giant with a £9 billion impact on the economy.
"Yet, if we are not careful, the industry will fail in its bid to develop if it doesn't attract and train the right calibre of staff. We are taking the initiative by launching a new course that will be the first professional diploma and master's degree in the field of managing exhibitions and events. We aim to lead the way and improve standards across the industry and I believe this mould-breaking initiative is destined to make Birmingham the hotbed of new talent in our industry."
The course, the first of its kind in the UK, is designed to cover the key professional management and general skills needed to successfully create and organise exhibitions, conferences and other events.
As part of its commitment to the initiative the NEC Group will contribute its expertise in shaping course content and providing speakers and placements.
The course has been created for individuals working in related event management areas, such as technicians, catering managers and marketing and PR assistants, as well as graduates from disciplines such as media, tourism, business and marketing.
A total of £3,000 in bursaries is being committed by the NEC in the first year.