King in The North

On 30 March I’ve got the pleasure of taking part in and speaking at the North of England CIPD Student Conference, taking place in Liverpool. In this blog I’ll explore what’s going on at the conference and will also give a short update to this blog after the event.

First off, if you haven’t got a ticket for this event then they are still available up to the day itself and you can access both the programme and tickets HERE.

There’s a number of things must be said about this conference, and its other regional variants.

  1. Its billed as for students, but really its for anyone looking to develop their HR career. Just look at the programme and the sheer quality of the speakers and different events happening, not just in The North but at each of the other regional events. At £35+VAT this is an absolute bargain and I know of no other HR/OD/L&D conference that offers such good quality for such a low price. Certainly none of the other CIPD events come close.
  2. This one is for, and in, The North.  That means its the best. There’s simply no argument about this. Its also in Liverpool, which is a good thing because that city often suffers in comparison to Manchester when it comes to HR-type events, so its only right this happens there.
  3. Its on a Saturday – this immediately gives it a different vibe, a more relaxed ethos, than HR conferences that take place on weekdays.  It also doesn’t seem to be putting people off attending either. Great quality learning without interfering with the working week.
  4. For students, this is top quality learning that will likely top, for sheer value alone, much of their formal learning. And I say that as someone who gets involved a lot in the formal learning students do.

I do a lot of work with CIPD students, and have done for about 15 years since I stopped studying myself. Its great to have tutored and supported so many students at the outset of their HR careers, and to have made so many good friends as a result.

As I will be saying at the conference, as a tutor it really makes my day to help others learn about HR and leadership and about themselves – but I also learn a lot about myself and grow as a result. There really is no drawback.

On the day I’m involved in two things. The first is a panel discussion with other senior HR professionals discussing our careers to date and sharing advice (or in my case, mistakes) and taking questions.  The second is one of my by now infamous Ignite talks, this one on the value of professionalism in the future world of work.  If you’ve heard me do an Ignite talk before, you have an inkling as to what’s coming.  If you haven’t, then if you stay till the end you’ll see.

I’m looking forward to both, and to closing off what looks to be an amazing conference.

Have I mentioned how good value this conference is?

Have I also mentioned its for, and in, The North?

Have you booked your ticket yet?

Not that anyone is taking it for granted, but when I was a CIPD student 20 years ago there were no student conferences, so its great to see this being offered and so many students taking up the opportunity.

I’ll give an update to this blog here once the event has happened – hopefully I’ll see some of you there.

Till next time…

Gary

PS in other news, our period of high stress in our lives continues, and I know its having a detrimental effect on me at least, and no doubt my wife too. Hopefully our situation will resolve itself soon.

A Modern Learning Professional

Last week I was pleased to be able to speak at #cipdLDshow on the subject of being a modern learning professional, and this blog expands upon some of the things I spoke about.

I had a great time at the event – it was my first time attending, with the London venue being offputting in terms of the out of proportion cost and time of travel making it not as easy to get to – but I’m glad I went this time.

I caught a few of the exhibition’s free sessions, all of which were well attended, and enjoyed my lengthy browse around the exhibition itself.

My own session was at the very end of Day Two, which initially made me worry that it would be affected by people nipping off early, but of the 90 or so who were booked to attend, I’d say over two thirds made it, which was great.

The format for the session I was in was based on the Ignite format – there were 3 speakers, each delivering a 10 minute Ignite Max presentation, with slides auto advancing every 30 seconds. After that we moved into facilitated discussions around the key themes that emerged from each talk.

I had the difficult task of following the excellent Fiona McBride and Julian Stodd, both of whom did great talks.

My own talk was on the subject of being A Modern Learning Professional, and intended to give a light-hearted look at how the world of L&D has evolved since I joined it back in the mid to late 1990s.

As is becoming usual for me, I delivered the Ignite Max talk in full rhyme.  You can see a recording of this, courtesy of the amazing Ady Howes:

Although it was a light hearted look at things, I was intending to observe a few happenings and I’ll summarise them here – I’d love to know your views on these or even chat to you about them – give me a shout if so.

Here’s the main points:

  • The L&D world I joined back in the mid to late 1990s is almost unrecognisable from the one we inhabit today.  That said, there are still a few self styled great trainers around who cling to how things used to be, one of which I pastiche in the video.
  • When I delivered just training, no matter how good I or it was, it wasn’t integrated into the business
  • The skills that attracted me to and got me into L&D are no longer the skills I find I rely upon in modern L&D
  • I’ve become very much an all rounder, and have developed some skills I didn’t think were part of the L&D skillset – like using technology more and more, being an integrated part of and knowing all about HR, and curating information and resources – they’re all helpful now, but they don’t come natural to me
  • To be effective in my role, I need to view organisations as systems and see learning and skills as one part of that system – but focus as much on improving the other parts as improving learning and skills

And the talk seemed to go down very well indeed.  The facilitated discussion I led afterwards confirmed that lots of other people were wrestling with and debating the same issues, and we attempted to brainstorm some ideas about how we can cope with the continued evolution of our skillset, and where that might take us.

Overall, a very enjoyable day!

Till next time…

Gary

PS in other news, its open water swimming season now, but for me its still too damned cold to get into my wetsuit and start swimming – it seems like spring has only just started, I’ll wait a few weeks!