This is a very odd blog for me to write, as it is my first since I left the scheme. In my two years as a HR trainee I have done so much, and changed as both a person and a professional. I have led on employee relations investigations, and spoke at conferences. I have run meetings with Chief Executives in attendance and designed Trust wide employability schemes. Alongside this I have made more mistakes than I can count, and several that were major enough to keep me up at night. I have developed more than I ever thought possible when I started in September 2017. Thinking back to that September one of the things I was worried about was how to get a job after I left the scheme. This blog serves as my attempt to illustrate some of the practicalities of getting your first job off the scheme, through talking about my experiences.
Thinking about leaving:
There was never a definitive point for me when I panicked and thought that I needed to get a job, as I knew happened with many of my colleagues. I had been determined whilst on the scheme to explore different areas of HR, and found that Learning and Development and Organisational Development were the areas that interested me. That meant that I already knew broadly what area of HR I wanted to work in. Through my flexi placement I had met a mentor (who still fulfills that role to me) and he spoke to me about an opportunity within my flexi placement that was coming up. This opportunity was very much within the L and D sphere, and so attracted me.
Getting the job:
After finding out about the opportunity I made sure that I kept up to date on my scheme requirements (mostly competencies) so that I could smoothly quit the scheme early, whilst remaining eligible to graduate. This wasn’t very difficult, but I just needed to be aware of it. Other than that though it was very normal. I checked on NHS Jobs for when the advert was published, and put in an application. The thing I found almost surprising when writing it was that, despite my lack of working experience, the wide and varied experiences that I had had on the scheme meant that I covered most areas of the job specification. By the time it came to interview I was very confident, I knew my interviewers, I had the experience to match the requirements of the job and I had the confidence that came from getting onto the scheme and performing whilst on it. I did the interview and got the job.
The point I’m trying to make here is that the scheme often puts you in a good position to get a job coming off it. I don’t know any-one who hasn’t got a job after leaving the scheme. This is partially because of the reputation of the scheme in the wider NHS, but also because the experiences that you get are so varied whilst on it, and your skill set so wide at the end of it, that you can find a variety of jobs that you could be eligible to apply for. The scheme does not just set you up for two years, it has the potential to give you so much more than that.