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Three Highlights From CIPD Annual Conference & Exhibition 2018

Paul Rae - Founder Chairman - Jigsaw Cloud
by Paul Rae

What is #CIPDAce18?

The CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition has asserted itself as the UK’s leading networking event surrounding the topics of HR and L&D. It enables the discovery of the latest products and services alongside industry experts – all under one roof.

This year became CIPD’s 71st exhibition, which was situated within Manchester, Manchester Central, on the 7-8 November. Attended by over 180 exhibitionists, 5000 professionals and providing copious amounts of business-led entertainment, it was certainly an eventful and informative two days.

With so much to explore and experience, and with it being my first time attending a CIPD exhibition, it remains problematic to assemble my favourite moments from the occasion. Though, after much thought, I have rounded up the top three highlights of the event:

1. Free Demos of Multiple Software Solutions


The hassle of arranging and booking demos was eradicated, with many of the exhibitors providing free demonstrations by consultants directly from their stands. Visitors could pre-book as many demos as they desired throughout the two days, enabling them to quickly obtain a grasp of many different HR systems and select the one most effective for them.

2. Key Speakers and 38 Talks


Across the two days, there were numerous chances to learn something new.

There were 38 expert-led workshops, talks and panel discussions that were specifically designed to introduce attendees to something new or to present alternative perspectives on already familiar subjects.

This year, talks were covered by over 70 speakers and surrounded five focal topics:

  • Strategic HR and Ethical Decision Making
  • Technology and the Future of Work
  • Organisational Development and Business Effectiveness
  • Talent, Skills and Capabilities
  • Employee Experience, Well-being and People Management

Highlight key speakers included best-selling Author Rachel Botsman, Actor, Writer and Comedian Sir Lenny Henry and the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham. 

3. MY HR Careers After Party

On the 7th November, Jigsaw Cloud and My HR Careers held a CIPD After Party at Revolution Bar, Deansgate locks. It allowed over 200 HR professionals and customers to informally network in a more relaxed environment, with free nibbles and drinks included (Of course).


Overall, I had a positive and educational experience throughout my time at CIPD Manchester. The Jigsaw Team were incredibly supportive – I am utterly thrilled and proud to be working for such a caring  and vibrant company.  I am looking forward to attending and contributing further to the next event.

Here is a recap of the CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition 2018:


Register to attend our next CIPD event and for your chance to WIN Apple AirPods: Click here to register your attendance

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