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Lauren Richardson - HR Consultant

Written by: Fiona Narburgh
Published on: 20 Jun 2024

Lauren Richardson - HR Consultant at SIPS Education

Lauren is a HR Consultant at SIPS Education. She completed a Level 2 Business Administration apprenticeship and was then employed as a Business Support Assistant. Since completing the apprenticeship, Lauren has developed her career and is now a HR Consultant with a Level 3 CIPD qualification! Lauren doesn't want to stop there, she's also hoping to achieve her Level 5 CIPD soon, too. 

If you love learning and helping people develop and have an interest in interpreting employment legislation, then Human Resources could have the role for you.

I’m Lauren. I’ve fallen in love with HR. I fell into a business administration apprenticeship when I was 19. Ten years and three promotions later I’m still here enjoying what I do

I work for SIPS Education, a not-for-profit co-operative that provides services to schools across the county, based in Sandwell. We cover a range of support to schools including IT, school meals, governance, music and art, safety management, finance and the area I’m working in - Human Resources. When Sandwell College put me forward for my interview, for the year long business support apprenticeship, I was picked to start in the HR team. When I achieved my NVQ Level 2 I was taken on as a business support assistant and then worked up the ranks to HR Consultant, with a CIPD Level 3 qualification. In the future I hope to also complete my Level 5. 

I get involved in all aspects of HR supporting people in their job role, from their initial contract of employment and how they work, their hours and flexibility, their leave, maternity and paternity benefits, sickness absence, disciplinary and grievance issues – everything to do with HR, right up until they leave. 

I started with SIPS just after the organisation was created, so I feel a real part of it, and in the ten years here I’ve been trained and developed into the role I have now as HR Consultant. Latest training topics for me have been ACAS training on employment law and online webinar on flexible working and TUPE transfer. 

I work flexibly; there’s some working at home, more in the office and for most of the week I’m out and about talking to schools and advising managers on correct HR procedures such as the management of absence, flexi working requests and employment law. I have to keep up with legislation, for example, the right to be considered for flexible working or part time working can now be made when someone first starts in the job, rather than waiting till they have been in the job for 26 weeks. 

I also go and meet with managers to make sure they are implementing and putting the right HR things in place. For example, if there’s a teacher who has been identified as needing to improve their performance. I’ll work with the manager to put in steps to support the teacher; that could be job shadowing, additional management time and training as well as setting clear improvement targets so the teacher can see what’s expected.

In HR, because we are dealing with people, no two cases are ever the same. The hardest part of my job is supporting people on sickness absence and hearing the tough personal circumstances they are going through. I’ve had to deal with some personal issues myself so that has built my understanding, empathy and compassion that I do think are essential when working in HR and with people and their lives. My manager has worked in HR for 30 years and still says she’s still learning from the complex cases we deal with. 

SIPS has certainly helped me get my own life on track, I met my fiancé here at work and we are getting married this year.

SIPS is the not-for-profit education support services provider for Sandwell, the Black Country and the West Midlands. You can find out more about SIPS, and any live vacancies they have on WMJobs.

To hear from more apprentices and view the current apprenticeship opportunities throughout the West Midlands visit our Apprenticeship Hub today!

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