Ellie R.

Head of HR Policy
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Ellie R.
United Kingdom

My employment

Head of HR Policy
Valuation Office Agency
United Kingdom
Government and civil service
Large business (250+ employees)

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A day in the life of a Head of HR Policy in the United Kingdom

I joined the Civil Service directly from my time at York, starting off on the HR Fast Stream before moving into senior HR roles across three departments.

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

The VOA is an Agency of HMRC responsible for business rates and council tax. I’ve previously worked in the Cabinet Office, DExEU, HMPSS and HMRC.

What do you do?

I lead on the development and delivery of HR policies for the Agency (3500 FTE). This includes working with other specialists in learning, recruitment and D&I to design guidance and rules for the organisation. HR Policies set the tone for how everyone experiences working at the Agency and my team and I work closely with our users to design ways of working which reflect the culture of the organisation. We also have a role in ensuring the legal compliance of policies and processes and engage/negotiate with Trade Unions as part of this.

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

I joined the Civil Service directly from my time at York, starting off on the HR Fast Stream before moving into senior HR roles across three departments. I can’t say there is too much which directly transfers from History to HR but I have been able to use my skills formulating arguments, writing and drafting, and analysing information.

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

No! I had my graduate scheme place lined up before I left.

Describe your most memorable day at work

Working in DExEU was certainly memorable! The days I enjoy the most are the ones where I know that what I’ve done has directly contributed to the challenges facing government and society. They’re often fast paced, requiring us to make quick good decisions in ambiguous circumstances, engage all the right stakeholders and finding common goals to unite a team. It’s incredibly satisfying to go home and see yo work on the news - not many jobs offer that.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

I was part of the editorial team at Nouse, took part in YSIS and competed and captained the York Hornets. From these experiences I learnt a combination of leadership, collaboration and teamwork skills which have been invaluable in my career.

What would you like to do next with your career?

I’ve recently completed a Personal Training qualification and am looking to develop opportunities to bring this and my HR career together working with organisations to create a more engaged workforce by raising physical wellbeing.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

Apply for things that interest you (even if it’s not what you might have planned), whatever comes back is what was meant to be. Every application is good practice.

What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?

Working in the Civil Service, applying for the Fast Stream and working in HR (I mentor people in the profession outside the Civil Service) would be the main subjects but happy to help in any way I can.

Next steps...

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