It is still a common occurrence among all sorts of small companies operating in different sectors to have no dedicated HR manager. It’s even more common for such companies to share out the HR function to a range of people within the organisation with no one having overall responsibility. This is just what Philippa Bevin found when she started as an apprentice for the Manchester based charity BeST Ltd almost three years ago.
The not-for-profit organisation, which provides bespoke supportive tenancies for vulnerable adults throughout the UK, was expanding when Phillippa joined. As a result, she found herself working closely with the Chief Operations Officer taking over various HR duties as part of her apprenticeship from the start.
Demonstrating a natural aptitude for the profession, Phillippa was soon promoted to HR and Health & Safety Officer with responsibilities ranging from recruitment to updating and developing new employment policies. Without any formal training in HR, however, she quickly realised she needed a CIPD qualification. After a ‘very useful’ phone consultation with a Watson Martin Partnership adviser she signed up for the Level 5 Intermediate Diploma in HR Management.
Already half way through the programme and well on course to complete with flying colours, Phillippa explains how the qualification is giving her the confidence to excel in her work.
WMP – ‘a best practice distance learning provider’
“After my promotion, my job became more strategic and I realised very quickly that I needed some solid learning to become confident in my role. I put together a training proposal and began shopping around. I knew that I could not afford days out to learn in a classroom because of my responsibilities at work, so this narrowed down my search. I then checked recommendations, the resources on offer and the Virtual Learning Environment provided for about five different providers. Watson Martin Partnership kept coming up. It fitted the bill as a best practice distance learning provider with the hands on support that I was looking for.
Return on investment
“I was originally considering doing the Level 3 qualification but the adviser at Watson Martin Partnership suggested a Level 5 because of my experience and previous studying. It was a very useful conversation as I was unsure where I was in terms of my own knowledge of HR. My company is paying for the qualification so it was important that I made the right decision.
“My adviser Alisoun Nisbet has been invaluable in directing me towards the right modules at the right time in order to support the projects I am doing at work. I didn’t want to be doing two very different things at the same time and I wanted my learning to overlap in both areas. In this way, it is easier to demonstrate to my employer that there is a direct link between what I am studying and improving my work. They can see the return they are getting on their investment.
Virtual Learning Environment is ‘extremely useful’
“Alisoun’s knowledge and experience are spot on. She relates what I am doing at work to various HR theories and practices and then sends me off to find out more information. We talk on Skype every month and I email her when necessary. Having someone with her knowledge has been really useful in showing my employer what best practice HR can achieve in an organisation.
“The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is extremely useful. I use it religiously to download all the material for a subject. I also really like the workbooks and the reading lists.
“Overall, studying has been invaluable for my own personal development. It reinforces the knowledge I have gained and makes it very relevant to the workplace. I am really enjoying the course.”
Phillippa is currently putting into practice what she has learnt by streamlining her organisation’s employment policies and developing the recruitment side of the business. She has developed a passion for learning and is already considering studying for a CIPD Level 7 Advanced Diploma in the future. We wish her good luck!