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The CIPD Annual Conference – A Beginners Guide

By Ruth Mallon

As a newly qualified CIPD Associate I am heading to the CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition (ACE) for the first time this year. I have just completed my MSc in HRM and will graduate in November. I am currently working with the HR software company myhrtoolkit in order to gain experience before I launch into my HRM career. I have gathered a number of things from reading the guide for the conference and searching online for information in blogs and articles by seasoned ACE attendees. So, what are 3 things I have found out about CIPD ACE?

  1. The two day conference is going to be packed full of different seminars, workshops and social networking events containing cutting edge developments in the HR world.

    • I have been overwhelmed by the choice, there are sessions on topics ranging from employment law and the effects of Brexit to transforming performance management and the role of technology in the workplace.

    • There are 5 different ‘streams’ available for delegates to choose from, where you can attend every seminar on a particular topic. However, I have opted to mix and match as I am not yet at the stage where I have specialised in one area of HR.

  3. An exhibition hall hosts 180+ industry suppliers who will be showcasing their products and services as well as checking out the competition and gaining knowledge on the current trends in the world of HR.

    • I have heard from a reputable source that the exhibition is much quieter in the mornings and, therefore, you are more likely to get the chance to have meaningful conversations with the suppliers you want to speak to, or just be able wander round with a bit more freedom in order to get a feel for the services that are available. Exhibitors will always have time for your questions during this lull.

    • There is a list of all the exhibitors online, if you are wanting to get the most out of the exhibition it might be worth looking at the list and preparing a list of the stands you want to make sure you get to.

  5. There will be over 1200 HR professionals, all in one place, having chosen to commit two days to learning and developing their knowledge and business, as well as networking with other leading HR people.

    • In order to get the most out of the conference I have decided I am going to have to put on my ‘conference personality’ and boldly get out and speak to people. To be rubbing shoulders with some of the leading HR professionals in the UK and not try to gain even just a little of their knowledge of the field does not seem wise to me.

    • I am going to go armed with a number of questions and be prepared to try and talk to as many people as possible, because you never know when the insight they can give, or a connection you have made, might help you in years to come.

Although I have a delegate pass, during the conference I am technically working for exhibitor myhrtoolkit. I am therefore going to be at the conference with a foot in two camps. I am sure I will be thrown in the deep end by the company, showing interested delegates the HR software system and how it works, or running out to get a round of tea for the Yorkshire based team, who constantly seem to have a brew on the go. On the other hand, I will be trying to get to every session and meet all of the leading HR experts in order to try and gain as much knowledge as possible, purely for the selfish reason that I am very interested. I am preparing for two days where I hardly get a chance to breathe and I can’t wait. What are you looking forward to at this year’s CIPD ACE? Is it your first time? I’d love to meet you on the myhrtoolkit stand (F40) and hear how you are finding the conference. I will report back after the show with some insight as to how I got on and what I learned during the conference.

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