Gemma Fyfe

Gemma Fyfe

“I went to Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, and now I am an HR Support Assisstant.”

Gemma, HR Support Assistant

Years attended:


Job Title:

HR Support Assistant

Description of Job:

Working within a small franchise to provide HR administrative support and HR advice to clients. Clients range from small start-up businesses to larger factory and manufacturing businesses across a range of industries. Day to day I advise on a range of HR issues including absence management, disciplinary and grievance, redundancy, TUPE and policy advice as well as providing administrative support in producing contracts, handbooks, policies and letters as required. I also provide general office administration including management of Xero to produce and reconcile invoices and payments, stationary and provision of training material for workshop delegates.

O Levels/GCSEs

5 A’s, 3 B’s, and 1 C

A Levels

1 B, 2 C’s and 1D

AS Level – B in Business Studies


Manchester Metropolitan Universtiy

Course: Bsc Hons Geography 2:1

What have you done since leaving AGGS to get to where you are today? (eg work experience, GAP year, apprenticeship, volunteering, travelling)

I attended MMU university and completed a BSc (Hons) degree in Geography. I then returned to college 4 years after university and completed my CIPD in Human Resource Management when I decided to make a career change. I worked within retail and banking environments before joining the HR team at Marks and Spencer’s head office as a HR Administrator. I am now continuing to gain experience and work my way through to Strategic HR Business Partner.

What specific qualifications are needed for your job?

CIPD qualification – this shows a level of understanding and knowledge in the Human Resources function to enable me to build upon with working experience and team leadership. I can continue to complete the next level of CIPD qualification in order to further develop my career once I have attained suitable working experience.

Are there any particular subjects that have to be studied to be able to do your job?

I need to keep up to date with changes in employment law and can work towards higher levels of the CIPD although it is not always essential to the role if the experience you have is adequate.

What is a typical work day like for you?

Never the same! I am providing advice to over 60 clients (small to medium businesses) who do not have their own HR provision. You never know what you will get but in general I am answering telephone and email queries regarding employee issues and this requires me to travel to the client site from time to time in order to provide direct support in formal meetings. I am also responsible for supporting training and workshops that take place in the office.

What is the best bit about your job and do you have a particular career highlight?

The fact that everyday brings a new challenge. Being fairly new into this area of work there is always a new issue or situation to work with a client on. My recent career highlight was completing a training project with a client, supplying bespoke workshop presentations for their management team.

What are the worst things about your job?

Influencing business owners to modify their decisions and trying to coach them into a more ‘modern’ view on best practice and supporting employees more than ‘firing’ and ‘hiring’

What skills help you most in your job (i.e. teamwork, communication, leadership, time management)?

Ability to prioritise workflow and react to interruptions e.g. phone calls incoming whilst working on another issue. Dealing with urgent situations and managing client expectations.

What advice would you give to students looking to get into your line of work? (e.g. subjects to study, getting work experience)

Work experience is key, take advantage of apprenticeship schemes, do not be afraid of starting ‘at the bottom’ and working up. Getting a role within an administrative team or working as a team leader/manager is all experience towards different HR aspects.

How did your experience at AGGS help you to achieve your successes?

It gave me the ability to effectively work through university and the amount of work that comes with it! I was able to manage a workload of assignments and research effectively. I think it gave me a good overall grounding.