HESPA Development

HESPA Development is the name we use to refer to our learning and development, or training, activity.

HESPA Development refers to our learning and development activity for members. This includes paid-for training and other opportunities which might be free or covered by member subscriptions.

HESPA's Development Committee exists to identify the training and development needs of HESPA members, and works to build a comprehensive programme of development activity to support those needs. The committee developed the below "Strategic Planning in Higher Education" quadrant to help steer its offering and ensure that all members' needs and interests were being represented, despite their varied and wide-ranging nature.

Strategic Planning in Higher Education Quadrant


We are fortunate to operate within a hugely active and engaged community and we couldn’t offer such a high quality, relevant and tailored programme without the support of our members. If you have suggestions for additional development activities that would be useful to the community or indeed if you can offer training yourself, please contact

Strategic Planning in HE Training Programme 

This programme brings together our paid-for training activities. The activities divide into two categories;

•    Understanding the landscape – core sessions that provide valuable context for all planners.

•    Building your capabilities – additional training that helps planners to develop capabilities which might be specific to their role or institution.

If you are interested in a training activity that is not yet available for booking please email to register your interest.

CPD Certification: One of HESPA’s core objectives is to support the professional development and career progression of those working in strategy and planning. In working towards delivering this we are seeking certification for all paid-for training sessions with the CPD Certification Service.

Strategic Planning in HE: Understanding the landscape  

These core sessions provide strategic planners with an understanding of both the landscape and the processes.

This session gives participants a structured and systematic understanding of the strategy-development and strategic planning process. In it, a clear case will be made for the separation of strategy from strategic planning and then a process will be shown for their development. Many practical tools and techniques for strategy development will be presented, with interactive sessions and templates for participants to take away to apply in their own institution.

Next events: 

9 and 10 October 2024

13 and 14 May 2025

CPD Certificate awarded

The Annual Planning Process is fundamental to the implementation of strategy, and yet frequently it seems that what it delivers is not commensurate with the effort and time it absorbs. This session will explore what makes annual planning challenging and how to create a process that works for your university.  

The session begins from the perspective that the annual planning round must be a structured strategic conversation if it is to be effective, and the sessions will be structured as a set of conversations allowing participants to reflect on the issues and think through what will work in their own environment.

Next event: 19 June 2024

CPD Certificate awarded 

This ‘Introduction to HE data’ seminar is designed to provide colleagues new to data roles with a comprehensive overview and induction to the world of Higher Education data. The virtual version, which is held in two sessions over consecutive days, will give attendees an understanding of best practice when analysing HE data, and offer ideas for how their learning can be used in practice. Whilst a broad range of data sources will be covered, there will be a particular focus on HESA data and how it can be used to inform decision making across your organisation.

The session will be delivered by Daniel Kidd, Deputy Academic Registrar at the University of Wolverhampton and formerly Head of Training and Consultancy at HESA, via a combination of presentations, and there will be an opportunity for participants to ask questions after each section. There may also be a short piece of homework to complete in between sessions.

Next events:

4 and 5 December 2024

4 and 5 June 2025


HEIs are now able to access and process ever larger quantities of data, coming from various sources – internal and external systems, students, social media, etc. - ever more quickly. However, data, KPIs and analytics must be related to strategic objectives and drivers to make a real difference to service quality and performance. 

In this workshop, we will address a range of questions, including:

•    How can we design KPIs that enable us to generate accurate and precise data?

•    How can we effectively transform data into information?

•    What types of behaviours and actions can we encourage through an information-based approach?

Next event: To be confirmed

CPD certificate awarded

Strategic Planning in HE: Building your capabilities  

These additional training sessions offer an opportunity for planners to develop their capabilities and knowledge in areas of strategic planning activity which might be specific to their particular role or institution.  

Ever been caught off-guard by your VC and asked what ‘we’ should think about a policy proposal? Ever been tasked with writing a consultation response whilst coordinating a HESA return and not known what to say? Or maybe you have had a 700 page document send to your in-tray in the middle of a planning round been told ‘read this by 5pm and summarise’. Does any of this sound familiar?   If so then this practical workshop might be for you. In this workshop, attendees will learn how to digest information, how to come up with opinions and how to communicate them effectively . 

Data is a crucial part of decision-making within any planning department – but we only truly get value from the numbers when we can present them effectively to other stakeholders. This course will give attendees the confidence and critical skills to translate their knowledge of the data into compelling visual presentations across a range of formats.

The course will lead attendees through a repeatable framework – evaluating the needs of the audience, identifying the key message, selecting the right chart, and using colour and design techniques to enhance the storytelling. The course will also cover the practical use of filters and drilldowns for interactive dashboards.

Next events: 

5 and 6 June 2024

CPD Certificate awarded.

The Imposter Syndrome describes a condition where we feel that we don’t deserve the position, responsibility or profile that we have. People who suffer with Imposter Syndrome often forget to think about all the things that they do achieve and all the skills and qualities that they do have. We will tackle all these issues at this workshop.  

Next event: to be confirmed

This session aims to support participants to understand what Business Partnering is; helping them to understand and develop some of the behaviours and skills that might be useful in developing their own partnership working.

Next event: 12 and 13 September 2024


CPD Certification

One of HESPA's core objectives is to be the primary organisation dedicated to supporting the professional development and career progression of those working in strategy and planning in UK higher education. We are now working with the CPD Certification Service and aim to have all HESPA training assessed and certificated, some of the training sessions have already passed the assessment and carry the certificates.  You can view the list of training events you have attended and will soon be able to download your CPD certificate via your Dashboard.

Additional Learning Opportunities


Special Interest Groups

A group of planners with a common interest who wish to engage in discussion and work in a particular area.

Find out more


Discussion Boards

Members use the Discussion Boards to ask question and to share knowledge. These can provide a useful sounding board for ideas.

Find out more


Annual Conferences

Our in-person and virtual conferences take place annually. Find out more about upcoming conferences and recordings and resources from past conferences here.

Find out more


Showcasing Good Practice

Our annual Showcasing Good Practice Week provides an opportunity for members to share their particular successes and celebrate and promote the work of planners in the HE sector.

Find out more



Attending a HESPA event is a great way to develop your skills and meet fellow planners.

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Our mentoring scheme pairs HESPA members to work together to develop specific areas of expertise related to strategy and planning.

Find out more


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