Careers Newsletter: October 2023

Careers Spotlight: Human Resources

All large companies have a human resources department, but what do they actually do?

In simplest terms, the HR (Human Resources) department is a group who are responsible for managing the employees of a company i.e., recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training, and sometimes firing employees as well as administering employee benefits.

The tasks human resources work on include

1. Recruit candidates

HR needs to understand the organisation’s needs and make sure those needs are met when recruiting for new positions. It’s not as simple as just throwing an ad up on Indeed: you’ll need to analyze the market, consult stakeholders, and manage budgets. 

2. Hire the right employees

Human resources is in charge of arranging interviews, coordinating hiring efforts, and onboarding new employees. They’re also in charge of making sure all paperwork involved with hiring someone is filled out and making sure that everything from the first day to each subsequent day is navigated successfully.

3. Process payroll

Payroll is its own beast. Every payday must have taxes calculated and hours collected. Expenses need to be reimbursed and raises and bonuses need to be added in as well. If you think it’s a chore doing taxes just once a year, imagine what it must be like to be in HR and make sure they’re properly deducted every pay period. 

4. Conduct disciplinary actions

This responsibility may be why HR tends to get a bad rap. When navigated inappropriately, disciplinary actions can lead to the loss of a valuable employee and can even result in litigation or a poor reputation. But when handled appropriately, disciplinary action can result in the success of an employee.

For instance, if a company notices that a particular employee is routinely late and continues being late even after the employee has received several warnings, HR could step in and investigate the reason for the tardiness. It may be an opportunity to extend benefits such as counseling to the employee or offer additional resources to help the employee learn to be on time. Instead of taking on the cost of firing and then recruiting a replacement for that employee, it could be a learning opportunity that could enhance that employee’s career.

On the other hand, sometimes disciplinary action isn’t the best course to take and an employee should be let go. The best human resources departments know when an employee isn’t the right fit for a company and would be happier somewhere else. It’s up to HR to develop a strong enough relationship with managers and employees alike to identify the cohesiveness and health of a team.

5. Update policies

Policies need to be updated (or at least examined) every year as the organization changes. It’s HR’s job to make official updates to policies and to suggest changes to policies when they no longer serve the company or the employees. Sometimes a policy should be updated as a reaction to an occurrence. HR should always be included in and consulted with regarding these decisions.

6. Maintain employee records

Maintaining HR records is mandated by law. These records help employers identify skill gaps to help with the hiring process and to analyze demographic data and comply with regulations. They also contain personal details and emergency contacts for each employee. 

7. Conduct benefit analysis

Staying competitive is of prime importance when trying to attract the best talent. A promising recruit may choose a different company with lesser pay if the benefits are more attractive. HR should routinely investigate similar companies to see if their benefits are competitive.

To be successful in human resources you will need good soft skills such as:

For more information on careers in human resources click on the links below to visit the national careers website or the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development website.

Boosting your CV

So what is a CV?  CV is short for Curriculum Vitae and is a short document which summarises your unique skills, character, experience and achievements.  

For students it can feel difficult to know what to write as you haven't had the time to build up the experience that employers always seem to want.

In this section we will look at ways of making your CV stand out for future employers so you can get that dream job.  Last month we looked at after school clubs, this month we consider voluntary work.

Consider volunteering for a few weeks:

A great way to improve your working experience is to volunteer for a few weeks.

And we’re not just about the local charity shop.

If you have a particular type of job in mind that you’d like to do, why not search for companies within that industry and request to do a couple of weeks volunteering with them? The company will benefit from having an extra pair of hands for a few weeks, and you’ll benefit from improving your knowledge, understanding and experience, which will look great on your CV!

Finding volunteering opportunities is easier than you think. The first place you should start looking is in your local area. Drop by some of the places that you wouldn’t mind working in for a few weeks and ask if they have the capacity to take you on as a volunteer.

If you don’t have any luck in your local area, try searching online. There are a large number of volunteering websites out there that list opportunities all across the UK.

Careers in Hertfordshire: Engineering and Manufacturing

Hertfordshire continues to build on its pioneering industrial heritage. The first production commercial jetliner, the de Havilland Comet, was developed and manufactured in Hatfield in 1947 and Hertfordshire was home to the first digital radio manufacturer in the UK.

Stevenage is the leading location for the UK space industry and home to the 2018 ExoMars Rover and the 2017 Solar Orbiter Satellite research and development programmes.

Hertfordshire’s engineering research and manufacturing capability is built on a long history of innovation. Established centres of excellence include:

Key Companies include:

Hertfordshire’s world-class engineering companies specialise in aerospace, space and satellite engineering, communication technologies, electronics, defence and security-related equipment and logistics.

The advanced engineering sector includes top global companies such as Airbus, MBDA, Johnson Matthey, and Smiths Detection, as well as a multitude of niche engineering companies involved in everything from components to consumables.

Across the UK, more than 90,000 companies are involved in advanced manufacturing and engineering, employing 2.7 million people.

Between 2005 and 2015, manufacturing productivity grew three times faster than the rest of the UK’s economy. Advanced manufacturing contributes more than £162 billion to the British economy. R&D investment in the sector, at £13.5 billion a year, accounts for almost 70% of Britain’s entire research and development spending.

Advanced manufacturing and engineering contributed £3.5 billion to the Hertfordshire economy in 2015. The value of the sector to the economy grew by 2.1% per year between 2005 and 2015, compared with a national rate of 1.6%.

For more information please go to 

Current Opportunities

This month we have opportunities for students to learn how to start their career in dietetics (how nutrition affects our health), apprenticeships at IBM, as well webinars on careers in human resources

IBM Apprenticeships Webinar 

Due to much demand, we are really excited to welcome back IBM for the third year in a row to discuss all things apprenticeships during a free and interactive live webinar on 17th October 2023!

- Come hear directly from the recruitment team

- Get all the latest application tips and tricks from current apprentices to learn how to make your application stand out

- Take part in a Live Q&A to get all your questions answered

Sign up using the link below:

HoP Webinar Series

Personal Trainers (PT) play a vital role in supporting individuals to maintain their fitness goals. They usually work on a 1:1 basis with clients but this could be in a gym, leisure centre, at home or out in the local park. Being a good PT takes a lot of skills - as well as having a great understanding of how the body works they need to be able to communicate effectively with clients and plan over a short and long term. In the webinar you will hear from a PT as well as finding out what courses and qualifications you might need. You'll also learn about Hertfordshire's wider Sports, Leisure and Physical Activity industry and the skills and jobs that are needed. 


Registrations are now live on HOP and can be found here….. 

Careers in Human Resources