HR trainee

As an HR trainee, your role will involve gaining experience of all aspects of HR, also known as human resources and personnel.

You will work with a view to progressing to officer level, where you will be given responsibility for a full portfolio of departments.



So, what will I actually be doing?

Duties you will be involved with include:

  • Meeting with departmental representatives to discuss HR issues
  • Referring issues to senior HR staff
  • Assisting departments with their recruitment needs through liaison with agencies/ advertisers
  • Coordinating prospective candidates, interviewing them and administering offers
  • Conducting inductions of new staff
  • Participating in the collection of market salary information for the annual review
  • Inputting into the monthly payroll
  • Assisting with the production and implementation of HR policies and procedures
  • Responding to other ad-hoc queries from other personnel in the company

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The finer details...

Normally, you will work a standard 35-40 hour week. You'll be mainly office-based, although you may be required to accompany more senior staff on visit to other branches and training providers.

Some multinational companies offer the chance to work abroad. Once you're experienced, you could also set up your own specialist consultancy in an area such as recruitment.

Money, money, money

These figures are for guidance only.

  • As a HR trainee you can expect to earn up to £15,000
  • HR administrators earn around £15,000 to £18,000 a year
  • Starting salaries for HR officers can be between £18,000 and £25,000 a year
  • HR managers can earn £25,000 to £50,000 a year or more

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The good points...

You'll find HR opportunities in all kinds of organisation, including banks, local government, health services, airlines, hotels, retail organisations and manufacturing industry.

...and the bad

You may be required to work extra hours at busy times.

Is there study involved?

Ideally, you'll be a recent graduate with an HR degree. Alternatively, you should be a graduate with some demonstrable HR experience.

You may be offered support for further professional qualification.

Most of your training will be on-the-job, although many employers will also expect you to work towards the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) qualifications listed below.

As a student you can study part-time, full-time or via distance learning. When you've successful completed a CIPD course you'll be eligible for membership.

The Certificate in Personnel Practice (CPP) provides you with a practical grounding in basic personnel skills. There are no minimum entry qualifications.

The Certificate in Recruitment and Selection (CRS) gives specialist knowledge.

The Professional Development Scheme (PDS) has four parts:

  • Core management
  • People management and development
  • Specialist and generalist personnel and development
  • Applied personnel and development

You can complete one module to gain Licentiate membership of CIPD; complete of all four modules for Graduate membership.

NVQs/SVQs are available at Level 3 in Personnel Support, at Level 4 in Personnel Management, and at Level 5 in Personnel Strategy. These are alternative qualifications for meeting some of the standards for CIPD membership.

Some BA Business Studies or similar degrees, and some postgraduate qualifications will give you exemption from the CIPD Professional Qualification Scheme. Contact CIPD directly for a list of these courses.

However, there is keen competition for vacancies, especially for inexperienced graduates. Gaining CIPD qualifications or NVQs/SVQs will help your promotion prospects.

OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?

To be an HR trainee you should have:

  • A genuine interest in developing a career in HR
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Strong administrative and organisational skills 
  • The ability to act in a confidential and sensitive manner
  • A willingness to travel to regional offices on occasion
  • An interest in working with people
  • Be confident about gathering facts and making financial calculations
  • The ability to work as part of a team
  • The ability to work accurately, with good attention to detail


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