Special interest group for the self employed

Coventry and Warwickshire CIPD run one of the most successful SIGs in the country in terms of numbers attending events and continuity of the group. The SIG group aims to organise two learning events a year, specifically targeted to meet the development needs of SIG members.

Additionally, asSIGnations runs monthly to support members new to self employment or looking for networking opportunities within the group. 

It has been identified by the CIPD nationally that this unique group within the membership requires skills for improving marketing and networking as well as for helping them to win business. The Coventry and Warwickshire Branch provides SIG members with: 

  • networking opportunities to share ideas and to meet others in similar work circumstances 
  • development events specifically aimed at the learning and development needs identified for SIG members.


...an opportunity for informal networking and support 

Tea/coffee is provided.

We meet in the lounge of the Stratford Manor Hotel on the Warwick Road CV37 0PY.

If you would like to meet with other people running small businesses, working independently, or who are lone HR practitioners within a company and want to share ideas, knowledge and experiences, join us at one of the next get-togethers. Newcomers are always very welcome. 

There is a gathering on the first Monday of every month (or second if it clashes with a Bank Holiday) from 10:00 to 11:30 with the option to stay on afterwards to continue networking or have one-to-one meetings. At around 10:30 the host has an opportunity to share something with any members of the group who are interested, for about 45 minutes. 

There is no need to commit in advance; just turn up to meet other SIG members in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. Typically 6-12 people attend and someone will always be there to welcome you.

Comments people have made about asSIGnations

“it was the first meeting I had been able to attend...within a few minutes I was made to feel welcome. I enjoyed the company very much...I believe this is especially relevant to those of us who often work on our own. I met some interesting people with similar backgrounds. It was useful to hear their stories about work, experiences, the market place etc. I spent several hours, which went very quickly, talking to others about all sorts of different issues. I came away with several very important learning points!”

"When I moved to Warwickshire two and a half years ago, I was keen to find out what was going on locally and to establish some professional links in the training and development field. As a recently converted Chartered Member, I also felt it was a good idea to explore how I could possibly get more involved in the CIPD. I have found that the monthly asSIGnations meetings provide a very valuable - and enjoyable - opportunity to catch-up with some other people in similar situations, with often broad-ranging conversations over a good coffee; I am not aware of anything that would serve quite the same purpose for HR or development personnel locally."

Past SIG events

2002 Marketing for success; Business Development
2003 Energising your training; Winning that contract
2004 Winning more contracts; Innovations in Learning
2005 Inspiration in your hands –cue cards; Marketing for the self employed
2006 Marketing for the self employed
2007 Finding your way as an independent; Tools for developing individuals and organisations
2008 Keeping it legal - a trainers guide; Expanding your Training Toolkit
2009 Master your inner critic - Melanie Green
2010 Building Blocks for a better business
2011 Annual Development Day; Brain Friendly Learning - method in the seeming madness
2012 Master the science of creating memorable learning
2013 Focus You “Sharpening the saw”
2104 “Ronseal – does what it says on the tin” 


In 1999 the CIPD commissioned the University of Durham to carry out a national survey of CIPD small business members. The CIPD had recognised that the needs of its small business members were changing and wanted to address this issue.

The report, completed in 2000, identified the development of networking and marketing skills as prime needs and recommended in particular that branches should consider setting up special interest groups for small business members and that events aimed specially for this group should be included in the programme of branch events. In June 2001 a workshop was organised at Woodside in Kenilworth inviting small business member “independents” to explore how a SIG group might be organised for the Coventry and Warwickshire branch.

The first venture was a networking event in October 2001. The SIG group was able to draw up a list of development requirements and has gradually been addressing these through the two SIG events on the Branch programme every year.

Dates for your 2016 diary

At the Stratford Manor Hotel:

4 January

1 February
7 March
4 April
9 May
6 June
4 July
1 August
5 September
3 October
7 November
5 December

To ensure that you receive an e-mail reminder before these asSIGnations dates and also receive details of other SIG events, please send us your contact details providing your membership number and indicating whether you are self-employed or employed.

Please contact the group leaders Karen Griffin and Phil Ingle if you have any comments or may like to be involved in organising SIG events. We are looking for people in different areas of Coventry and Warwickshire to set up regular asSIGnations meetings as well as people to host the monthly one at Stratford Manor.