Reflections from the CIPD student conference

Daphne Doody, Head of CIPD Northern England.

I had the absolute pleasure of chairing our very first online student conference, which attracted an impressive turnout of over 1300 CIPD students and early career professionals not only from across the UK and Ireland, but also from Europe, the Middle East and North America.

Championing better work and working lives

The theme was all about inspiring students to be their best and opened with a wonderful 20-minute mindfulness session delivered by HR & Mindfulness consultant, Ashleigh Halpin MCIPD, which really set our students up for the day ahead.

Other HR experts and influential business leaders from organisations such as BBC, Liverpool Business School, NHS, NatWest Group and Northumberland County Council shared best practice, insight and helpful resources on big workplace issues such as wellbeing, inclusion and diversity, learning and development and ethical practice.

Our CEO, Peter Cheese provided a hugely thought-provoking welcome address focused on the profession for the future 2030 and the emerging trends expected to influence the world of work in the future.

Following this, our keynote, Eugenio Pirri, Chief People and Culture Officer and Global Diversity Champion at Dorchester Collection gave a powerful session: Be the Change you wish to see in the world, sharing his own inspiring career journey and encouraging students to be brave and bring their whole self to work.

There was also as a whole stream dedicated to career and professional development, with Ciprian Arhire, Senior Consultant Future of HR at Capgemini discussing the important core skills, knowledge and behaviours that HR and L&D professionals must develop and demonstrate.

Creating a social buzz - #CIPDStudentConf

Judging by the huge amount of instant feedback we received on the day - through the platform’s chat function - along with the hundreds of social posts via our Twitter and Linkedin channels (search #CIPDStudentConf if you’d like to take a look), our speakers proved a great hit, with delegates praising their inspiring journeys and best practice tips, whilst raising engaging questions and thoughts.

A prize for the most engaging tweet on the day went to Danielle Soens-Hughs who gained many likes for her post that shone a light on an inspirational quote from speaker Eugenio Pirri:

See challenges as opportunities

Stephanie Davies, Head of Happiness at Laughology closed our conference perfectly with a hugely engaging and humorous session supporting our students to adopt a growth mindset, providing top tips and sharing her own personal story of overcoming barriers to being dyslexic. There were so many questions in Stephanie’s session that she’s still providing answers to them on Linked in.


Added value for delegates: access content for 3-months

Networking has always been a huge and valued part of our student conferences, and the flexibility of the online platform not only allowed students to connect with peers at scale, but also access a whole range of member services and support from the comfort of their own home. 

Delegates also have access to the platform for a further 12 weeks after the conference. We are really proud of this added value as it could be a game changer for many, in how and where our future HR professionals learn and develop, as it allows them to go back and take their time to engage with all the great CIPD content and resources available on the platform.

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