Work at UCL


Nicola Phillips

Senior HR Administrator, Department of Chemistry, MAPS Faculty

What is your role and what does it involve?

I am the Senior HR Administrator within the Department of Chemistry. I specialise in providing and leading a comprehensive and effective HR services and facilitating a smooth staffing management to all levels of staff within the department.  I ensure all staff are aware of and adhere to UCL HR policies and procedures as well as offering advice to staff on such matters and guaranteeing that Department Managers and Directors follow the appropriate staffing procedures. I am also the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the department, working on Athena SWAN to ensure the department is compliant with its ethos, contributing to the development and review of departmental gender equality objectives.  

How long have you been at UCL?

I have been at UCL for 19 years, within this time I have worked within four departments and had several different roles.

What attracted you to UCL?

I previously worked as a temp within the Royal College of Physicians and my contract was coming to an end. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to work and a colleague recommended UCL to me, I applied for a job and loved my first position within UCL that I stayed.

What and where was your previous role?

My first position within UCL was Junior Secretary/Administrative Assistant at the Department of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, I assisted the DA and was a medical secretary to three doctors.  I was responsible for all the procurement and recruitment within the department and worked there for one year.

My next role was Departmental Secretary within the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, I provided support to senior academic staff and organised the 2nd year clinical students paediatric course and maintained their intranet site, I did this role for 2 years before moving to the Department of Electric and Electrical Engineering to be the MSc/MRes Course Administrator, serving four postgraduate course and administrating two research groups.

After four years I became the Departmental Officer in the department managing several staff within the professional services team, I was the undergraduate administrator for a cohort of some 400 students and PA to the Head of Department and the Photonics Research Group. I did this role for three years before moving to Chemistry to be the EA to the Head of Department and Lead HR Officer. This role was extremely varied, I was EA to the HoD, HR Officer, and Marketing Manager responsible for all external communication of the department including the website, I did this role for seven years before taking maternity leave for a year and returning as the Senior HR Administrator.

What working achievement or initiative at UCL (or in previous work experiences) are you most proud of? 

I am proud of the work I do for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion both within and external to the department. For my work on the Department of Chemistry’s Athena SWAN application I was shortlisted for the outstanding individual contribution to achieving our mission award at the 2019 Professional Services Conference. I am currently working with the MAPS Faculty EDI Vice-Dean on an exciting project for 2020, looking at the misuse of power dynamics in Higher Education and in 2014 I started the Enable Network, UCL’s Staff Disability Forum, which I chaired for 4 years. The Staff Disability Forum aims to raise awareness of disability issues at UCL including environmental, behavioural and institutional barriers experienced by disabled people with a range of physical, cognitive and mental health conditions. Mr Rex Knight nominated me as a woman at UCL who has been an inspirational leader, these awards were to mark International Women’s Day 2016.  

Describe UCL in three words.

Diverse, Opportunities, and Ambitious 

What is the best aspect about working at UCL?

I think being able to network outside my department and the flexibility to work from home. 

What does it feel like to be part of the UCL community?  

Being part of the wider community is great, you meet lots of interesting, intelligent, fun people and you can learn so much. I have made some great friends at UCL.

What are your future career aspirations?

I want to complete a CIPD in HR Management and move towards a career in HR or Equalities. I like the variety of the work and the HR community spirit at UCL.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I am a keen photographer and love to travel, I am currently learning Spanish and teaching my daughter to swim and I enjoy having friends and family over for dinner.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

UCL is a great place to expand your knowledge, taking advantage of all the training courses available to you.  You can easily train and move within the company with your transferable skills.