A Blog by Bridgeen Blake, HR Specialist at Raise

I started my new career path quite late in life and decided to do something for myself after raising my four boys. During Covid-19 like most of us, I had a lot of time to think about what I was doing at that stage in my life with my career.

I had completed an access course just before I had my last son, which was over six years prior and because of time constraints from completing the course and using it and juggling being a mum, I had to make a very quick decision on what I was going to do with this wonderful course I had completed, as it was primarily used as an access course to University.

I had originally wanted to become an occupational  therapist and because of many reasons, It just didn't work out. So during the pandemic I had to think of what I wanted to do with it and I had always had an interest in HR, due to my own personal experiences.

These experiences I had with a few organisations that I had been exposed to were quite negative in terms of how they dealt with their policies etc in relation to HR and I felt like I could take these experiences and learn from them and possibly do something positive.

I decided to sign up to a Human Resource Management course at Ulster University and see where my journey took me as a mature student.

During the first year of my degree, I had time to think about my experiences within the workplace and while remaining a hard worker and always wanting to excel myself, I found it was very hard for me to personally upskill myself and move within the ranks within any of the organisations that I was in. After a while, I found these experiences increasingly frustrating and confused as to why any organisations couldn't see the talent that was hidden within their own teams through their inability to be open minded, flexible and understand that any working parents want to be recognised and be given the same opportunities to thrive and create value to their organisations that they were so loyal to.

I yearned for organisations to understand that having someone who was so proactive and so eager to learn and grow within the business, that they could utilise their talent and be a real asset to their business.

All of this taken into account I decided to take action and during my HRM degree found a real passion in Learning and Development and Employment Law.

For my Course I had to take a year long placement within an organisation, hoping to get an overview of the business and the possibility of different functions of HR.

For the first few months of my placement year I landed in a big corporate business, so excited to get started and what new experience I will gain.

My time with this organisation was unfortunately short lived due to the commute, although I was not placed within the HR department, I had an opportunity to get an overview of how a big corporate business operates within their recruitment department, which is part of the wider HR team.

I found this type of business is very structured and everyone knows their place and how things are functioning, from the top CEO to everyone on the way down.

Spending time in the recruitment department I found that recruitment plays a big part of any organisation, but is only one section of the HR team and was therefore curious to know more in relation to HR. My time with this organisation was short, but I was grateful to see the recruitment side of things within an organisation and how the end to end process operates.

My exit from the first placement gave me time to think about what I was interested in going forward in my HR journey and when I was offered my placement with Raise Ventures, I couldn't believe the difference between a big corporation and small startup, really really different, in such a positive way.

I was made to feel extremely important from day one as to how my role at Raise can add value to the team I will be working alongside.

Getting to be a part of a smaller working team has so many benefits, such as its personal collaborative relationship and everything you do is seen and recognised, this is so important to any employee as in the big corporations, you would never have been seen at such a high ranking level.

You are included in the makeup of the business and get to sit in such important parts of the business that you would never get to see or hear. Your opinions matter.

The option to work from home and the flexibility that this brings, especially as a working parent brings me so much contentment, that if you have an appointment or your children are sick you can work around this and catch up at home. I can't express how important it is to have this ethos in the workplace.

Being able to have access to the CEO has been so important and is so rare to find as I feel that a relationship of trust and understanding, so this can allow you to have the freedom to do your job adequately.

I have had lots of fun and interesting opportunities from I have been with Raise Ventures, such as only being with them a matter of few weeks and they wanted me to be a part of their strategy days, this is something that if you were in a big organisation you would not be a part of certain decision making.

One of the highlights has been part of Raise Community Day, and this has been so important for me to see the journey of the founders from the beginning and see them navigate their way through their journeys.

It is a no brainer when entering the world of startup/founders, you need to take that leap of faith that great things come in small packages and that your small bespoke team, you can slowly build upon.

You get so much more getting to know your team on a personal level and them trusting you to go on this journey with you especially with someone from a HR perspective as they understand what policies and procedures are needed along the way and can be made along the way.

I am very grateful for all of my experiences that I have had with Raise Ventures so far and look forward to seeing where my journey will take me to.