I am the HR Response Centre IBL for 2019 at GSK. I am based in the Abbotsford Head Office; however, my team and I support more than 1,200 employees across Australia and New Zealand. The HR Response Centre is the first line of response for any HR queries ranging from recruitment, policies, discipline and even pay.

My role is split in a way that requires me to work with my team to support employees with any queries that they may have 50 per cent of the time. In this part of my role, I write contracts, issue pre-employment screening, issue visas for employees going in and out of Australia and New Zealand, answer calls, support compensation and benefits, data entry and analysis entry using a HR Information System and much more.

Brent completed his placement in the HR Response Centre at GSK.

The other half of my role allows me to work on projects that interest me and add significant value to the business. In this part of my role, I've managed the change process of changing pre-employment screening providers, created a gender equity analysis report, ran culture building activities, negotiated and revamped policies, even facilitated personal resilience sessions and ran a trivia night to help raise money for Save The Children.

One of the highlights of my year so far was the work I did to ensure a smooth transition between pre-employment screening providers. This allowed me to gain strong stakeholder management, negotiation, communication and change management skills.

A second highlight was when I took the Abbotsford IBLs to our manufacturing site for the day and worked with senior leaders to build knowledge and capability of the interns. This activity involved a lot of planning, leadership and ultimately allowed me to form strong relationships with senior leaders.

An added benefit of working at GSK is the friendly and inclusive corporate culture. While working at GSK, I've made so many friends, be it at the table tennis table, while going for walks by the Yarra, at the Australian Open, fun runs, pub trivia, the AFL or on dinners with my team.

There is never a shortage of friendly people to make you smile. By working at GSK full time this year, I have not only learned a lot about my discipline, but even more so about myself and the pharmaceutical industry.

  • "This placement has confirmed to me that, indeed, HR is the area that I would like to pursue a career in; however, I am probably interested in different areas of HR than I originally thought.

    My placement has helped to shape a belief that I would prefer to go down a specialist HR path, perhaps involving diversity and inclusion on employee health and wellbeing."

    Brent , Bachelor of Business

My placement has also demonstrated that I love the pharmaceutical industry. By working at a company whose end game is helping patients and saving lives, I have felt as if I'm contributing to a cause greater than myself, allowing me to feel very proud of the work that not only I do, but that GSK does as well.

I would thoroughly recommend that all students undertake a professional placement for three main reasons. Firstly, you'll learn and develop so much as an individual. Personally, I have improved my written communication, public speaking, emotional intelligence and networking skills.

Secondly, a placement will allow you to identify whether or not you want to pursue a career in the discipline that you're studying, and if so, it will allow you to refine your interests and build a strong network of people who can help you land a job post-placement.

Finally, the reason why I think all students should undertake a professional placement is that you'll learn a lot about yourself. People often say that they 'find themselves' when travelling but to be honest, I've 'found myself' this year.

Thanks to my placement, I have a very strong understanding of my own strengths, weaknesses and how I can manage my energy. This knowledge of self will equip me well for the future, both in work and life.

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