Monday, 19 May 2014

#PlaceNet14 Preview

Ahead of this week's conference, PlaceNet Trustee and placement blogger Graham Kaye-Taylor shares his thoughts on what is to come in Leeds.

Is it really that time of the year again already? It barely seems like 12 minutes since #PlaceNet13 drew to a close, let alone 12 months, but here we are on the eve of another conference. The Trustees have been working hard behind the scenes to piece together what we believe will be our best conference yet and I for one can't wait for Wednesday lunchtime to come around.

From where I sit, the placement industry appears to be in a period of change. While it is too early to generalise, 8 months into working with the first cohort of £9k sandwich placement students I can see anecdotal evidence of how the fee changes has impacted on at least some of my courses. Employability remains high on the agenda and I'm seeing more postgraduate courses offering mandatory or optional internships. With that in mind I'm particularly looking forward to hearing from Dr Lorna Warnock and Dr Hilary Jones regarding their study into producing competency frameworks for postgraduate internships. The session on International Placement Perspectives strikes a chord as my institution plans to expand overseas work experience opportunities for our students. As somebody with more than a passing interest in Social Media, I'm also excited to hear what the founder of Career Geek Blog has to say.

Away from the conference floor comes plenty of opportunity for networking. We've tapped into the local knowledge of our members to book Bibis restaurant. Our Thursday afternoon social remains wrapped in secrecy but I'm assured that this year it does not involve boats. We have also introduced 'Fresher's Drinks' which are loosely themed networking sessions. Wednesday evening I will be hosting (with sponsors RateMyPlacement) drinks for delegates 'New to the Profession', while Thursday night (sponsored by Cogent) offers the chance to network regarding 'Progression in Career'.

This will be my third PlaceNet conference and I expect a very different experience from previous events. In Liverpool I arrived as a relative unknown but received a warm welcome both from the Trustees and delegates. In Bristol last year I was given the platform to speak to the conference and participate in the Q&A panel session. This year, I'm very much part of the establishment and have a greater appreciation of all the hard work that goes into organising an event such as this.

Have a safe journey and my fellow Trustees and I look forward to welcoming you to Leeds.

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