Call, Meeting & Oxford (Blog 1)

First Phone Call

My mentoring first started in early October when Valerie’s Personal Assistant Charlotte emailed me to introduce herself and arrange my first phone call with Valerie. I was a little nervous about the phone call but I had no need. We introduced each other and discussed what we both wanted to get out of the mentoring scheme. Valerie suggested that I do some research into the Dave Ulrich model, which they use at Amey Services and talked about me potentially visiting her office in Oxford.

First Meeting

The first time I met Valerie was in early November at the University of Birmingham, as she was due to give a talk to a group of MBA students. We met for coffee with Kerrie before hand and I was invited to join a round table panel, giving me the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about Valerie’s role and the Amey services. Afterwards, I attended the talk and learnt a lot about HR, for example, idea staff ratios, the key aims to providing a successful HR service and also the challenges that HR face. Valerie shared her personal experiences of how she got to her current position and explained that it will be hard work, but also worth it, and to take any opportunities that you are given.

My visit to Oxford

In mid-November I was able to go to Oxford to spend the day with Valerie and other members of the HR team. We had a mentoring session first thing in which Valerie showed me the Intranet system that all the employees use to request holidays and submit claim expenses etc. We also went over some of the company statistics that Valerie uses to identify areas that may need improvement or equally are working well. I then got to meet the general enquiry team and learn about the SAP system they use to log and take calls and emails. After lunch I met with the recruitment team who went over my CV for me and gave me interview and application tips. I was able to visit some of the other sectors within the HR team and learnt a lot about the different roles. Afterwards, I was invited to attend a CIPD conference at Oxford Brookes where Valerie was key note speaker. Valerie’s personal assistant is currently studying for her CIPD qualification and so I learnt a lot from her and from attending the event, such as the types of assignments and what the course entailed. At the end of the day I had a catch up session with Valerie on the train, as she was also coming back to Birmingham. She gave me some great advice on the types of questions I can ask to impress in an interview that would also help me to understand the HR system of other companies. I loved my day at Oxford and learnt so much, but also was able to help their recruitment team by informing them about ways that other companies were recruiting graduates and giving my opinion on the use of social media to recruit new employees. I will hopefully be returning to Oxford again soon.

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