Home » National Conference Session Descriptions

National Conference Session Descriptions

Thursday 12th January – Workshop One, 10am*

Why Open Days will be three days long: a look at the hybrid future

Revolution Viewing & Partner University

Some forward-thinking universities have started successfully extending their campus events to an online audience before and after, maximising their opportunity to reach and engage with prospective students.

In this session, Tom Greveson (CEO of Revolution Viewing) explores this new trend, how it’s working for the universities who are doing it and why a hybrid approach should be an essential part of university marketing strategy going forward. We’ll look at data from real university websites before and after physical events, lifting the lid on user behaviour and show you how to make sure you’re serving your website visitors the right content at the right time.

You’ll leave with some best practice ideas for combining the strengths of on and offline student recruitment activity along with up-to-the minute insights into user behaviour online before and after very recent Open Days.


Recruitment and admissions for Postgraduate courses

Invited: PG Recruitment/Admissions, University of Birmingham
Student Recruitment

Coming soon


Black Access: A Student Collaboration to Develop and Deliver programmes for Black Students

Andrew Hunter, Laura Whitelock and students, University of York
Widening Participation

This session is designed to introduce practitioners to Black Access. The session will explore why there is a need in devising a programme solely for students of an ethnic minority background with students sharing their experiences of being Black at university but also their experience of developing a programme such as Black Access. The workshop then will cover key focuses and themes of Black Access in terms of how the programme is developed and delivered, ensuring student voice is authentic throughout the programme. The workshop will all demonstrate how a programme can balance student voice/leadership with the universities and WP teams ensuring they are playing their part as an ally.


The A-Z on Generation Z-A: Adapting Your Recruitment Strategy For the Next Generation

Hamish Carder, Abby Pugh and Anna Wegner, Speakers for Schools
Student Recruitment and Widening Participation

In this interactive session, SFS Media will share the ground-breaking data they hold on Generation A – your future cohort. Join them as they take you through the key differences and similarities between the current generation coming through the Higher Education system and the one that will be coming next. Gain key insights into the stark changes in decision making, core values, subject preferences and future pathway considerations, so that you can future-proof your recruitment strategy for the changing youth landscape.

SFS Media are a first-of-its-kind youth insights agency specialising in Gen Z and Gen A market research. With a focus on Conscious Inclusion, they are dedicated to helping universities reach wider audiences through uniquely powerful first-hand data.Their work with social mobility charities allows them direct access to the youth voice from 85% of state schools across the UK. This unique reach provides up to 500 unique data points on millions of diverse 14-19 year olds.


Innovation Made Easy

Michael Coates, Protostar Leadership Development
Personal Development

Innovation is probably one of the core values of your university, or appears prominently on job descriptions and leadership frameworks – but what does it look like and how do you “do it”? In this session, Michael Coates (a visiting professor of innovation and cultural change) will start with the basics and define innovation, before demonstrating some easy to remember techniques for generating innovative ideas, products and services. The session will also cover the conditions needed to create a culture of innovation, allowing you to assess your own department or faculty.


How to get the most out of your events programme for applicants

The Student Room Group

Join Barbara Bradshaw (Senior Market Research Consultant) and Victoria Littler (Senior Account Director) as they share research conducted by our TSR Insight team, looking at what Year 12 and 13 students want out of both virtual and on campus open days and if the cost of living crisis will impact the events applicants go to. We’ll also be exploring applicant days and the role they play in conversion.


*Programme correct at the time of publication. Sessions are subject to change.

Thursday 12th January – Workshop Two, 1pm*

How to ace Student Recruitment on social in 2023

Hesham & Louis, University of Gloucestershire


The high usage and easy accessibility of social media in the 15- to 25-year-old demographic makes the channel an ideal way to communicate on a large scale, build and manage a positive culture and reputation, and ultimately, increase interest and enrollments.

So, how are prospective students using social media in their college search and what do they want to see from a higher education institution’s social media page?


Adapting to change: What we learnt from 5 years of integrated undergraduate conversion campaigns

Colin McLean, Jackie Thompson and Sarah Colegrove, University of Edinburgh

Student Recruitment

The university year may well be cyclical, but that doesn’t mean that nothing changes. In the last decade, undergraduate recruitment marketing has evolved at pace. Shifts in the external landscape, from rising costs to changing demographics, coupled with innovations in the way we create and deliver content and events, mean that HE campaigns have had to adapt and innovate in order to continue to connect to their audiences.

Join the University of Edinburgh as we share the five-year evolution of an annual undergraduate conversion campaign. Find out what we learnt about how to engage with applicants as we adapted to a changing internal and external environment, and help us explore further ways to innovate as we envision what undergraduate conversion might look like in five years’ time.


Primary Outreach Provision

Aaron Mace and Abi Pritch-Williams, University of Derby and University of Nottingham

Widening Participation

This session will focus on the below elements of planning and delivering primary outreach provision: 

Why work with primary age students/what does the research tell us?     

Which schools do we work with?

What is different about arranging primary outreach?

How do we evaluate?

What programmes do we run?

This session will be delivered jointly by the University of Nottingham & The University of Derby.


Academic Panel

Newcastle, Durham, Teeseide, Northumbria & Sunderland

Student Recruitment and Widening Participation

Across many Student Recruitment and Widening Participation projects, we work with a multitude of academic colleagues and we know this can look different depending on your project and institution size. In this session, we’ll have a range of academics from across different universities to form this interactive panel. This is your chance to ask questions and find out top tips for working together across recruitment, WP and marketing.


Professional Development through School Governance

Emma Harris and Emma Britain, Governors for Schools and University of Manchester

Personal Development

Governors for Schools and the University of Manchester have run a successful school governor programme together for over a decade. University colleagues have made a fantastic contribution to supporting schools, impacting the education of thousands of children and young people.

Becoming a school governor will allow you to share your expertise, gain new skills and deepen your understanding of the education landscape. You will gain valuable CPD whilst improving education for the next generation. This session will explore the role of school governor, the process of joining a school and the ongoing support available to you.


Delivering an Inclusive Residential

Amanda Bishop, University of Warwick


This session will seek to explore how we can create and deliver an inclusive residential for students who identify as having a disability or with increased student mental health and anxiety. Using a case study approach and highlighting top tips, this interactive session will give delegates the chance to ask questions, share good practice and ideas with colleagues.


*Programme correct at the time of publication. Sessions are subject to change.

Thursday 12th January – Workshop Three, 2.15pm*

Lessons from the Brand Police (the authority on authenticity)

Rebecca Hollington, University College Birmingham


Learn all about the importance of your institutional brand from visual representation to essence and developing your brand story. Delegates will develop an understanding of key components of a strong brand and their crucial role in strengthening brand authenticity, as well as how they can use the principles of business branding in developing their own personal brand identity.


Recruitment and marketing for challenging course areas

Caitlin Clifford, University of Wolverhampton

Student Recruitment
Coming Soon  

Minecraft and Autism: How To Use A Video Game for Outreach Projects

Freya Morris, Cardiff University

Widening Participation
Learn how Cardiff University’s Discovery Project uses Minecraft as a tool to help autistic young people prepare for university life.  

School and College Targeting with Unifrog

Freddie Knaggs, Unifrog

Student Recruitment and Widening Participation

In this interactive session, we explore the use of data to find and engage with the right schools/colleges during the recruitment cycle. We’ll take a deep-dive into Unifrog’s pre-application trends, taking learnings from the university research of 200,000+ UK sixth-formers over the past year. We’ll identify how planning windows and student preferences vary around the country, and highlight best practice school engagement tips from some of our leading university partners.


Writing Blogs: Policy and Confidence

Sunday Blake, Wonkhe

Personal Development

The first part of this session will be a technical look at how to write a blog for Wonkhe – using your knowledge as a higher education worker – that is interesting, appropriate, and accessible! This section will focus on the craft of writing some compelling – from how to start with a good hook, to how to end with a punchy call to action!

The second will be how to find the confidence to speak your truth, and use experiences in higher education, to form an argument or discussion in a way that links to education policy. This part, in particular, will talk about why it can be difficult (due to systematic structures) for marginalised genders and people of colour to find the confidence and time to publish in the public domain. We will talk about how Wonkhe can help these groups find the confidence to write, and publish, something that many people read, find useful, and act upon.


Effectively running a student ambassador scheme

Myles Smith, University East Anglia


At UEA we employ nearly 1000 student ambassadors to deliver impactful Recruitment and Outreach activity. Come along and find out the systems and processes we use to do it!


*Programme correct at the time of publication. Sessions are subject to change.

Friday 13th January – Workshop Four, 9.30am*

Session TBC

Waterfall & further speakers invited


Coming Soon


Enhancing UCAS events for students who are from disadvantaged backgrounds without clear pathways

Aimee Okafor & members of the HELOA UCAS working group

Student Recruitment

Combined HELOA & UCAS workshop to identify opportunities to enhance UCAS events for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.


Community and Family Events in a WP context

Krishna Maroo, University of West London

Widening Participation

During this session, UWL’s Outreach Team and external collaborators will explore and discuss why collaboration in the community is key to delivering dynamic outreach programmes that can lead to long-lasting change. Participants will hear about a variety of projects and some examples of best practice, and leave with lots of ideas to take this work forward in their own settings.


Qualifications Reform

Speaker TBC

Student Recruitment and Widening Participation
Coming Soon  

Work life balance and supporting staff when travelling

UoB, York & Leeds

Personal Development

Following an unprecedented break in our usual SR & WP events during the pandemic, 2022 has seen a gradual return and increased demand of in person events and travelling across the UK. In the excitement of being back on the road, some teams have seen themselves taking on more than they may have previously and balancing our commitments with our work travel has become much more complex. In this session, our panel members will discuss top tips for encouraging a healthy work life balance especially in our busier periods and also share their experiences of management support/supporting their own teams when travelling for extended periods of time.


Antiracism and Allyship

Hannah Alipoor, University of Huddersfield


This workshop covers privilege, microaggressions and how to be an ally, whilst also creating a safe space for members to ask questions, share experiences and reflect on previous behaviour. The outcome of this is to widen knowledge and get colleagues to reflect on their position of privilege, microaggressions and allyship.


*Programme correct at the time of publication. Sessions are subject to change.

Friday 13th January – Workshop Five, 10.45am*

PG Matters – Obstacles and Opportunities for UK Postgraduate Recruitment

Mark Bennett, FindAUniversity


Masters and PhD level study represent one of the most vibrant, diverse and important parts of the UK higher education sector; by definition, these are pioneering and innovative programmes attracting highly motivated students seeking to understand some of the most complex and important problems facing science, business and society. But all of this can make them difficult to stay on top of, particularly if you’re new to marketing and recruitment at this level.

Our workshop will draw on the unique expertise and data we’ve developed at FindAUniversity (publishers of some of the world’s most popular and respected postgraduate resources). We’ll explore recent trends in postgraduate recruitment and introduce key knowledge and current issues for PGT and PGR marketing, including shifting provision, funding challenges and international recruitment opportunities.

The session will be ideal for relatively new practitioners, but should also provide more experienced marketers with a useful snapshot of the postgraduate sector as we enter 2023.


How to level up student engagement in the ever-changing higher education landscape!

Chris Gibson, Gecko

Student Recruitment

Students have increasingly high expectations when it comes to their communication with universities. They want instant answers, seamless processes, and the kind of end-to-end digital experience that builds confidence and inspires them to act and engage at a deeper level.

The reality is that many universities aren’t consistently delivering timely, relevant student communications, leaving prospective and current students frustrated and unfulfilled. And if the student experience is sub-par, they’ll simply look elsewhere.

Join our session to learn how to take your student engagement to the next level.

Key takeaways include:

Why you should care about student engagement

Sector challenges vs evolving communication trends

What a winning student engagement strategy looks like

Tactical ways you can outperform sector challenges


Engaging with Alternative Educational Provision

Dr Alex Blower and Kate Venables, Arts University Bournemouth 

Widening Participation

This interactive workshop session will explore alternative sites of engagement for university outreach activity. Using a pilot project run by Arts University Bournemouth with providers of Alternative Education Provision as a case study, the session will pose a challenge practitioners. It will offer a provocation to not only broaden the reach of widening participation activity, but to do so in a way which is meaningful and equitable for the young people who may participate.


Building and encouraging teams engaged in the sector

Edit Liebhardt and Sarah Whitaker, University of Reading & University of Westminster

Student Recruitment and Widening Participation

More and more universities are setting up regional teams. Depending on the area covered, distance from home institutions and budget available to the team, it can be increasingly difficult to make sure these teams are cohesive, well looked after and effective. In this session we will discuss the most important practices we have found to keep our regional teams happy and working well and workshop with you methods that might fit your team the best. 


An introduction to effective Project Management

Amy Manktelow, Nottingham Trent University

Personal Development
Following an incredible session at our September Professional Development Conference, this session will be a second chance for anyone who missed that event to have an introduction and overview to project management, and the essential steps and key skills needed.  

Tik Tok Masterclass: Supercharge your university recruitment

Ranulf Kinloch Jones, Beyond the Blackboard


This masterclass is run by Ranulf Kinloch Jones, who has built a secondary school student following of 45K Tik Tok followers on his education / careers channel Beyond the Blackboard. He has helped several universities, companies and charities boast their applications by up to 600% with just 1 video. The world of student recruitment has drastically changed, and in order to stay ahead universities need to be communicating with students. In this session, you will learn how to build a highly engaged following of potential students, how to make consistently viral videos, and how to build your universities brand.


*Programme correct at the time of publication. Sessions are subject to change.