hrsafe’s Ciaran Strachan inteview with CSU about doing a HR degree
Recently hrsafes co-founder Ciaran Strachan was asked by Charles Sturt University (CSU) to talk about his experiences studying a post graduate HR degree. The full article and interview can be found here.
Students love our HRM degrees – and here’s why!
We asked Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management student Ciaran Strachan why he loves studying HRM with Charles Sturt University, and the new opportunities it has helped him create in his HR business.
Why did you choose to study HRM with us?
“I undertook a professional benchmarking process of my skills and expertise while consulting. I had been a management consultant since 2012. And I realised the majority of my work with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) revolved around people, both HR and safety related. However, my qualifications were lacking, and I felt I could update my knowledge of both professions.
“I started my career as a clerk in the Australian Air Force (almost 20 years ago). In total have around 15 years of direct HR administrative and managerial expertise. However, the bulk of my management expertise was for projects and contract management. I had worked in some safety roles, but I was better suited experience-wise to HR. I had already commenced a business degree at another university. However, it made sense for me to transfer my MBA to Charles Sturt University. Then I could tailor it to suit my new strategic direction for my company, which had a strong emphasis on HR, and, in addition, complete a Graduate Certificate in Human Resources.”
“I highly recommend this pathway for any HR professionals. It’s also ideal for administrators who wish to professionalise, especially if you have a non-HR degree (i.e., law or psychology). Also, you don’t necessarily need a bachelor’s degree. If you have enough experience you can enrol in the Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management. I am 42 and do not have an undergraduate degree.”
What’s your current role and how have you put your learning into practice?
“I am the co-founder and HR partner of a new company called hrsafe. I was seeing a lot of very worried SME owners who wanted to ensure their employees were looked after, but were worried about a fine or action from the Fair Work Ombudsman or State Work Health and Safety regulators. So I decided to create a company that just focused on providing these two services to clients, regardless of their location in Australia.
“Both my courses have enabled me to evolve my business model, giving it several competitive advantages.”
What are some of the course highlights?
“Almost all of the subjects I have studied with Charles Sturt have directly contributed to improving our new company’s business model. Perhaps the standout for me personally is Evaluating Human Resources. This subject highlighted to me the importance of HR data to improve organisational productivity; how it can validate the effectiveness of training, education and other initiatives; and how you use data to directly boost your potential against your competitors – something that has traditionally been viewed as the responsibility of marketing, operations and accounting only.
“I think this area represents the future of HR. I’m so excited about it that I plan to study a Doctorate of Business Administration on this subject with Charles Sturt University in the near future.”
What does the future of HRM look like?
“I am really envious of millennials and other recent entrants into HR who have a long and exciting career ahead of them.
“Going forward, HR will, above all, be about maximising productivity via human capital. It’s all about people now. You can’t just focus on the balance sheet, legal compliance, marketing or anything else in isolation. High performance cultures and how to achieve them is what the top CEOs and fortune 500 companies are talking about. Typically, these companies drive change across the industry, including the attitudes of all levels of management in all industries.
“If you’re entering HR now, I recommend gaining the appropriate postgrad qualification and certification to professionalise; there is no limit as to where you can be in small to medium and large enterprises. HR consultants are becoming common. So remember, if your qualification and experience are limited to administrative and recruiting functions, this may impact on what you can offer to clients or potential employers.”
What do you love most about your HRM degree?
“There are a couple of common themes that stand out.
“Online study – The online option is terrific. The best experiences I have had in tutorials so far has been the live interactive environments lecturers provide. And in the event you can’t make a tutorial, or you wish to re-watch one on an assessment, say, they are all recorded so you can view them as many times as you need.
“Flexibility – I ended up tailoring my Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management to suit my career needs. A special thank you to the head of the program for her wonderful advice here (thank you, Kath Attree). I identified that I needed to complete employment law, management of change and project management but couldn’t fit them into my MBA. Kath convinced me to look at the graduate certificate in HRM and its particular advantages for me, including the Evaluating HR and Strategic HRM subjects. Moreover, this enabled me to cross-pollinate recognition of prior learning between the two qualifications, yet do all the subjects I wanted to.”