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Charlotte Baston

Career Path: HR Manager & Lead Coach Company Name: Out of The Box Operational Solutions
Location: York, UK

The role that I am currently in was totally unexpected and not what I had planned. I had originally planned to study a PHD with integrated master’s within Human Resource Management at The University of York after completing my bachelor’s degree in human resource management at Northumbria University. But after being made redundant at the start of the first National Lock-down in March and having just moved to York, my prioritise changed and I decided to try and apply for HR roles. After a few interviews, rejections and a lot of organisations and recruitment consultants not getting back in touch with me, I was lucky enough to be offered a temporary office Admin role to help on the phones to help recruit staff for the COVID-19 Testing sites across the UK. I was happy enough just to get an office admin role after many rejections and thought that was better than nothing. After spending a couple of months on the phones, I was lucky enough to be spotted by the Managing Director as having high talent potential and was brought in for an interview. This gave me a chance to discuss and reflect regarding what I wanted to have the opportunity to do going forward in my career. The Managing Director tasked me with leading and running the recruitment process for the Covid-19 test sites, which included running two large recruitment accounts and liaising with a large Security firm. This is still a project I am involved in but this is no longer my main focus. Since November I have been focusing on starting my ILM Qualification in Coaching which I was advised to go on by the Managing Director and as a result spend my days Coaching Clients. I look forward to seeing what else this role has in store for me.

What are you doing now?

We have recently launched a new consultancy and training company called Out of The Box Operational Solutions, which will offer a range of training and other services which include some very unusual and out of the box training programs. But while the company is still getting launched, I mostly spend my day coaching clients in both career and resilience coaching. Both types of coaching help to support and develop clients on a personal and professional level

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

At the time of applying to University back in 2015, I knew I wanted to study HR but at the time not many institutions offered pure HR as a degree option. But I visited Northumbria and instantly felt at home and comfortable and knew that the course on offer gave me a good all-round knowledge of HR as well as other key business functions. The course was also accredited by the CIPD (The professional body for HR), this would save me having to do the course once I left University.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

I found studying at Northumbria really pushed me out of my comfort zone and really challenged me, which for this I am thankful for. The mixture of practical workshops that involved many students outside of the small course cohort I was on, helped to develop my leadership and communication skills. The mixture of projects and teaching allowed me to become much more pragmatic and resilient. In terms of feedback I received was always positive and constructive and helped me to go on and get the classification that I wanted.

How connected was your course with industry?

I was fortunate to go on placement which was HR related and I manged to get a placement that on reflection made me realise where my interests laid within HR. My focus going forward within my HR is in Learning and Development, Workplace Coaching and Research. Although I did not really have a chance to get involved in any of the HR society guest lecturers as it was only being set up during my final year. This is one reason why I am volunteering my knowledge and time back to the students of Northumbria.

If you took on a placement during your course how did you feel this helped you in your career/ with your studies?

On reflection made me realise where my interests laid within HR. My focus going forward within my HR is in Learning and Development, Workplace Coaching and Research.

What was the best thing about your course?

I found that the best thing about the course was the freedom of the assignments within the modules that I studied. I found that most of modules where appropriate meant that I could focus on and research areas of Human Resource Management where I was really interested in from a research perspective. I was also given the opportunity to research a new and niche area of Coaching by being given the chance to work with some really experienced professors in the area of HR.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

As I have already mentioned my course was accredited by the CIPD, which is recognised by most employers within the HR field. But in terms of on a personal level, studying HR at Northumbria developed my confidence in a way that I will always be grateful for.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

Leadership, communication, interview/ CV and recruitment skills, resilience, pragmatism, employment law, coaching, data analytics, and the ability to promote change and encourage new ways of working and culture integration of new and modern working practices  

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

The sense of freedom given to me throughout my course and the sense of encouragement that came from the Northumbria culture as a whole to go and gain and pursue the career and projects that interest you the most.

What advice would you give somebody who is considering studying at Northumbria?

Without a doubt my main bit of advice to anyone wanting to study at Northumbria would be to take every opportunity and even if your scared you will fail just go for it! The important thing is to allow yourself and push yourself to be challenged.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Life-changing, motivational, challenging

For more information about me visit

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