Unlocking Opportunities with AHEP’s Annual Conference Bursary Scheme

Anissa Cheema – Senior Policy and Compliance Manager, Open University

Rashmi Gajendragadkar – Senior Student Lifecycle Reporting Officer, Imperial College London

Published 08/05/24

I found out about the bursary scheme when I contacted AHEP via phone, they explained the process clearly to me and were really helpful in ensuring I understood when the deadline was.  I wouldn’t have been able to fund the conference myself in the current financial climate if I hadn’t been successful in securing this.

Anissa Cheema – Senior Policy and Compliance Manager, Open University

As a GEM female who is looking to progress in my career, I found the session “Unlocking Ethnic Diversity in Academic and Student Services Leadership” incredibly insightful, to learn how UK Academic Registrars are looking to address the ethnicity imbalance that currently exists.

I also co-delivered two sessions as part of the AHEP Student Experience and Engagement SIG, which was great for my personal development as well as building contacts without other across the sector!

I’ve already recommended the conference to peers for 2025 and hope that I can also attend again. As part of the AHEP SEE SIG, I recognise the value that AHEP can have for individuals at different stages in their career as a place to network, make friends and learn about the sector, in a way that is wider than the everyday job might permit. In summary, it’s absolutely vital that such schemes exist and are advertised across a variety of platforms, it ensures that conference representation is accessible, diverse and welcoming! 

I found out about the bursary scheme through my college network. If not for the bursary, it would not have been possible for me to attend the event. I had browsed the agenda for the AHEP conference and felt that some of the events resonated with me and my journey with HE. The approval of the bursary helped me to attend it.

Rashmi Gajendragadkar – Senior Student Lifecycle Reporting Officer, Imperial College London

Reflecting on my attendance of the workshops at the AHEP Annual conference, there were so many insights in specific areas that will directly benefit my work as a HE professional:

1.      How change impacts – This workshop discussed changes in the HE sectors and participants highlighted issues ranging from immigration policies, growing competitiveness in the sector, distance learning and how this impacts the universities as a whole and individual HE professionals. It was useful to hear insights from a variety of institutions and ways in which they are adapting to change ranging from student experience to staff challenges. 

2.      EQI in HE  – The panel discussed their own journey and challenges they encountered in their HE career. This has certainly given me some food for thought and will encourage me to explore more opportunities in my career. While the sector is providing excellent support to bring about diversity, and equality the panel also discussed as to how much more can be done in this regard. 

3.      CV writing – Certainly very useful and learnt about lot of new techniques, making use of AI, and how to make an impact with a powerful CV.

4.      AI  – This is a very intriguing topic and several potential impacts, challenges and advantages were discussed by the panellists. AI can be very useful in increasing efficiency for personal tasks as well as teams and can be a “friend” if used effectively and appropriately.  Issues were also discussed around students’ usage of AI and its impact on plagiarism. 

5.      Meet the SIGs – I think this was one of the most interesting workshops and it was great to be introduced to all the SIG members. I will be joining a couple of SIGs very soon. !!

I think a lot of professionals would like to be a part of organisations like AHEP. I feel fortunate to have got introduced to AHEP through my organisation.  There are a lot of professionals who are new to the sector and they will definitely benefit from attending such events. This event gave me an insight into a lot of activities happening in the HE space. SIGs are a wonderful way to network within your own interests and get introduced to wider areas of HE.

In summary, the conference was very well organised, the workshops and events were well thought of and covered a wide range of topics.  The event sponsors had lots of information about their products and I think, overall it was extremely productive.

If you would like to know more about the conference bursary scheme, email hello@ahep.ac.uk

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