Welcome to our Branch website. The Branch Membership continues to grow and there are around 2,200 members living or working within Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes.

We hope you are able to find the information you need. If not, contact us and we will do our best to assist you.

We are able to offer our members a programme of CPD sessions aimed at promoting business networking with personal and professional development. These include useful case studies, good practice theory and skills development in areas of interest, as well as supporting those wishing to improve their Continuing Professional Development or upgrade their membership. Support for those studying CIPD qualifications is maintained through our close links with local education centres and through our annual Student Awards.

All of our events are organised through two geographical groups (Bedfordshire Group and Milton Keynes Group) together with our special interest groups Learning Matters and our Mentoring scheme. As members together with your guests, you are welcome to attend any of our advertised events. Please become a Mentor or Mentee to assist your career development.

The Branch has a LinkedIn group which has over 140 members. We would like to invite all our Branch CIPD members to join in to make the discussions meaningful and lively. We hope you will provide ideas for networks or CPD sessions which would assist you in your roles. Our Branch Policy Adviser has engaged members through her Policy e-mails which make a huge difference to the way we work.

These services could not be organised and maintained without the support of local members who have volunteered to serve on the Branch and Group committees. We actively encourage new volunteers to work with us on any aspect of CIPD life. Offers of support are always very welcome. As well as being fun, participation on the committee offers career development opportunities for individuals. All Committee roles are carried out by unpaid volunteers. We value the time people give to their roles. We continue to see the Branch go from strength to strength to provide a service which is fit for purpose and meets the needs of our members.

CIPD staff allocate people a Branch according to the mailing preference given when joining, but this can be changed at any time. Ring the CIPD membership team on 020 8612 6208. Keep an eye on the Branch quarterly newsletters. Please make sure you are being sent the two weekly Branch e-flyers (usually on Saturdays).

Don't forget to put the dates of the CPD sessions in your diaries once you are made aware of them, as I know you will want to attend. I will look forward in meeting many of you during these sessions.

If you would like to learn more about the work of the committee or have any suggestions for future events please contact us.

Janice Johnson
Chair, CIPD Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes Branch

About us

Geographical Groups

  • Bedfordshire Group
  • Milton Keynes Group

Special Interest Groups

  • Learning Matters Group
  • Mentoring Group

Key achievements in 2015/16

  • 26 Continuing Professional Development and networking sessions picking up all professional areas from the HR Professions Map, covering all members from students to HR Directors, working with a range of professional partners, actively involving 29% of the membership, covering the full range of geographical locations 
  • Re-launching the Mentoring Group with new Chairs.  Delivered 20 mentoring pairs by April 2016 anticipated 25 pairs by the end of June.  Matching for six to twelve months with evaluation every six months using Survey Monkey.
  • Running a Virtual Annual Meeting for the fourth time, to allow the full membership to read the Annual Reports from the Branch and four Groups and potentially all engage with the Branch committee rather than limiting the democratic input to those attending an annual meeting
  • Provided a joint Branch CPD and networking session with Network Rail in their staff engagement themed week
  • Assisted NACRO the crime reduction charity, in offering places on their event on 8 October 2015 in Luton.  Peter Buffoni, Head of Commercial for NACRO sent the following message to Branch members following a well-attended workshop on employing ex-offenders.  “Thank you so much for the support.  The event was a great success.”
  • Maintaining excellent relationships with academic institutions who deliver CIPD Level 3 Certificate, Intermediate Certificate and Advanced/Post-graduate Diploma courses across the region:  University of Bedfordshire, Bedford College, Milton Keynes College.  We are grateful for their generous sponsorship of meeting rooms for Group CPD sessions and for Branch committee meetings.  We provided Professional Advisers to their CIPD students, welcoming them to the Branch, providing advice and guidance and explaining next steps
  • Increasing sponsorship from partners 
  • Members taking part locally in the national initiatives:  Steps Ahead Mentoring and Inspiring the Future, which will assist young people in planning their careers more effectively
  • Developing the Branch LinkedIn Group to add to the existing Mentoring LinkedIn Group

Key challenges

  • Despite excellent and informative information in the quarterly newsletter, still a disappointingly low opening rate and click through rate on specific topics.  As a consequence, desired potential initiatives have not received any member interest.
  • Still receiving complaints from members who are not receiving the Branch events e-flyer despite believing they had signed up for it.  Many still not receiving the weekly national CIPD e-mail despite believing they had signed up for it. 
  • We continue to have good opportunities to encourage students to continue their studies, remain in membership and gain Chartered status.  Students are very interested in progression, seeing themselves as career professionals.  Large numbers are studying on the Certificate in HR Practice, many self-funding through being in roles other than HR at present.  Recent numbers on the CIPD accredited Advanced PGDip and Masters in HRM have been limited since fewer employers are prepared to support the time or cost of these courses.  We are optimistic that the Certificate students will make stronger cases for continuing studies.  
  • We have had good experience of Experience Assessment which has proved a credible assessment mechanism.  Following our CPD sessions, guests have applied to become Organisation members which we believe to be a useful mechanism to encourage greater interest in networking with other professionals.  
The Branch committee has delegated the organisation of most CPD sessions to the Groups.  Group Chairs and nominated Group committee members attend Branch committee meetings (two per year), to agree the Branch Business Plan, explain their Group plans and share the outcomes of their activities.  Branch committee meetings concentrate on the strategic issues around finance, policy responses, improving communications and engagement with members.  Branch committee notes are circulated to all Branch committee members for onward dissemination to the Group committee members to ensure knowledge is shared.  Groups endeavour to avoid having any date or subject conflicts.  Groups are issued with their budgets, according to their membership headcount at the beginning of the financial year and expected to stay within those budgets through sponsorship/Benefits-in-Kind or charging for non-members to attend events.

Financial out-turn 2015 – 2016

Total income - £15,020
Total expenditure- £15,020
Surplus for the year - £0

This breakeven was achieved through negotiating benefits-in-kind sponsorship totalling £11,000 over the year. These included: speakers not charging fees or expenses, subsidised and fully sponsored room costs, sponsored food, committee members providing technology.

Opportunities for the coming year

  • Continuing with Mentoring Group
  • Continuing to invite HR leaders to form a network.  Ensuring Fellows take part in networking events.
  • Continuing work with Centres and their students.
  • Continuing to offer community networking around key HR topics and Special Interest Group offers to their members.
  • Continuing to provide careers and membership support
  • Continuing to celebrate volunteering and using awards
  • Continuing use of Benefits-in-Kind sponsorship
  • Maintaining partnering with other professional organisations
  • Engaging with an even higher percentage of members through identifying their preferred topics for CPD sessions
  • Growing the Branch LinkedIn Group via a click-through from the Branch e-flyer.  Sharing information, good ideas and practices through the Group

Our volunteers
Our 51 Branch and Group committee members offer CIPD a wide range of experience and knowledge.  Their membership span is from Organisation member, through Affiliates to Chartered membership.  Some keen volunteers are on more than one committee since they have wide interests.  The geographical Group committees always have student representatives to ensure their voice is heard.    A volunteer from each geographical Group committee visits students in the local academic institutions to welcome them to the Branch, explaining links and future opportunities.  Our committee members work for private and public sector organisations and for charities, either as employees, interims or consultants.  At any one time, at least one committee member is on a maternity break keeping in touch electronically with their fellow committee members.  Four lecturers are involved in committees to ensure both academic and practical approaches are discussed during CPD sessions and networking events.  Committee members assist each other with CPD as well as ideas to inspire them to upgrade their CIPD membership.  Committee members offer guidance to Branch members who contact the Branch for information about upgrading.

In our quarterly newsletters and annual development report, committee members have written about the additional tasks for which they volunteered:

Two of the Steps Ahead Mentoring volunteers
New Mentoring Group and Bedfordshire Group committee member Michelle Watson volunteered for the CIPD Steps Ahead Mentoring scheme.  She explained “I have so far found this to be a rewarding experience.  I realised how important the programme is when seeing how appreciative the mentees are of my support.   It’s been a great way for me to reconnect with young job seekers and gain a better understanding of their situation.  It’s a good investment of time as I have the opportunity to share my knowledge of the workplace and the recruitment process as well as put my mentoring skills to good use.”

Letitia Winston has been working with unemployed young people in Leighton Buzzard to assist them in understanding their own career possibilities and the needs of employers.
 
Inspiring the Future: Colin Rodden wrote:

  • “Like all good mysteries it started with an e-mail from Stantonbury Campus (School) who were seeking HR professionals/employers to participate in a Jobs Fair at the school at short notice. 
  • Call the school for more information.
  • With some time available in my diary, I agreed and arrived with careers books a-plenty.
  • Cuts have affected all areas and school careers services have been reduced significantly. At a time when work is changing so swiftly and employers are concerned about skills in school leavers, valuable careers guidance is limited.
  • Children were very excited.  Lessons had been cancelled, employers such as the Army and Mercedes, a law firm and a number of HR professionals worked with students on:  how to write CVs; how to prepare for interviews; an insight into the world of work and stressed the need to strive for the best GCSEs and how to consider apprenticeship versus A levels or a degree.
  • It was hard work but thoroughly rewarding.  Drinking my coffee in the staff room I recall saying I would be happy to be back next year.  It won't be so much of a mystery the next time.”
Paula Grayson with her Uprising mentee, Aroosa Hussain, attended a Careers Fair at Elizabeth Woodville School with students from the east of the Branch area.  It was convenient that the new CIPD banner had arrived in time to be used in the large school hall.  Stands varied from colleges to professional bodies and included specific local employers.  The stands for Aston Martin, Royal Navy and Police were very well attended.  The student visitors were tightly timed leaving them only a short time at each stand.  No students indicated an interest in HR specifically but many were interested in business careers so were pleased to talk about the courses which would assist them to be credible to future employers.  Very few students had gained any work experience, from the 14 year olds to the sixth formers, so were advised to find some as soon as possible.  Some students had already chosen GCSEs which had narrowed down their career options.  Students were prepared to consider apprenticeships as well as university courses.

Amanda Cairns and Lorraine Macdonald attended Careers Fairs at Hastingsbury Business and Enterprise College for two different age groups, one on 10 February (Year 11) with the second on 3 March (Sixth Form).  Amanda was talking to parents as well as students.  

There are other volunteers who prefer not to join a committee, assisting before, during and after CPD/networking sessions as needed.  Amit Mistry is a very valuable volunteer who writes up sessions for publication in the quarterly newsletter.

Mentoring Scheme

Why join the mentoring scheme?

'Mentoring is a long term relationship that meets a development need, helps develop full potential, and benefits mentor and mentee alike'.

Benefits to members include:

  • providing impartial advice and encouragement
  • developing a supportive relationship
  • assisting with problem solving
  • improving self-confidence
  • offering professional development.

About the mentoring scheme

We have been running a local branch mentoring scheme for over 7 years, and will continue this scheme alongside the central CIPD mentoring scheme, focussing on local Branch members’ needs.

The scheme will run annually from 2016, with applications being taken from September to December, and matching in January. Adhoc applications throughout the year will be matched where we have mentor availability.

Calling all mentors (new and existing): we are looking to boost our mentor numbers, so if you feel you can give one to two hours per month of your time to develop another member’s career, please get in touch.

Calling all mentees: Looking to advance your career? If this is on your to do list, but you’re not sure how to go about it, could mentoring be right for you? Get in touch to find out more about how valuable a mentor could be in gaining your next role.

Who can be a mentor/mentee?

Mentoring is open to everyone who is interested and willing to be available and commit to the mentoring relationship. A mentor may have a certain level of experience, knowledge, be working at a particular level, or have certain skills and abilities that they would like to use or pass on to others. A mentee recognises they need help, support or guidance in a particular area and want to be proactive about their own development.

Find out more about the scheme by either downloading the PDF documents below which give you an overview of the scheme, tell you more about mentoring, and give you guidelines on ethics, our process and frequently asked questions. Alternatively, you can email Bedford@cipd.co.uk for more information or get in touch with members of the scheme committee.

Scheme Committee and contacts

The Scheme is run by Joint Chairs Annabel Graham and Tim Mitchell. We are looking for more volunteers to help us run the scheme, so please do get in touch if you’d like to join us or have any questions about mentoring in general. We can be contacted either by emailing Bedford@cipd.co.uk or directly through our profiles on LinkedIn.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Mentoring Pack

(116 KB)
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Mentoring Scheme

(390 KB)
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Contact us

Contact the team with your enquiries about local events or feedback on the future shape of branches

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