1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Working in HR, I have a broad range of daily tasks. Mainly I work within the HR Operations team, carrying out daily tasks such as, managing onboarding for new starters, putting together paperwork for hires, providing employment/tenancy references, leavers or contractual changes and helping with general HR queries on the phone or via email. I also work closely with the Recruitment team, most recently helping to shortlist CVs for internship, fixed term and graduate roles, reviewing video interviews, and arranging face to face interviews with hiring managers and the candidates. I have daily interactions internally most frequently with the rest of the HR department which includes Benefits, HRIS and the HRBPs, but also almost everyday with colleagues from all departments across the business in the EMEA region assisting with HR queries. Also, I have daily interactions externally, helping the Recruitment team with booking in interviews, providing feedback to interview candidates and also for HR Ops collecting appropriate right to work documents for new hires to ensure we follow the correct procedures. A key responsibility of mine is running the First Morning Welcome for new hires, including permanent and work experience participants, this involves a short tour of the building, talking about Christie's history, a security briefing, handling any questions and making sure that people have a really positive experience for their first day at Christie's. Also, for the Recruitment team I help to put together posts to go on our corporate LinkedIn and Glassdoor pages, plus craft appropriate responses to reviews left by previous employees. Alongside this, I complete 20% off the job for my apprenticeship training, which includes going to college, completing assignments and doing training/webinars.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt so many new and developed existing skills throughout my time working at Christie's. Firstly, my communication and interpersonal skills is a key area that I thought I had as a fairly strong existing skill, however from working at Christie's I have realised how much this has developed. From talking to a much broader range of people I have grown in confidence, which has also been supported by having more HR function knowledge and wider business understanding. Also, doing the First Morning Welcome as a fairly new starter myself was daunting but I am so glad that I have done this, it definitely a highlight getting to meet new people each week and welcome them to such an interesting place to work! I am now much more confident communicating face to face, over the phone and via email with a variety of internal and external people. Also, I have developed my teamwork skills, I have found that Christie's is a very familial environment and colleagues are encouraged to come together (often from across the world) with their ideas, which has been great to take on board. I would also have to say that I have developed my ability to problem solve, often in HR you may been seen as knowing all the answers, which nobody can possess! I have learnt how to handle questions that I may not know the answer to immediately, for instance asking if I could call the person back or clarify with the team, whilst also providing timely and accurate information. I had no prior knowledge of HR, and whilst there is still lots to learn, I now feel that from my work and apprenticeship I have a basic level of knowledge across several areas in the function. I have also had the opportunity to take part in internal training courses, such as providing Exceptional Client Service and have taken the opportunity to be a part of the mentorship scheme with a senior colleague in another department.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I am really enjoyed my apprenticeship programme, I think that it was the perfect opportunity for me and I am very grateful to have had it! It has definitely exceeded my expectations, I did not think I would be where I am now looking back at last year completing my A-Levels! I find the company culture is fantastic, with staff getting the chance to go along to Gallery Walkthroughs and some events, as well as the Charity of the Year which has been supported by fundraising and a Christmas market. I work in a really supportive team, they have all helped me learn something and they are happy to answer any questions that I may have. It is also nice that the team take such an active interest in colleagues lives outside of work, asking what they are up to at the weekend and asking after children/families, which makes it a really good environment to work in. I find some of the work more challenging, however, overall I particularly enjoy the feeling of helping someone out with a query and getting that resolved.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The company was well organised for my programme, as they have had previous apprentice cohorts. We had a week induction, where all the apprentices were brought together - learning about the business and the different departments, getting to see an auction, having a graduate trainee walk us through an upcoming prints sale, plus we even got taken out to crazy golf as a group on one of the evenings! I found that this was a great opportunity to get to know the rest of the apprentice cohort. In terms of work, my team have been really supportive in helping me learn how to do my job! They are also really supportive of my studying, which has allowed me to get ahead on my apprenticeship, and as they have almost all studied for a CIPD they know what types of things I am learning for and can help tailor what I am working on to support this. In my first few weeks I also had meetings already set up with different people in the department to learn more about their roles and how I might work with them. I also have a mentor in a different department who helps with my personal and professional development, it is really nice to have someone outside of my department who provides a totally different perspective of the business and has different skills/knowledge to share. In the coming months I am looking forward to the opportunity of further training and possibly shadowing other areas of the business. Overall, my programme has been very well organised allowing me to get the most from it as possible.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
As I mentioned in a previous answer my team are really supportive of helping me with my job and also my apprenticeship study. I have a dedicated one to one meeting with my line manager every two weeks, although I naturally see them everyday and discuss day to day things. We also have a weekly team meeting, and a one a month dedicated HR Ops and Recruitment meetings. I also meet my mentor approximately once every couple of months. I do feel that I have a lot of support at Christie's, however I am also allowed the freedom to manage to my time and work myself, I do not feel that I am 'hand held', instead I am pushed to take opportunities and to ask questions to further enhance my skills and knowledge.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
I have found that there is plenty of support from my training provider, I am now a CIPD student member so have access to locked content on their website which helps me to complete assignments. I have two tutors and a course advisor, so there are plenty of people to turn to if I need advice. Also, we have an online student moodle which allows us to review PowerPoints and other resources which may have been used in workshops.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
My qualification definitely helps with my role on a day-to-day basis. As it is an HR specific qualification through the CIPD, I gain much more knowledge of the industry than say through a more general Business qualification. I have studied topics such as an Effective HR practitioner, Recruitment, Learning and Development and providing Effective Service Delivery, all of which I have been able to put into practice in my role to some extent. It has also provided helpful to have this knowledge to help build up my personal confidence when providing answers to HR queries.
8. Are there extra-curricular activities to get involved in at your work? (For example, any social activities, sports teams, or even professional networking events.)
There are plenty of extra-curricular activities at work. Lots of company events, such as talks, coffee mornings, networking, early careers events and arts based events such as charity auctions, staff gallery walk throughs and tea talks about different career paths. Christie's also has a Charity of the Year which it supports through several voluntary initiatives. Also, although I am not directly involved with these, there are several networking groups across the business, such as one for working parents.
9a. Would you recommend Christie's to a friend?
I would definitely recommend Christie's to a friend, I have found it has been a brilliant place to start my career, providing me with lots of opportunities and plenty of support from my line manager and wider team. I decided not to go to university, but I am still studying for an industry recognised professional qualification, whilst earning and doing a full time job!
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Christie's?
Christie's is focused around the arts, however this is not all there is to the business! I think people applying should be aware that whilst the art side of the company is the business getting, auction focused side, there are so many different departments to be aware of that do such crucial work for the business, such as HR, Finance and Operations to name a few. I also think that people should be made aware that it is a very prestigious and international company, which can be a difficult adjustment if you have just come from school, but if you listen and learn from your team you will do well!