Lauren Bailey began her career in the dental industry, starting out as a receptionist and then progressing to assistant manager. In 2017, looking for new opportunities and change, Lauren decided to chase her dream of working in HR and started work at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) as an apprentice. Lauren was deputised to HR Operational Delivery Advisor just six months later and has since been awarded Department for Transport (DfT) Apprentice of the Year 2018.
We ask Lauren to share her story of success.
Tell us about your apprenticeship journey
It wasn’t always easy, although I feel fulfilled coming out of it. I received regular work, which was often a set of questions to research and give detailed answers. I found this method of learning a struggle, but it did help me retain the information.
I was due to begin my Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in June 2017 and had been assured by my talent coach that my Business and Administration qualification would be completed by February. Several cancelled meet-ups and a few massive pushes to get-work-done-later, I completed it at the end of May!
What opportunities have opened to you through being an apprentice?
I wouldn’t have been able to get my job with the MCA in HR without a CIPD qualification (I had been looking for a long time!), and as the role offered was that of an apprentice, I landed myself in my dream field.
What would you say to inspire someone thinking about doing an apprenticeship scheme?
It can be your way to get your foot in the door to a career you don’t have the qualifications to otherwise pursue.
Outline your typical day in the office
My role is so varied that it’s hard to outline exactly how it would go…
I deal with many ad hoc requests. Sometimes a piece of work I had planned won’t get a look in until the following day. My colleague Emma and I manage the Central HR inbox, so when I first come into work I’ll spend some time sorting and sending emails onto the relevant person. They can be about anything from enquiries about pensions to someone submitting a formal grievance.
One of my key responsibilities is arranging medical tests for our Maritime Operations employees. This is imperative as they need to be fit to carry out their jobs. I liaise with our occupational health provider to arrange the appointments and help with any queries that come in. This project has been running for some time now, with over 400 people to arrange medicals for.
Proudest career achievement?
It’s absolutely my DfT Apprentice of the Year Award 2018.
Most rewarding part of your role?
My previous roles have always been about helping people. This is the reason I decided to pursue a job in HR; I enjoy getting queries and helping people to solve them.
Best thing about working at the MCA?
The support that I receive from my team and other areas of the business. If I’m struggling with my workload or a task, I have my colleagues around to help me.
Most challenging part of your role?
My role isn’t specialist and requires knowledge in all aspects of HR. I see this as a positive as it gives me an insight into all parts of the sector, but it can be a struggle to gain an in-depth knowledge in so many subjects.
Find out more about apprenticeship schemes and other routes into the Civil Service here.