9 March 2020

Moomal Unar, MSc in Human Resource Management student, shares her experience of the CIPD Scotland Student Conference.
Student participants at the CIPD conference

As promised following my Leadership Training blog, here is my account of the CIPD Student Conference. I'll start by saying it was a privilege to be sponsored by the Business School to attend the full-day Annual Student Conference organised by the CIPD (the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development). The event was hosted in Glasgow, which meant a fun train journey with friends (peers!). Off to a great start!

A Day in Glasgow

We took the 07:45 train and reached a cold morning in Glasgow in plenty of time for 09:00 (by plenty I mean 15 minutes). But hey, that's exactly the time we needed to walk to the venue, 'The Studio', and warm up to the environment. We were greeted by CIPD event organisers where we signed up, and the early birds (students who managed to book their conference ticket by December 2019) got some fancy CIPD notepads and pens. That's a heads up for those who might be attending next year!

Students walking in Glasgow

Breakfast Networking

The day started with breakfast and networking: coffee, bagels, cereal bars, fruit, and more. You could sense the positivity and enthusiasm in the room. There were students and HR professionals from all across Scotland attending. Any questions you have on HR, this was the day to ask them. Someone here would certainly have an insight.

Fair Work and Ethical Practices

We officially started the day with a session by James Saville, HR Director, University of Edinburgh, who helped us get a realistic insight into what a HR Director's day looks like, and what the role roughly entails. Moving on, we discussed fair work with Professor Patricia, Co-chair of the Scotland's Fair Work convention, and came to learn a lot about Scotland's stance on implementing fair work practices and the far-reaching impact it would have. Up next we had an interactive session on Ethical Practices, whereby we were exposed to some real-world examples of workplace ethical dilemmas and explored how different individuals in their varying capacities can, and would, respond to these dilemmas.

At this Scotland-wide conference, we next discussed the role of standardisation in HR compliance issues and the significance with respect to the potential risks, and also how the HR model has evolved over the course of many decades. It was interesting to learn about the career journeys of all the speakers and how their HR careers have evolved, and continue to do so.

Culture, Boardrooms, and Innovating

How could we not discuss culture on a day dedicated to HR, and in a space filled with HR enthusiasts and HR Professionals alike? Siobhan Sheridan, Civilian HR Director, Ministry of Defence, did an incredible job elaborating on this aspect of the workplace and beyond.

Cultivating a Commercial Mindset with Craig Martin, Head of HR Operations at C&C Group, was our next stop. Some of the most intriguing questions, like why HR is not taken seriously, or why does HR struggle to get a place in the boardroom, were discussed here alongside the importance of data analytics, and of building a legacy wherever you work by innovating and thinking out of the box.

The day was incredible because alongside all the formal learning and interactive sessions, there were also ample networking opportunities with tea-breaks and lunch, and everyone was approachable and professional.

The conference culminated with a panel discussion wherein all the speakers from throughout the day came together and took questions from the audience on a variety of themes revolving around HR, leaving us further enlightened.

At about 16:30 me and my bunch, tired but elated, gathered our coats and started to make our way back to the station, with loads of pictures, memories, and broadened visions and networks.

I would like to say thank you to the Business School for the opportunity. Until next time, enjoy the journey!

Moomal Unar

Moomal Unar is studying for the MSc Human Resource Management.