Providing training spaces for genetic counsellors
Interview with Amanda Fletcher, a Conference and Events Organiser in Wellcome Connecting Science’s Learning and Training team.
Hinxton Hall Conference Centre is part of Wellcome Connecting Science. Our programme enables everyone to explore the impact of genomic science on research, health, and society, and has two main areas of focus – engagement and society; and learning and training. Our learning and training offer takes the form of online and in-person courses, conferences, and other events, which are aimed at research and healthcare professionals. The Learning and Training team develop and deliver around 60 events each year, which attract over three thousand participants to the Wellcome Genome Campus. All these events are held in the Conference Centre, utilising our auditorium, meeting spaces, and accommodation.
In January of this year, we hosted the Wellcome Connecting Science course on Genomic Practice for Genetic Counselling. We spoke to Amanda Fletcher, a Conference and Events Organiser in Connecting Science’s Learning and Training team, about this event.
Hinxton Hall: Hi Amanda! Can you tell us a little more about this event and who it was aimed at?
Amanda Fletcher: This course has been running annually since 2016, and this year’s event was the first one to be held in person again, since 2020. The event’s purpose was to meet the training needs of genetic counsellors in the UK, and globally, as they upskill in response to the roll-out of genomic sequencing in the clinic. This year’s course focussed on the practical applications of genomics with several hands-on workshop sessions.
HH: Which rooms in the Conference Centre did you use for this event?
AF: We chose the Rosalind Franklin Pavilion as our main meeting room because it is a good size for our needs: we had a combination of short talks, workshops, and people working in small groups. It has lots of natural light, which contributes to course participants finding it a good experience to use for three consecutive days. We also chose it for its advanced audio-visual set up, which includes access to a technician to support with this.
Ours was a fully in-person event, but we did have one remote speaker. The AV technician ensured we provided a seamless experience for both the external speaker and the people in the room, with excellent quality visuals and sound. It was great that he arranged everything for us in advance, such as recording talks as needed.
We always like to use the Event Space for coffee and networking. It feels both intimate and spacious! The Dining Room is also an informal space for sociable meals, and the cosy Graham Cameron Bar over in the Hall is great for small groups in the evenings. So our delegates had lots of opportunities to discuss and network in different settings, during the three days of the event.
One room that we find some of our participants really appreciate is the Family Room. The fact that there is a quiet safe environment, with a fridge for baby food, milk or medication, helps to encourages new parents to attend professional events with their children (and carers).
HH: Which aspects of the Conference Centre food offer were you most impressed by?
AF: We had a number of delegates with unusual dietary requirements and allergies attending this event, and the Restaurant Associates kitchen and front of house team were incredibly helpful and transparent about what foods were available. We feel our delegates had a more enjoyable experience, knowing that their requirements had been catered for.
HH: What was your experience of working with the Hinxton Hall Conference and Events team?
AF: Becky (Conference and Events Manager) and Hannah (Conference and Events Organiser) were very responsive and friendly. We have a very good working relationship with all the team at Hinxton Hall since we run so many events there. They are also our Connecting Science colleagues, which helps!
HH: Thank you for you time and insights, Amanda.
If you are interested in booking any of the spaces mentioned for a meeting, please get in touch!