Bria is currently on a one year student placement with Bespoke HR as an HR Assistant. We asked her why she wanted to focus on HR for her year out, what attracted her to a small business and why other businesses should consider taking on placement students.
When did you join Bespoke HR and what attracted you to the role?
I joined in August 2019 for my year in industry as part of my degree. I was attracted to the role because of the variety of issues that Bespoke HR deals with, I knew that having the opportunity to do my placement here would mean that I would be able to see so many different aspects of HR, for such a wide range of different clients.
Why did you choose to focus on HR as part of your degree?
During my degree, and even during my A-levels, I always found I was more interested in the modules that focused on people, as opposed to things like finance. So, when I found out about HR and that it focused around people, it seemed like the best fit for me.
Why did you choose a degree which included a placement year?
Now so many people go to uni, so graduates need to find ways of making them stand out from others. When looking at uni courses I knew that I wanted to have a placement year with my degree, as that was my opportunity to make myself stand out.
I also really dreaded the idea of coming out of uni after only three years with little experience. Having a year in industry means that I have a year to gain experience and be able to have time to learn about the role, instead of being thrown in at the deep end at a role after graduation and expected to know what to do almost immediately.
What are you enjoying most about the role? What have you learnt so far?
What I’m enjoying most is the exposure I’m getting. A benefit I have found of being in a consultancy, is that the variety of issues people bring to the consultants is huge, meaning I have been exposed to so many more different strands of HR, especially when compared to what I probably would have seen if I was in-house.
Also with Bespoke HR being a smaller business it also means that there is no room to hide, in a larger business I could easy get lost and get overlooked for work, but in a smaller one I get given a variety of work to do. Even though some of the work I may not understand, I know that I could ask anyone here for help.
At Bespoke everyone has so much experience, so have been able to teach me so much, I have even learnt things just from overhearing the consultants give advice to clients over the phone.
Do you think you will pursue a career in HR as a result?
Definitely, I think after uni I will take a bit of time out to get travelling (cliché, I know!) before I settle into a full time job. I am really enjoying HR within a consultancy so I will probably look to stick with it, especially when I first graduate.
What do you think the benefits are to a small business of hiring a placement year student?
The benefits of a placement student is that they are keen. A key motivation for students to do placement is for the experience, meaning they are eager to learn and want to get involved in as much as they can, which a small business could definitely take advantage of. Also normally a student hasn’t had a proper office job before so they have a different perspective on things, which small businesses could benefit from.
What advice would you offer other businesses considering taking on a student?
A student’s first impression of you is your job advert, so try to make it stand out and interesting. The larger businesses will have the advantage of having a well known brand already, which students may be attracted to as they want that name on their CV. However, small businesses have the advantage that they have the potential to offer more hands-on experience for the students, so make that known to them.
My advice to a small business would be to think of a way to get a student to have as much hands-on experience as possible, so that they learn as much as possible. If a student is engaged and feels they are learning a lot, they are more likely to promote a smaller business for placement, which could benefit you if you choose to take on another placement student in the future.