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The IEP Digital Technology Conference

Updated: Dec 13, 2022



(The CareerEar team on the day of the conference)



It's been a couple of weeks since the IEP Digital Technology conference, which CareerEar was proud to sponsor. The conference was certainly an amazing experience and had so many wonderful guest speakers from companies such as Cognisoft, City & Guilds, Capita, and many more!


This was the first digital conference I have attended so not only a great opportunity to network but to also learn from so many leading industry professionals and get caught up in the latest digital technology that the sector has to offer.



What was the IEP Digital Technology Conference?


Held online over 5 days between the 19th and 23rd of September, this free event was a must-do for anyone currently working in employability or who were interested in joining the sector, offering an ideal opportunity for practitioners and employers to come together to learn and network.⁠ Each day of the conference had a unique theme that ran through the day and each talk was inspired by. The four themes were:

⁠*Collaboration⁠

*Employability and Skills⁠

*Inclusion⁠

*Sustainability⁠

The day was broken down into multiple sessions, with a variety of different activities from guest speakers leading talks to networking roundtable events. I found these talks to be inspiring and they covered so many interesting topics in the employment industry. It really was a great learning experience for both me as a marketing apprentice and for the CareerEar team as a whole.




(Our content creators two dogs, shared on the IEP conference)



So, what did I learn from the conference?


  • Collaboration


The first theme of the conference was collaboration. One session I learned greatly from was made by Case UK and called: “Collaboration, for the benefit of the commissioner, organisation, or customer?” Ian Benbow, CEO of Case UK shared his experience of working in local government as a commissioner and strategic planner at a local government level, a customer of support services and how the experience of the past informs future thinking. The discussion included:


· Informing strategic planning, collaborating through shared budgets, shared purpose and shared outcomes.


· Exploring if the customer benefits from collaboration and if collaboration really exists.



After this session I truly realised just how significant collaboration and communication is, not only with your team but also with your customers. As a digital marketer collaborating with my team and customers is a daily occurrence but going beyond the basics and actively engaging with my peers is definitely one of the skills I want to improve on to help advance myself as a digital marketer and my work supporting the employability sector.


  • Employability and Skills


Employability and skills was the next theme that the IEP Digital Tech conference covered. A session I learned a lot from was Lightcast’s “Exploring Labour Market Insights to Better Understand Levelling Up.”


In this session, we were focusing on the importance of understanding place, and how this is key to helping organisations shape their thinking on local inequalities. As well as looking at Levelling Up between regions, we also explored levelling up within a specific area. This included a focus on how labour market data can help organisations to respond to some of the themes outlined in the agenda, including living standards, education, skills, and training.


This was such a beneficial session to me as I didn’t know as much about the labour market data side of things and it was useful to dive into the ‘levelling up’ agenda. This session really allowed me to develop my personal knowledge and understanding of labour market data, which is particularly useful to me in deepening my understanding of CareerEar’s own contribution to this agenda through using labour market data.



  • Inclusion


Most people now use their smartphone to network, get news and find useful information, this makes tools and apps more important than ever in this digital climate we now all live in. When developing these digital tools it is important that they are accessible to everyone so that everybody feels comfortable and included. This is why the GRoW app’s session on improving the way you support, engage and connect with participants was so interesting.


The GRoW app’s session focused on their app and how they go through the process of improving it. This was certainly one of my highlights of the conference. I never knew the amount of detail that goes into creating these apps and the amount of work it takes to make it accessible to everyone. This definitely inspired me to try to be more aware with the digital content I create - if I want to be truly inclusive I have to make sure the work I create is accessible to everyone.



  • Sustainability


Sustainability has become an important part of everything we do, how do we make the most of and maximise the opportunities that come our way. One of the final sessions I want to talk about is Cognisoft’s session on moving from a buyer-supplier relationship to a long-lasting and effective partnership.


This session was delivered by Cognisoft’s Emma Cook, alongside Andy Tellam, Head of Information Systems for Adviza. As someone working in the employment support sector, understanding and developing relationships with partners is key to finding success. This session gave some quality advice when it came to developing these long lasting and effective relationships and I feel more prepared for dealing with longer term partnerships.



Final Thoughts

In conclusion, I felt that the IEP Digital Technology Conference was a valuable experience to me. I was able to build new connections and network and I learned so much more about the employability sector in the process. Seeing all the industry leaders with their innovative and exciting tech has definitely inspired me to be more creative and has deepened my interest and passion for our contributions to innovation at CareerEar.


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