Meet Neil Evans

Students working in Clifford Whitworth Library

BSc Human Resource Management student (now BSc Business with Human Resource Management), talks to us about his experience undertaking a paid placement and his overall experience of studying at Salford Business School. 

Neil Evans portrait

About the Course

The Human Resource Management programme aims to give students an understanding of how critical the HR function is for modern day businesses and helps to develop core business skills. The course teaches Human Resources from two main perspectives, a function that protects employees and one that protects the interests of the whole organisation too. The course benefits from professional accreditation by the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel Development). Overall, the course provides students with knowledge on how to develop and maintain the best workforce in organisations.

If you choose to undergo a Professional Experience Year, you will have the opportunity to work in an organisation as a paid placement student in between your 2nd and final year. I would highly recommend this to any student considering university.  

As well as learning about the core functions of Human Resources (such as recruitment, employee engagement as well as leadership and management) all programmes in the Business School have a Professional Development module. This module provides students with the skills to undergo a full recruitment process covering CV writing, LinkedIn profile management, digital interviews, face to face interviews and assessment centres. Placement opportunities are highly sought after and competitive. This module really prepared me for the challenge and helped me to understand what is expected. 

The Placement Experience During Covid-19

As part of my degree I have chosen to embark on a placement year with Health Education England, an arm’s length body of the NHS. I am working in Health Education England’s North Mental Health Programme to provide project support and management for several mental health initiatives in the region.

Health Education England have been massively supportive of all their staff since the first national lockdown. They have provided all staff with computer equipment to enable them to work remotely. The upper management also host regular webinars and events to help cohesion and spread news of the work being done across HEE. On a more regional level, my colleagues have been massively supportive in getting me settled into HEE and have provided ample opportunities for new learning experiences.

The University of Salford has also been incredibly supportive. As part of my placement, I have been assigned a dedicated placement supervisor who I can rely on to provide support for assignments and help establish a good relationship between my employer and the university. I can also freely approach them over any concerns I have.  

Despite the circumstances, my professional development has not been negatively affected. My line manager was greatly supportive in getting me settled into the Mental Health Programme. We have organised regular virtual social events and hold team meetings on a weekly basis to discuss our work.

I have learnt plenty of new skills during my placement, which include:

  • Project Management.
  • Commercial Awareness of the public sector and NHS.
  • Administrative skills.
  • Digital Skills.
  • Communication skills.
  • Team-working skills.

The list extends far beyond this. Skills like these are highly transferable and valuable to organisations. I feel that learning these skills has greatly improved my employability.

The opportunity to work on my own projects has been an incredible experience. With a growing national focus on mental health and its importance, it’s satisfying to know that my work is helping to make a difference in healthcare. 

The Salford Experience

University has been a massively rewarding experience, both from a social and academic perspective. I have had the opportunity to meet new friends, but also learn an abundance of new skills and knowledge for a career that I really want to pursue. This is all thanks to Salford University’s modern and well-equipped facilities.

Advice for Future Students

I would 100% recommend any student to undertake a placement year. Hundreds of UK and international companies offer placements each year, so there are ample opportunities. Be sure to make use of common placement advertising sites such as RateMyPlacement. The university also has a service called Salford Advantage, which advertises placements from employers that have established relationships with the university.

A placement will teach you skills and knowledge that simply cannot be taught in a lecture theatre or classroom. If you want to make the most out of your university experience, a placement will fulfil that.

The Salford Business School is a fantastic place to study for your degree. The lecturers are incredibly supportive and have a wealth of real-life business experience which benefits the overall learning experience.

The Salford Business School also has dedicated resources such as the SBS-Hub which provides career support and regularly hosts events with industry partners to provide a complete learning experience.  

Next Steps

I am looking forward to my return to studying. The boost in confidence I have gained from this placement year will really benefit my final year of study. I am also hoping that I will be able to apply some of my experience to my studies too.  

I have really enjoyed working in the NHS this year, so I am considering reapplying once my degree is finished. The fact that I now have a year’s worth of work experience means my options are very open and I am excited to see what opportunities will be available for 2022.