World of Learning 2009 preview

World of Learning 2009 speakers

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This year’s World of Learning conference and exhibition will take place at the NEC, Birmingham on 30 September and 1 October 2009.

The conference

Chaired by BBC presenter Bill Turnbull, the conference will look at the impact of the current economic climate on businesses, the role learning and development (L&D) plays in business performance, and how L&D professionals can equip themselves to face today’s challenges.

This year’s conference will focus on how L&D specialists can help their organisations continue to invest in the skills of the people they will need to take them out of the recession while at the same time responding to pressure on budgets. This will include, for example, the need to assess in-house skills in light of restructuring following redundancies or mergers.

The agenda is case study-driven, enabling delegates to benefit from the experiences of a wide range of commercial, public sector and charitable organisations.

Andrew Gee, senior project manager, World of Learning, says: “In 2009, the World of Learning will provide a comprehensive resource and guide for learning and development professionals at all levels, with solutions to their needs in today’s world.”


John McNamara, chief executive at the Alliance of Sector Skills Council, will give the opening address. McNamara will examine how L&D can contribute to business performance, focusing on how to equip employees for a recession and the responsiveness of L&D strategies to changing business needs.

He says: “There is no denying the breadth and depth of this recession, but that is all the more reason why we have to invest in skills. The measures we take now to retain, re-skill and re-deploy the UK workforce can speed up recovery and prepare for future growth.”

Nigel Paine, managing director of, will deliver the keynote address, looking at L&D’s role in employee engagement, including understanding the motivations or employees and learners in today’s work environment.

Penny Tamkin, programme director, management and leadership, at The Work Foundation, will give the closing address on driving performance improvements through learning. Tamkin will examine what makes for memorable learning and how to measure performance improvements driven by learning.

Other features

The future of learning forum: a panel of experts will examine the changing face of learning, looking at L&D alignment with business objectives and its role in HR issues. Panellists include:

The exhibition

More than 110 major industry organisations will participate. Features include:

  • A wide range of experts and providers
  • Free seminars
  • British Institute of Learning & Development (BILD) advice clinic, which also features small group skills workshops. Places must be pre-booked: call 020 8394 5171.
  • The trainer base. New for 2009, this dedicated area will offer advice on selecting a trainer
  • Experiential learning zone, where unusual and revealing activities will help explain creativity, communication and leadership
  • Serious games zone, with demonstrations of learning techniques and tools
  • Product presentations
  • The learning architect energiser zone, including sessions on workplace wellbeing, nutrition advice and reflexology
  • Networking café.

Free seminars

Seminar topics will include radical new approaches to inspiring change, an introduction to e-learning 2.0, and coaching – the fast-track to leadership and empowerment.

Sessions will include:

  • Ian Luxford, learning services director, Grass Roots, will look at colleague engagement and the bottom line. Luxford will show, through case studies from Bathstore, GAME and O2, how to disprove the idea that training’s impact on both staff and the bottom line cannot be measured.
  • David Freedman, business director, Huthwaite International, will show how the virtual classroom can be interactive, and will how it can achieve the behavioural change previously thought only possible in the classroom.
  • Kevin Johnson, chief executive, OnTrack International, will highlight, through the experiences of Vodafone, the value of taking a blending approach to developing high-potential leaders by linking the learner’s development to measurable business value.

Other speakers

Full conference programme

World of Learning 2009 is organised by Venture Marketing Group. For more information and to register, go to

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