Business Advice and a Great Intro (Blog 1)


I’m Zeba, part of Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme (ALMP) and I am being mentored by Valerie Hughes-D’Aeth, Group HR Director of Amey. I joined the ALMP to gain experience into Human Resources (HR) and I wanted guidance, experience and knowledge from the best.

My first conversation with Valerie was over the phone (due to our infamous power cut last term, my original meeting had been cancelled). At first I was extremely nervous about my conversation with Valerie but had no reason to be. I had a great time talking with Valerie about her time at university, jobs and how she first started her career as a retail graduate with Selfridges. In turn Valerie asked me about university life, my career objectives and what I would like to achieve form the ALMP.

As a psychology student, I don’t have much of a business background. Here Valerie broke down my concerns regardless of my lack of knowledge and explained to me in depth how HR operates. From what I have learnt so far HR is the strategic management of organisations important assets, its people. Valerie informed me of an important core in HR, the Ulrich Model. It is spilt into 3 main areas which are general, operational and specialists. General roles can be working on the front line in the service centre to deal with employee queries on payroll, work hours etc. Specialist roles can be in areas of learning and development of employees, apprenticeship and graduate programmes. Operational roles focus on providing support to help businesses organize themselves to run more effectively.

At the end of our conversation Valerie’s PA Charlotte arranged our next meeting which would be held at the Oxford Science Park, where Amey’s HR department operate. I am looking forward to meeting Valerie and will keep you updated about my day in Oxford.


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