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Annie Hayes

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HRD 2006: Why go?

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It’s the largest and most influential conference in the learning and development calendar with impressive speakers including Sir Bob Geldof to boot but is it worth the bother? We invited the CIPD to persuade us.



Now in its 21st year, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) annual learning and development Conference and Exhibition, HRD 2006, reflects the changing role of the learning and development profession over the past two decades.

It is the largest and most influential conference in the learning and development calendar and is designed to keep people management and development professionals up to date on key issues. HRD brings together leaders from across the learning community – top coaches, organisational development specialists, gurus, senior practitioners from the private, public and not-for-profit sectors and public policy makers.

We have seen the profession shift from one that was predominantly concerned with traditional classroom-based training activities and administration to a role that focuses increasingly on facilitating a learning culture within the organisation. Thursday morning’s session (6 April, 2006 9.30am) ‘Changing trends in training’ will investigate this transfer of roles in more depth.

The event also marks the launch of the CIPD Learning and Development survey 2006. This year’s survey reinforces the growing importance of coaching in delivering learning and development. The research found that four out of five organisations now use coaching as part of their efforts to develop their people (79%) and a number of conference sessions will discuss issues surrounding this.

The conference is designed to give delegates the opportunity to meet with other professionals in the industry and hear how leading organisations have approached and overcome key challenges within their business environments.

There will be a mix of masterclasses, which examine new theories and issues for debate, and training updates and case studies, to offer practical examples, such as ‘Tailoring training to different age groups’ (5 April 3:30pm) and ‘Coaching for excellence’ (6 April 11.15am).

The event has over 100 speakers including:

  • Sir Bob Geldof, humanitarian, musician and entrepreneur, speaking about Achieving your goals.

  • Professor Rob Goffee, from the London Business School discussing Why should anyone be led by you?

  • Professor Robert Winston, author and BBC presenter delivering a masterclass on Making the most of the human mind.

  • Lady Marie Stubbs, former head teacher and author of Ahead of the class, will discuss Transformational Leadership.

While coaching, change management and leadership will be among the key topics under discussion at the conference, thousands of learning and development professionals will also be heading to the HRD exhibition to find out how product and service suppliers are responding to the changing needs of the training community.

The exhibition is a valuable opportunity for hundreds of providers to show clients and potential customers how they are working in partnership with HR and training practitioners to develop effective solutions.

As well as new launches and on-stand demonstrations, the free showcase programme of topic tasters, e-learning and technology updates and the learning arena gives some practical insights into new developments.

While the conference and exhibition provide plenty of food for thought and ideas that can be taken back to delegates’ own organisations, the event also offers a good networking opportunity. Visitors can share experiences with fellow practitioners and discuss the core challenges that are facing their profession.

For more information about HRD 2006 visit CIPD

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Annie Hayes

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Read more from Annie Hayes
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