On Friday 10 March 2023, a lunchtime networking event took place at Cardiff University. The event was attended by both AUA members and non-members from Cardiff University, Swansea University and Bath Spa University.

This was organised by:

• Melissa Mulhall – South Wales and South West Network Coordinator
• Lorraine Ball – South Wales and South West Deputy Network Coordinator
• Eva Savage – Cardiff University Branch Advocate
• Sally Lewis – South Wales and South West Deputy Network Coordinator

The aim of this networking event to support and encourage collaboration and communication across the South West and South Wales Region. This was the opportunity for many members to meet in person for the first time in several years and discuss HE themes and issues and promote all the great work the AUA do.  The event was aimed at all Professional Service staff not specifically members, to encourage learning about AUA and membership. 

Melissa Mulhall – South Wales and South West Network Coordinator
Lorraine Ball – South Wales and South West Deputy Network Coordinator
The Cardiff University Nightline Bear!
Sally Lewis – South Wales and South West Deputy Network Coordinator
Jordan Paterson – Member Engagement Administrator, AUA

Organising the event

We confirmed Friday 10th March as a date that all the representatives could commit to and then promoted the event across the network, at Cardiff University through the Professional Services Newsletter and the AUA Yammer Group (open to all AUA members, past, present, and current).  Eva emailed all AUA members.  I sent a personal invite to all academic and Professional Services staff involved in the  AUA International Women’s Day video recordings.   I asked our IT Communications group to promote the event to University IT Staff through our weekly IT Crowd News. 

We agreed to cater lunch for the event and liaised with catering and CSL Building Support to ensure the location, layout of space and ample food was ordered, and all attendees adequately catered for. 

The South West and South Wales Representatives arrived at the event early to ensure the space was sufficiently set up and catering in-situ before the event start and to welcome any attendees who arrived early. 

Melissa our AUA Representative for South West and South Wales, Jordan from AUA and Eva our Cardiff University Advocate introduced the AUA, what events the region have held recently, introduced the other AUA and regional representatives and talked about what events we are looking to host in the coming year. 

How the AUA supported

The AUA supported the event by facilitating bookings through our internal system. This meant we could:

• Keep an eye on the number bookings
• Prevent the event from being over-subscribed
• Track dietary requirements of attendees so these could be passed on and be catered for
• Send joining instructions prior to the event taking place

Jordan Paterson – Member Engagement Administrator for the AUA travelled to Cardiff to support with the event. This included talking a little bit about Accreditation and the CPD Framework. In addition, he also talked to attendees about how the AUA could support them.

If you are interested in finding out what support is available from the AUA, contact us via hello@aua.ac.uk

Reflecting on how it went

The event had a good number of people in attendance. This included a mix of number of current AUA members and non-AUA members, with HE professionals from Cardiff University, Swansea University and Bath Spa University.

From speaking to those in attendance, it is clear the event generated interest in both the AUA as a whole and AUA membership.

The event was hosted in Cardiff University’s Centre for Student Life building. The facilities, location and catering options were excellent.

In terms of future events, we could look at extending the time of event to have a social and networking lunch followed by a themed discussion or guest speaker.

How is it being followed up

• Address any issues, questions raised, ie. is CU going to fund future PGCert qualifications?
• To gain feedback from attendees to check if they enjoyed event, any follow up questions, what they valued, what future events they would like SW and SW Region to host?

Looking forward

It’s always good to get out and talk to HE professionals from across your own institution and beyond. There is also a definite appetite and identifiable benefit to holding in-person events like these, and running more in the future is something the network could definitely look at doing.

If this was the case, the network could look to promote and extend events across the region. This could include rotating events across the region at different institutions. This is something the South regional network has done previously to good success. You can read more about these events at the links below.