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Graduate Recruitment and Development Forum 2018

Wednesday, 21 February 2018 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

£449.00 – £499.00
Graduate Recruitment

The 11th annual Graduate Recruitment and Development Conference will share the latest strategies to attract, retain and develop the brightest graduate talent in the current competitive market.

The conference is an opportunity to hear about best practice strategies from industry leaders across the sectors. It is designed to offer HR and Recruitment professionals responsible for hiring and developing graduates a chance to uncover both the strategic and practical elements of implementing a successful and innovative graduate programme.

Through attending the Conference, you will:

  • Understand the value and contribution of graduates to your organisation, your bottomline, innovation and talent pipeline
  • Hear about the latest studies on the needs and wants of graduates to be able to develop an attractive, engaging and robust graduate recruitment programme
  • Develop a strong, authentic and appealing graduate employer brand to improve attraction, alignment and retention
  • Discover innovative approaches to developing graduates
  • Hear from best practice organisations on their successful graduate programmes; their challenges, the strategy and outcomes

The conference will provide plenty of opportunity for you to network with other industry professionals and share your graduate recruitment ideas and challenges.

Who should attend:

  • Head of Recruitment / Talent acquisition

  • Head of HR

  • Learning and development Directors/Managers

  • Talent Management

  • Employee Relations

  • Emerging talent

  • Graduate Recruitment Managers

  • Early careers Managers

  • Campus / school Engagement Managers

  • Student Acquisition Managers

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Event Sponsors



cut-e is a world leader in the design and implementation of online psychometric assessments and related talent solutions. Assessing over 7 million people per year with tools in 40 languages and offices in 33 countries around the world cut-e helps many of the world’s most successful organisations to select and develop the best talent. Organisations such as Dell, Emirates, Rolls Royce, Aer Lingus, O2 Telefonica and Burger King all trust cut-e to help them hire and develop the best people for their organisations.


TARGETrecruit, part of Group GTI, is one of the world's leading early careers outsourcing recruitment specialists. They are passionate about early careers recruitment and are fully embedded in the early careers market - and it shows in their results. They bring the latest ideas, innovation and best practice to their clients' campaigns, allowing them to recruit the highest calibre talent for their apprentice, school leaver and graduate opportunities. Some of TARGETrecruit's clients outsource their complete early careers recruitment campaigns to them, while others use them to support or develop specific elements of their recruitment process such as marketing and attraction, application screening, telephone and video interviewing, candidate managements, and assessment centre design.


Milkround logo


Milkround is your graduate career resource with hundreds of internships, placements, graduate jobs and schemes. Start your job search here, or use our advice pages to research careers and help with your decision making.

We’re committed to giving students and graduates career confidence, and that means conquering fears of finding, applying and making that first step on the career ladder. With Milkround you get direct access to employers.


Saville Assessment, a Willis Towers Watson Company

Saville Assessment's leading-edge solutions ensure graduate recruiters achieve results. Identifying graduates with the highest potential and best fit, clients enjoy industry-leading engagement rates, savings in screening costs and a decreased dropout rate.

Balancing technology, innovation and candidate experience, at the heart of their assessments is a guarantee to objectively and fairly identify the right people for the right roles with solutions that add real value to selection decisions.Their pioneering Situational Judgement Tests, Aptitude Assessments and Behavioural Screening Questionnaires are used by clients including Dyson, Thales, Johnson & Johnson and Jaguar Land Rover who book with Saville to transform their assessment process and lead the way in graduate talent.



Shine Interview provides next generation video interviewing software and values based assessments for global graduate recruitment campaigns.

They are working with leading organisations such as Nissan, Reed, Matalan and more in over 85 countries to streamline graduate recruitment and reduce time by hire by up to 50%, whilst ensuring the quality of those that reach assessment centre and beyond.

They enable you to create an interview consisting of a series of questions; candidates are invited via email and SMS, allowing them to record their responses in their own time and without the need to schedule. Hiring Managers are then able to share and review the videos, and shortlist for the next stage in the process.

Shine is the only established video interview provider that does not rely on Flash – a key security consideration for candidates and employers.



If your organisation would be interested in promoting itself through the wide variety of exhibitions, sponsorship and marketing opportunities available at this event, please visit our sponsorship mini-site or contact our sales team at sales@symposium-events.co.uk or 020 7231 5100.

Graduate Recruitment and Development Forum


 09:00 Coffee and Registration
09:30 Chair’s opening remarks – Paul Blackmore, Divisional Head, Student Employability & Academic Success, University of Exeter

Graduates without borders

  • How digital innovations are redefining the way we engage with the workplace    
  • The impact of virtualised teams and home working on productivity and engagement
  • Top tips to hire agile and engaged future leaders   

Suzanne Courtney, Managing Director, cut-e UK


Case Study: Recruiting graduates successfully on a smaller scale

  • How to attract quality candidates against a backdrop of large-scale graduate programmes
  • How to develop a sustainable and effective programme
  • How firms of every size can achieve graduate retention

Iain Dobson, Senior HR Business Partner, SubSea7

 10:35 Questions and discussion with speakers

Panel: How to improve your social media offering to attract more graduates

  • Does your employer branding affect your graduate scheme success?
  • What tools can you use to help make your proposition more in demand
  • How to do it effectively, on a low budget and with limited resources

Elizabeth Hunt, Marketing Manager, Milkround

Megan O’Keefe, HR Programme Manager, Suffolk County Council

Aileen Cowler, Learning and Development Specialist, NFU Mutual

 11:10 Refreshments and networking

Case Study: The gamification of recruitment

  • How gamification facilitates more rapid engagement
  • How gamification helps you to move more quickly through your hiring process and engage with talent in your pipeline
  • How gamification forms part of your data analysis for measuring candidate capability

Sarah Harte, Graduate Talent Manager, Taylor Wessing


Return on Investment: How to assess your assessment

Our focus as graduate recruiters is on assessing our candidates; why are we not as good at assessing ourselves?

  • What is happening in terms of demonstrating the return on investment of graduate recruitment?
  • What are Saville Assessment doing to ensure their clients know what they want to achieve upfront and assess this throughout the process?
  • Case study examples showing how Saville Assessment partnered with clients to shape solutions which objectively demonstrate ROI

Martin Kavanagh, Managing Consultant, Saville Assessment

12:20 Questions and discussion with speaker
 12:30 Lunch and networking

Market Insights: Current and future trends in graduate recruitment

  • The importance of candidate engagement in “winning the war for talent”
  • Top tips on engaging candidates
  • From attraction to on-boarding

Holly Weaver, Account Director, TARGETrecruit

Simon Katchay, Recruitment Manager, TARGETrecruit


Question and discussion with speakers


Knowledge share networking session

This sessions will give you the opportunity to engage and share ideas with your peers on the top graduate recruitment challenges facing the UK today


STREAM A – Case Study: Employer branding is key – from attraction to retention

  • How NFU Mutual changed their proposition to allow them to get the right candidates at the application stage
  • How to use social media to spread your message
  • How NFU Mutual created a programme that retains talent throughout the recruitment process and beyond

Aileen Cowler, Learning & Development Specialist, NFU Mutual

Jonny Kerr, Sales & Business Management Graduate Scheme, NFU Mutual


Case Study on innovating in your graduate offer all year round

  • How to build your offer from the beginning and make it scalable
  • How to make sure the graduates are at the centre of your offer and are dealt with in the same way whether they are successful or not
  • Innovating your assessment processes, to get the best out of your candidates 

Catherine Stoneman, Head of Talent Acquisition, Explore Learning


STREAM A – Lead with values: from onboarding to development

  • How to onboard the right candidates using values based methods
  • How to create bespoke training plans tailored around the ‘whole’ person
  • Developing the leaders of the future, with a capability based approach

Jessica Farley, Talent Development Manager, Coventry Building Society

Dave Hambrook, Early Careers Resourcing Specialist, Coventry Building Society

Olivia Slowey, HR Graduate, Coventry Building Society


STREAM B – ‘Joining up the dots’ – a collaborative approach to growing future public sector leaders

Discover how Suffolk County Council:

  • Developed a collaborative graduate programme comprising of eight partners
  • Experimented and embraced technology in attraction and assessment
  • Support the graduates to experience a system perspective on public service delivery

Ruxi Stuart, Organisational Development Lead, Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils

Catherine Paddon, Graduate, Waveney & District Council

15:20 Questions and discussion with speakers 15:20 Questions and discussion with speakers
 15:30 Refreshments and networking

Panel discussion – The challenges of selection criteria: does academic success yield the best results?

  • Majority of graduate schemes are aimed at 2:1 achieving students, or graduates from highly ranked universities
  • Discussion around the successes and the challenges the panel has experienced when it comes to selection criteria and how they developed their schemes to get the best candidates
  • Does passion play a part? If the student chose the wrong degree, does it reduce their chances of workplace success?

Catherine Stoneman, Head of Talent Acquisition, Explore Learning

Laura Nielsen, Head of Early Careers – Acquisition and Graduate Development, Thales

Nadir Rizvi, Graduate Manager – Consulting by Degrees, IBM UK

 16:20 Questions and discussion with speakers
16:30 Chair’s closing remarks and end of conference

Conference Speakers

CHAIR – Paul Blackmore, Divisional Head, Student Employability & Academic Success, University of Exeter

Paul is Divisional Head of Student Employability & Academic Success [SEAS] at the University of Exeter. His division oversees the personal, academic and professional development of all students through a wide extra-curricular portfolio and the curriculum. Specifically functions include: careers and employability support; work-based learning; global experience (Study and Work Abroad, Inbound Students, overseas extracurricular activity); student engagement, reward and recognition; social mobility (‘progression and success’) and career learning analytics.

Working in senior roles for 30 years delivering nationally and internationally acclaimed HE Professional Services and HR support for employers (including delivery of the UK Nucleargraduates scheme), Paul has assisted Universities in their rising to the top of graduate destination league tables and supported international Universities, employers and Government in developing related strategies.

Martin Kavanagh – Managing Consultant – Saville Assessment, a Willis Towers Watson Company

Martin Kavanagh is a Managing Consultant with Saville Assessment. Responsible for the Hire section of the portfolio, Martin supports graduate recruiters to place the right people in the right roles and improve quality of hire.

Since completing the BT graduate development programme, Martin has worked across the public and private sector, in both in-house and consulting capacities. Since moving into consultancy, Martin has designed assessment centres, and managed the full graduate recruitment process, for some of the most influential graduate recruiters in the UK.

Aileen Cowler, Learning and Development Specialist, NFU Mutual

Aileen Cowler is a Learning & Development Specialist at NFU Mutual and has been involved in talent development for over 5 years. The first graduate scheme intake was in 2010 with 8 trainees in one area of the business. 7 years later and they have over 90 graduates both on and off scheme in all areas of NFU Mutual.

Aileen is passionate about ensuring that all trainees both on and off scheme receive the support and development they need to build a lasting career at NFUM.

Catherine Stoneman, Head of Talent Acquisition, Explore Learning

Catherine has worked in the graduate recruitment and talent management sphere for 10 years.

She joined Explore Learning when it was just starting up and they had just 8 centres in the UK.  Over this time, she has helped to grow the business to operate in over 137 UK locations, as well as 6 sites in Dallas, Texas.

Whilst working within the attraction and selection phases of the people team Catherine has helped to position Explore as a key player in the graduate market.  Their outstanding employee engagement has meant that Explore have been a consistent presence in The Sunday Time Top 100 Best Companies to Work For list for 6 consecutive years, Explore have also been listed in the Glassdoor Best Places to Work Employees Choice.

Jessica Farley, Talent Development Manager, Coventry Building Society

Jessica is the Talent Development Manager at Coventry Building Society, based in the Midlands. She leads the talent management strategy, building a pipeline of talent from apprentices through to senior leaders. The first graduate scheme intake was in 2016 and she has been intrinsic to its design and success to date, building a programme around the Society’s values and creating a bespoke learning journey for each individual as they commence their career.

Jessica brings a wealth of experience from roles in multinational organisations, including Jaguar Land Rover, having joined their graduate scheme. She has worked in multiple Human Resources roles including Employee Relations, Compensation and Benefits and Learning and Development. She worked in Melbourne, Australia as a HR Generalist for Brightstar before returning to the UK and specialising in Talent Management.

Iain Dobson, Senior HR Business Partner, Subsea 7

Iain is a Senior HR Business Partner with Subsea 7 (global offshore engineering and construction company), a Chartered Member of the CIPD, and a practitioner with the Association for Business Psychology.

His HR and people management career began in the public sector, within the Department for Work & Pensions, then the private sector as a recruitment consultant in the oil and gas industry, before he moved to Subsea 7 and into more generalist HR activities. His HR passions are developing and coaching future leaders, and has spoken and written on the role of HR as a business influencer.

He has worked on a wide range of HR operational and strategic activities and projects, and having launched the graduate programme in London in 2010, has been involved in the full cycle of attraction, on-boarding, and onward development. In his current role he works with multiple teams in the UK and France.

Megan O’Keefe, HR Programme Manager – Apprenticeship Reforms, Suffolk County Council

Megan is the HR Programme Manager at Suffolk County Council –  an experienced and skilled senior HR professional with a passion and demonstrated history of service delivery and improvement in HR, Megan has strong people management and leadership skills with a focus on creating high performing teams that deliver value added and impactful outcomes for the business.

Ruxi Stuart, Learning and Development Advisor, Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils

Ruxi is a business psychologist with extensive development and training experience within Higher Education, the private sector and more recently local government. Prior to her current role in L&D, Ruxi worked for a psychology consultancy which conducted innovative, high quality psychological research about peoples’ experience of work.

Before that, she was involved in a range of projects at University of Essex, looking at supporting underprivileged students progress and thrive in higher education through coaching and work experience opportunities.

Ruxi is passionate about using an evidence-based approach in researching and understanding the world of work and its impact on individuals. Her experience and interests cover recruitment and assessment, learning and development, coaching and work-life balance, although she finds all areas of organisational psychology fascinating and she constantly refers back to psychological theories in her day-to-day role.

Nadir Rizvi, Graduate Manager – Consulting by Degrees, IBM UK

Nadir Rizvi is currently part of the management team which runs  the UK arm of the global consulting graduate scheme at IBM, Consulting By Degrees.

A modern languages and business graduate, his professional career started at SAP in Germany as a Technical Translator. A side interest in Graduate Recruitment at SAP then led him to consider a move in to the HR world at IBM, after a stint in SAP agency recruitment. The experience gained in IBM HR Shared Services led him to management consulting within IBM, specialising in HR Transformation for external clients.

Nadir has also run experienced hire recruitment for IBM UK and, since 2013, has worked as a manager within the early professionals programs at IBM UK where he currently works across the entire life cycle of the consulting graduate program, with a keen focus and interest in recruitment.


Laura Nielsen, Head of Emerging Talent, Thales

Laura is the Head of Emerging Talent for Thales UK, with nearly ten years’ experience in the Recruitment and Development of Graduates and Apprentices, Laura manages a team of five resourcing specialists and has responsibility for the Thales UK Graduate Development Programme.

Laura studied Occupational Psychology at postgraduate level and has designed and delivered assessment and development centres in numerous roles. Since joining Thales in 2013 Laura has introduced a new Graduate Programme and developmental course, to align with the organisational strategic objectives.

Laura is also trained in coaching, leadership assessment and has a personal interest in neurodiversity.

Holly Weaver, Account Director, TARGETrecruit

Holly started her career in recruitment 8 years ago, working as an agency recruiter for the IT contract market. She moved into graduate recruitment with PwC in-house, spending her time working closely with universities to build up relationships and pipelines to manage her business unit’s requirements and fulfil their recruitment needs.

Since joining TARGETrecruit Holly has used this expertise working across a variety of projects in the Banking, Construction and Utilities sectors identifying top talent and delivering a great candidate journey. Holly has extensive experience delivering assessment days and is BPS Level A qualified.


Simon Katchay, Recruitment Manager, TARGETrecruit

Simon started his career in recruitment 6 years ago working in the campus recruitment team at RBS Americas in Stamford Connecticut. After moving back to the UK, he briefly worked for an RPO based onsite at RBS, before joining TARGETrecruit in 2013 as a Resourcing Partner.

Having worked with a variety of clients and industry sectors including Banking, e-Commerce, IT and Construction, Simon moved up to lead on the delivery for a global investment bank, managing a team of recruiters in New York. After 4 years as an account manager he has now moved into the commercial arm of the business. Prior to life as a recruiter, Simon worked in and with HE institutions.

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Wednesday, 21 February 2018
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
£449.00 – £499.00
Event Categories:


InterContinental Hotel – London 02
1 Waterview Drive, Greenwich Peninsula
London, SE10 0TW
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Symposium Events
020 7231 5100