I have worked since I was around 12 or 13, with my first job being weekends and holidays spent on the potting line or ‘added value team’ at the horticulture nursery where my father works. Whilst at school, I also held part-time jobs washing up in a pub, cleaning in the office of a steel works and working on the check-out in Kwik Save. None of these jobs were glamourous, but they were a great start in the workplace and ensured I really understood the value of money and hard work.
Shortly after finishing my A Levels, I spent a summer working in the IT department of Birmingham Midshires in Wolverhampton, before heading to university for my undergraduate degree in History. Whilst at uni, I worked part-time for Pearson Professional Centres, invigilating computer-based tests including the driving theory test. I also spent the summer before my second year working at Manchester Libraries Service.
After completing my undergraduate degree, I embarked on a career in management consulting, spending nearly seven years at Accenture. Whilst there, I worked on a wide variety of projects, covering everything from internal communications for an IT outsourcing deal at a global retail bank, through to NHS project management and corporate citizenship strategy. I have worked with clients in a range of sectors and industries, including financial services, professional services, healthcare, technology and the not-for-profit sector.
Consulting was a great career choice for me after university. I have always loved variety and change, so the idea of starting a new job every few months didn’t faze me at all. I wasn’t entirely sure what I would do with my history degree, but I knew I loved technology and I relished the challenge of trying to help people solve problems, so Accenture seemed the perfect choice. I loved it and expected to spend my whole career there.
Unfortunately, life does not always go to plan. A year after I joined Accenture, I had to take some time out due to illness. I was fortunate enough to be able to recover and return to my job at Accenture, but this life experience ultimately led to a change in career direction and my transition into HR.
After returning from illness, I spent around two years working in at internal role in Accenture’s HR team, redesigning the learning and development curriculum for the Analyst Consulting Group (the graduate talent programme in the UK), turning it into an award-winning programme. After this project, I returned to client-facing consulting work and did a stint in NHS IT Project Management, deploying medical records software in hospitals up and down the country, but I soon realised that I loved working in learning and talent and I wanted to focus upon developing my career in HR.
Keen to gain CIPD accreditation, I signed up for a master’s degree in Human Resource Management and Development at the University of Salford and started to study part-time alongside a new role at Accenture working with the Corporate Citizenship (CSR) team on two key strategy projects looking at how we engage young people in the workplace. As this role came to an end about six months into my degree, I left Accenture to focus upon completing my degree as a ‘full-time’ student, alongside work as a freelance learning and talent consultant.
After completing my studies, I joined the HR team of a global investment bank where I worked as a talent development specialist, managing the learning and development curriculum for graduates joining Infrastructure (Technology and Operations, HR, Compliance and Regulatory, Audit, Risk and Finance) divisions globally.
In 2016, I joined the UK Civil Service in a specialist leadership and talent development role in Civil Service HR, part of Cabinet Office. As a Senior Cohort Leader (Talent Coach) in the Fast Stream and Early Talent team, I had a fantastic introduction to leading and working in Government, coaching and managing Fast Streamers working in departments across Whitehall and elsewhere in the Civil Service.
In 2018, I took an opportunity to work overseas on secondment to the Falkland Islands Government in a senior HR role, redesigning HR policies and processes for this remote British Overseas Territory. Moving to work in this unique and challenging environment was a huge leap, but one of the best decisions of my life. Not every day do you get to walk to work with penguins and dolphins swimming past, but in the Falklands that is very much part of the experience!
Since returning to the UK during the global pandemic in 2020, I have returned to the Civil Service, where I am now working on covid-19 workforce planning, as a HR Business Partner in the Joint Biosecurity Centre, part of NHS Test on Trace.
You can learn more about my professional experience and skills on my LinkedIn profile.