Gaining Work Experience in HR

This post comes from second year undergraduate Harry Brown, who is conducting a work placement as part of the Engaging Humanities module. Harry’s experience demonstrates the numerous career trajectories open to our students.

So far, I have completed two days of work experience in as an Human Resources Assistant to the HR Manager at T.H. White Ltd Head Office in Devizes. The immediate project I was assigned involved gathering as much evidence as possible on details of the coronavirus; facts, statistics and figures that affect company policy, regarding health and safety, pay, sickness and holidays looking into the immediate future. This I found rewarding as I was applying some research skills and directly helping the company in its decision making. The responsibility helped fuel my ambition to get the job done as effectively and efficiently as possible.

The next task to complete was to study and understand the rules and regulations surrounding redundancy and redundancy pay, something which is clearly in the news a lot at present. From this, I learnt new aspects of the law and began to understand the extent of the safeguards in place for the employee and the stringent conditions a company is aligned to in such as process. The next task was to understand the information around dismissal and how this decision is brought about. For this aspect, I was given a scenario to shadow, which provided me with experience regarding how the regulations and process of dismissal is operated. This was the single most interesting part of the work experience thus far, as the decision of dismissal is the most severe procedure an HR department carries out. The responsibility of getting the facts of scenarios and the law correct means that the responsibility lies fully in the company and the process and procedure must be to the book and there must be no breaches in the law.

Harry (left) at the careers event representing T.H. White

I also attended a year 10/11 careers event whereby I acted as a representative of T.H. White, discussing career opportunities and work experience within the company with regards to Human Resources. I found this went very well, as I could relate to what many young people of 15/16 years of age think about  career possibilities and the abundance of opportunities, as I was at that stage just five years ago, with many options in front of me. Since the two days of work experience, I have been assigned the task of reading the ACAS guidelines surrounding the code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures. This will therefore allow me to understand the law and tips on procedure to then progress in my understanding of knowledge within the field of Human Resources. This in turn will make my understanding of the work experience in the future, much greater and enable me to be more confident in my answers to decision making.

In light of the serious coronavirus outbreak in the UK, my next phase of work experience has been postponed, therefore I will most likely be looking at a few months before engaging in some more HR. I will therefore use this time to read articles and books surrounding the HR field, to give me a more in-depth understanding of the job and therefore, hopefully this will enable me to have more information attained before engaging in some more practical experience. Furthermore, if this coronavirus pandemic continues beyond May, then I shall consult my Human Resources manager regarding possible facetime of Skype calls so that I can undergo virtual work experience to help complete my set-amount of hours for the work experience.

Overall therefore, I can say that I have thoroughly enjoyed my work experience. My Human Resources manager Jacqui has been very helpful and has made the job as practical as possible, alongside a good amount of educational learning which, I thoroughly believe has been a good balance and has provided me with a fabulous insight into the field of HR. I am very much looking forward to the next phase.

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