Podcast: Director of SET, Martin Reid, reflects on the SET Conference 2019

We speak to Martin Reid, Director of the Society for Education and Training (SET), direct from the conference venue in Birmingham, as he reflects on the SET Conference 2019.

Today has been incredible – we have welcomed delegates from so many different workplace settings and job roles. We thought we would struggle to achieve the same success as last year, but early indications are that we have had some fantastic feedback from delegates. I genuinely think people have enjoyed the experience of being away from their normal, busy working roles, and having that time to learn from the various speakers, but also to network with each other. You can see those connections forming, and I think it is such an important thing for SET to offer our members and share those experiences.

Have there been any particular highlights for you from the day?

We’ve tried to give a really balanced programme for today with a mixture of plenary sessions and panels, which are a good way to get the audience engaged, and you could see the enthusiasm we had from the delegates. The breakout sessions were really popular, and all round it’s been about trying to offer something for everyone. Early indications from today show that many of our delegates are going away with a renewed enthusiasm for the incredibly important work they do in the sector. SET wants to be here to support them and today’s conference is all about promoting professionalism and giving them the opportunity to share that with their colleagues and employers.

We are going to be asking our delegates what they would like to see for next year’s conference. We are committed to running an annual conference, but we haven’t yet decided where or when it’s going to be. This is one of the questions we are going to be asking the delegates attending in Birmingham today. The feedback here has been incredibly positive – but we just want to take that time to ask our members, do we run it back in Birmingham, do we run it the same time of the year? That will be something we will look to consult with members on over the next week or so.

How did you come up with the title ‘Promoting Professionalism’?

In choosing the theme for this year, we took time again to speak to our members – in particular the Practitioner Advisory Group (PAG), who helped us steer SET on so many different issues. We have 40 practitioners from a variety of different settings and we wanted to get their thoughts and input into this year’s theme and we chose promoting professionalism. We think this is a really important message to work with our members and to and drive forward standards of behaviour and practice in the FE sector.

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