Stuart Shaw

Stuart is an HR Business Partnering Graduate at a Local Authority.

MSc International Human Resource Management (2019)

What do you get up to on a day to day basis?

There's no such thing as a typical day because each and every day is varied, but that's the beauty of my role! Typically my role involves working with line managers to ensure our employees are supported through absence, collating reportable management information and supporting the rest of the HR Business Partnering team.

Was this the role you had in mind when studying your programme at Abertay?

I don't think I really had any particular role in mind whilst I was studying for my MSc. I was really open minded about what my next move was - whether that was studying towards a PhD with a move into academia or whether it was to seek a suitable role to launch my career as an HR professional.

Ultimately I decided my time in Higher Education had reached a natural conclusion and I sought an organisation where I could build credibility and get exposure in an area of HR I had a particular interest - employee relations.

Tell us a wee bit about your journey to this position since leaving Abertay.

Within just over a month of submitting my dissertation, I was successful in my application to join a local authority as an HR Intern, which was my first ever HR position. In that role, I was responsible for arranging Supporting Attendance meetings for our employees within a particular Service area and where a meeting wasn't complex, I'd attend as an HR representative.

My role as HR Intern adapted as COVID-19 became an increasing concern as I collaborated with internal and external stakeholders to develop a process for the daily reporting of COVID-19 information.

As the pandemic intensified and my responsibilities increased, I was promoted to a dual role of Admin Support Officer and HR Intern. Those roles included overseeing the reporting of COVID-19 & absence management information, complex diary management, note-taking responsibilities and providing continued support to the HR Business Partnering team.

In November 2020, I was delighted to move into the role of HR Business Partnering Graduate - a role I feel I can use to further develop my skills and build experience whilst also contributing positively to the goals of our local authority.

What successes and challenges have you come up against in your professional career so far?

That's a really interesting question! I think the immediate reaction would be to say COVID-19 has been a major challenge, not only for me but for the whole of our country. But on the flip side, I feel that COVID-19 has also been a successful part of my career so far, in that it has given me a great opportunity to showcase my skills and what I'm capable of but I think a huge part of that is just doing the best I can in the circumstances we find ourselves in.

I think the move into my first position in HR, directly after spending so long in education, was definitely a challenge initially. Whilst the move wasn't as daunting as I think it would have been if I hadn't studied at such a modern practical university, there was an element of unknown moving from the comfortable environment of education to an alien workplace. But by being inquisitive and remaining open minded, I feel like I've tackled the challenge well. Overall, looking back, I'm happy with how I've integrated into the team and the account I've given of myself so far.

What are your future professional aspirations?

I'm focused on developing myself and building credibility whilst helping my colleagues to do the best job they can. I'm very aware of how much I still have to learn to become a more rounded HR professional but I'm enthusiastic and motivated which I feel leaves me in good stead moving forward as an HR professional.

I think it's incredibly hard, if not impossible, to leave Abertay with anything but a positive impression!
Stuart Shaw | Local Authority | HR Business Partnering Graduate

Why did you choose to come to Abertay?

I initially joined Abertay back in 2016 to complete my BA (Hons) Business Management after completing an HND Business at Fife College. The CIPD accreditation was the main attraction for me studying towards an MSc, although the fact I knew the campus, quality of teaching and approachable lecturers definitely helped bring me back for one more year!

How did your degree help prepare you for what you now do?

Studying towards my MSc in International HRM, and in particular gaining my CIPD accreditation, definitely helped prepare me for what I'm doing now. The course was very practical based rather than theory based which I found beneficial.

What’s your lasting impression of Abertay?

I think it's incredibly hard, if not impossible, to leave Abertay with anything but a positive impression - from the lifelong friends I made to the talented approachable lecturing staff I had the opportunity of learning from and the constant buzz around the campus.

I'd like to extend my thanks to the fantastic staff I had the pleasure of learning from during my time at Abertay - Professor M Branine, C MacEachen, P Sedakat, A Stevenson, S Grogan, Dr A Avramenko & Dr T Pustelnikovaite - and very special thanks to Chris Fowlie for her valuable support during my studies.

How did you find the transition between University and the real world of work?

I found the transition daunting initially but I think that's only natural, with the inevitable worries about I would perform and whether I would integrate well with my new team. But those worries quickly disappeared as I found out where I fitted in the organisation jigsaw and gained confidence in my abilities!

Do you have any words of advice for anyone thinking about getting into your profession?

Take as many opportunities as you can and get as much exposure as possible - you'll thank yourself later!

What about your younger self?

Keep doing what you're doing, stick with it and have confidence in yourself!

And lastly, to the MSc IHRM graduating class of 2020?

Congratulations on all of your hard work & achievements! Have faith in your abilities, dream big and you can make a difference!

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