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Case studies

Laura Barron – Learning & development case study

Case studies

Laura Barron – Learning & development case study

Laura’s story is one of finding a fence seemingly too great to hurdle but through a determination to get to the other side, an opening soon appeared.

Laura Barron

After spending time travelling after university, Laura joined the Human Resources team at Phoenix Group and set about gaining valuable experience in project management and administrative tasks. 

As she was approaching 2 years in role, Laura had a development conversation with her manager, Laura Attwater. 

“I was open with Laura that I wanted to progress, I wanted to start applying for roles internally and it was great to know that I had the support from my line manager. 

I really enjoyed my role and from my experience of working at Phoenix Group over the last couple of years, I knew I wanted to stay so I highlighted a couple of areas I’d like to explore” 

Laura kept her eye on the internal job boards and applied for a couple she was interested in. 

“The interviews went well from my perspective, but I wasn’t successful. The feedback was great, and I could add a new perspective to the team, however I lacked the experience needed for the roles 

It was frustrating of course; I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to get the experience to make the step up, so I had another chat with Laura. 

She was aware of that Phoenix were soon to be launching an internal gigs board so suggested I speak to a couple of people leaders within the areas I wanted to work in to see if they needed a hand with anything project based, and the doors started to open”  

Our internal gigs board advertises short, time-bound opportunities for colleagues to get involved in work they wouldn’t normally be exposed to. It’s designed to be managed alongside normal day-to-day roles in the same way as any development opportunity but is there to help strengthen internal networks and give exposure to new tasks across the business. 

Laura soon took on some work in the Social Mobility and Early Careers teams.  

“It was real work experience in the areas that interested me, the kind of thing that I’d been lacking, and it was great to be involved. Across a few weeks I was dipping into projects where I could see real outcomes from the work I was doing – I helped deliver a programme that recruited a group of over 50’s with no experience of the finance sector into Phoenix Group. It was great to see their development alongside mine!” 

Colleagues who had run the projects offered some great feedback to Laura and her manager giving her the confidence that when a full-time opportunity arose in the future, she would be in a better place to get the role. 

“5 months after completing my gig, there was a 12-month secondment opportunity in the Social Mobility team. I was really excited to apply… and a little nervous but thankfully because of the direct experience that I’d got from the gig, I was offered the job. 

I’ve developed a real passion for social mobility and really want to develop my career further in this area” 

Asked if she had any advice for anyone in the career, she said 

“Keep your mind open to opportunities and work with your manager to explore options where your skills could be utilised elsewhere. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people either, I’ve found that people are willing to help if you ask the question and you never know what opportunities are around the corner”