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2018 brought with it new collaborations and partnerships, one of which emerged from the ABP’s University Accreditation Scheme. On 26th June, the ABP launched a fresh session inspired by its Flagship event, the ABP Conference and Workforce Experience Awards. To celebrate the 20thanniversary of Europe’s first MSc Business Psychology course at the University of Westminster’s Business Psychology Centre (BPC), the ABP put together a student conference to honour the BPC’s last 20 years and more importantly to look towards the future of aspiring business psychologists.
The ABP are devoted to ensuring quality in business psychology courses and strive to provide higher education programmes with academic creditability and industry relevance. However, our commitment does not end there. To enable students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of their role in a business environment, the ABP Student Awards has featured annually in the last 3 years as a platform to showcase indiviudal academic excellence. This year however, the ABP decided to raise the platform for emerging talent in the business psychology space and encourage greater networking opportunities and continuous professional development. The 2018 Business Psychology Student Conference was designed to put the feelers out and explore this very notion. The event drew on current trends to better inform students, help them navigate their intended professional labour market and craft their career pathways. Subsequently, three streams were generated to discuss key topics relevant to graduate employability and early talent in business psychology – Innovations in Recruitment, Workforce of the Future and Student Research Contributions.
In all honesty, the Student Conference went through a trajectory of mixed sentiment. It’s no easy feat putting chalk and cheese together. Developing a mutually beneficial concept for an event that aspired to combine agendas from three very different audiences, came with its own unique challenges. Yet, the future workforce (students) welcomed an alternative, industry-centric approach to learning. Talent suppliers (higher education) positively greeted the opportunity to add an extra-curricular activity to their university employability agenda. More importantly, it was great to see a significant proportion of organisations use this as an opportunity to exercise their social responsibility.
We thank Michelle Minnikin (Founder of Insights Business Psychology Ltd ) who shared her career trajectory with aspiring business psychologists, Sarah Lewis (Appreciating Change) for highlighting the value positive psychology can bring to a disruptive and ever-changing workplace, John Cooper (CEO at JCA Global) for sharing his 20+ years of industry expertise in Emotional Intelligence and Dr Paul Flaxman (City University) who helped us acknowledge the importance of psychotherapeutic interventions to counter mental health issues in the workplace. It was also fascinating to see current developments from the ‘innovations in recruitment’ stream such as Alex Terry (Pymetrics) who proved collaborations between different theoretical streams (e.g. AI, occupational psychology and neuroscience) can enhance careers and future of recruitment, and Sara (Amberjack) who offered best practice insights to stay engaged in a digital age. It was tremendous to see the support and leverage these very practitioners offered students that proactively contributed to the event with their applied research work. We heard about some amazing MSc and PhD research being carried out in popular fields such as artificial intelligence in recruitment, career adaptability, job crafting, as well as a few cross-cultural studies and the delivery of new ideas such as media representations of career concepts, perfectionism and workplace wellbeing, and obesity stigma at work. What was most pertinent, was the value brought by practitioners that explicitly addressed the very candidates on the verge of entering the labour market. For example, Ellie Yell’s revolutionary app ‘Fledglink’, designed with Sova Assessment as a career navigation buddy, CV queen Victoria McLean (CEO of City CV) who offered indispensable advice to help the audience create an authentic CV, Alena Korcinova (Strengths Partnership) who delivered a strengths-based workshop helping delegates gain competitive advantage during recruitment processes, and Gary Austin (Circleindigo) who brought us a popular facilitation skills workshop to help the future workforce develop core competences. Finally, we were aspired by keynotes from Dr Barry Cripps giving his overview of the direction Business Psychology has taken and its future trajectory, and Ant Cousins (Profinda) who gave us a fresh outlook regarding the new workforce as change makers for the future.
You can watch interviews with our two key notes speakers Ant Cousins and Barry Cripps here.
What did we learn from this conference? Certainly, above and beyond what any of us expected in addition to definite scope for improvements and refinement. More importantly, that as business psychologists, we have the resources and knowledge-base at our disposal to create value on multiple fronts simultaneously. Having worked closely with the University of Westminster, we learnt collaborations with different sources can lead to extraordinary outcomes.
And a big thank you to the team who made it happen, and to the University of Westminster for hosting.
Here’s looking forward to further collaborations and positive synergy for Student Conference 2019!
You can view more photos of the day here – with thanks to our photographer Michelle Wong.
Academic Liaison Officer, ABP.