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Andrew Batchelor

Employment Law & HR Legal Training Specialist, Transport for London

PGCert Employment Law, 2009

Andrew BatchelorTell us a bit about what you do as an Employment Law and HR Legal Training Specialist at Transport for London.

In a nutshell, my job is about making employment law more accessible by training our frontline managers in key areas such as managing attendance, performance, discipline, grievances and how to manage complaints of harassment and/or bullying in the workplace.

What do you most enjoy about your job, or find most fulfilling?

Helping our managers do their job even better by providing them with relevant, practical and up-to-date training. Employment and discrimination laws are complex and ever-changing. Assisting our managers better understand – and comply with – the myriad of legislation, Acas codes and case law precedents is the most rewarding aspect of my role.

What challenges you are faced with in your role?

Keeping on top of all the various changes to legislation and new case law precedents, and how these impact on TfL. Also, given the size of TfL (we directly employ over 22,000 staff across a range of different business areas), it can be a real challenge to ensure a consistent approach to people management; so the training that I deliver is crucial in assisting the organisation realise this important goal.

What made you choose Middlesex for a postgraduate course in Employment Law?

Anyone who knows anything about Employment Law will know that Middlesex has an excellent reputation in this area. Prof. David Lewis and Prof. Malcolm Sargeant are both renowned experts in employment and discrimination law. As such, Middlesex was the only place I wanted to study, so I didn't even bother applying anywhere else!

What one piece of advice would you give to prospective students looking to study at Middlesex?

Middlesex is a fantastic, forward-looking modern university. The university has invested significantly in modernising and improving its facilities to create what I believe is a world-class campus at Hendon. So enjoy your time, and be sure to utilise all the facilities and services which Middlesex has to offer.

What aspects of your time at Middlesex have been most valuable in your career to date?

I embarked upon postgraduate studies in the School of Law as a non-law graduate (both my first degree and my Master's are in Social Science). However, the support provided by the staff at Middlesex was exceptional, and I now feel very competent in interpreting complex legislation and case law judgements. Middlesex certainly helped build my confidence in an area which I had not previously studied.

What skills have been most valuable in your career so far and how have you developed these?

I would say analytical skills. I am constantly analysing recent tribunal decisions and case law precedents to see how they impact on TfL, and whether we need to change any aspects of our people management training.

How did you get your foot on the 'career ladder' post-university?

After I finished my first degree, I registered with lots of recruitments agencies and I was happy to take short-term temporary assignments – anything to get my foot in the door; anything to give me additional workplace experiences.

What are the top three career tips you would give to current students and recent graduates?

1. Never underestimate the importance of networking. Use sites such as 'LinkedIn' to grow your professional networks.
2. Any work placements you can secure (be they voluntary or paid) can add valuable experience to your CV.
3. Remember you can only ever make one 'first impression', so be sure that it's the right one! Read and re-read your CV & Covering Letter to check for any mistakes. This may sound obvious, but you'd be surprised what I've seen over the years!

What does the future hold for you?

TfL is currently undergoing significant organisational change and restructuring, which is particularly focussed on how we organise and manage our Station Staff working on the Underground. As such, we have recruited a number of new Area Managers, so I am currently involved with this internal Change Programme and have responsibility for designing and delivering the people management training components. It's an extremely busy time, as you can imagine!

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