An industrial placement or year in industry is a period of working under supervision, where students get the chance to experience real work life in a specific role within a firm or government department. This is crucial as employers are reluctant to recruit school leavers or graduates who have not had a chance to work even though they may have all the relevant qualifications. Hence, having chosen to study a sandwich year degree at Aston University, I am currently away on my placement in the HR department of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals, NHS Trust.
My role and responsibilities
As a Workforce Information Assistant, I work on ESR, an oracle-based software used across NHS, to provide the information required for delivery of HR functions. I am learning about the various facets of the HR process including the formalities that have to be completed at the start of, during and the end of employment with the trust. Also, I have learnt how business intelligence is used to assess various areas of business performance. This placement has made me realise the profound relationship that exists between HR and operations and how an all-encompassing HR software like ESR can make the operations of a service organisation robust by reducing costs and enhancing staff capabilities.
Reasons for working in the HR department of NHS
The NHS has been providing a unique service to the entire country since 1948. It is also one of the largest employers in the UK with 1.2 million people on its payroll. The Worcestershire Trust alone employs 6,000 people. Having an interest in HR, this was a perfect opportunity for me to learn and gain valuable experience in this area. Being a good employer, the NHS welcomes newcomers at the work place and is supportive of their personal development in terms of providing both time and training and I say this from personal experience. Hence, why would I not feel privileged, having got the chance to work with such a great organisation?
Developing Competency Skills
My placement at NHS has helped me build my competency skills. Working in a cohesive team, I have learnt to never let my team appear inadequate. Working under pressure helped improve my time management skills and taught me to not get perturbed. I have learnt to work for seven and a half hours at a stretch for five days a week in contrast to the frequent breaks that I was used to as a student. The NHS has helped enhance both my communication and problem-solving skills as I work with people from diverse backgrounds, attempting to resolve their queries.
Life as a placement student at NHS
This being my first full time job, I was naturally very nervous on my first day of work. My colleagues went out of their way to help me settle down and provide me with all the on-the-job training that was required. Having started off my placement without much experience, I worked hard and soon my colleagues and superiors recognised my effort and accepted me as a valued member of their team. At no time am I made to feel that I am here only for a temporary period. I am asked to attend all departmental meetings and invited to all departmental social gatherings like birthdays, farewell, Christmas parties and others.
To conclude, I feel privileged to have found a placement that has given me motivation for my future career through positive feedback and encouragement. I have developed an understanding how this great institution functions, despite all its problems. Last, but not least, I have realised that both interpersonal skills and hard work are mandatory to survive and succeed at the workplace.