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Shelomi Phillips - Payroll Administrator, Level 3

Shelomi previously completed a Psychosocial Degree but realised that the therapeutic pathway was not for her. Whilst deciding what career pathway to take, she undertook the AAT Level 2 (Foundation) and Level 3 (Diploma) in Accounting. This included a short module on Payroll which she found intriguing.

She applied for the Payroll Administrator Apprenticeship as she thought it would be great way to use skills she had already gained through previous qualifications as well as gain another qualification whilst being paid. The apprenticeship route appealed as it allowed her to study the theory but to also put it into practice daily, which she was unable to do with her previous qualifications as they were purely in an academic setting.

Shelomi says that she wasn’t familiar with Cambridge or CUH when she applied but by working here she has found it to be a nice place to work!

Shelomi Phillips

What does a typical day look like in your role?

There are various tasks that need to be completed that are time sensitive due to meeting payroll deadlines for both weekly and monthly pay, therefore the types of tasks I complete each day can vary due to where we are in the month / week.

However there are two tasks which I complete everyday which are responding to payroll queries via email and via telephone from current employees, ex-employees and external bodies.

Throughout the month I complete other tasks such as setting up substantive employees who have an additional role with Staff Bank, maternity leave entitlements, setting up new starters to the Trust on the payroll system, terminating leavers off the payroll system, completing timesheets for Volunteers as well as any internal changes of staff.

What do you enjoy about your role?

I like that I can finally use the skills I have gained through my various qualifications in this role, and that we are a significant part of keeping CUH going.

I spend a large percentage of my time talking to staff about their payslips and helping them to understand the information on the payslip. The role has also given me flexibility and improved my work life balance.

What sorts of things do you do for the off-the-job learning aspect of your apprenticeship and does this involve attending college or is it all completed at work?

As I started my apprenticeship during the Covid-19 pandemic, there was no face-to-face contact. I had a tutor at West Suffolk College who I had regular contact with via email, or planned one-to-one meetings via Teams where I could discuss the modules and any challenges I had encountered.

This meant that my learning was done online with the college in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP).

I had to complete e-Learning modules on the CIPP Moodle learning platform, as well as completing the tasks that were set for me on OneFile (the college E-Portfolio platform). These tasks included a PowerPoint presentation and assignments. Due to the nature of the course I was able to work on several modules at the same time.

What are your future intentions?

As the first person to undertake the Payroll Administrator Apprenticeship at CUH, there were some growing pains for myself and the department. However, I have recently successfully completed my apprenticeship and I am now working as a Payroll Officer for the Trust.

In the future I would like to progress onto the Level 5 Payroll Assistant Manager Apprenticeship or the AAT Level 4 Diploma in Professional Accounting.

What advice would you give to others who may be looking to take on an apprenticeship?

Although I have a university degree and university is a great pathway for some individuals, an apprenticeship is a great way to get a qualification whilst earning a wage and not being saddled with a student loan.

Apprenticeships also allow you to understand the needs of a working environment i.e., good timekeeping, teamwork and office etiquette.

The main theme of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week is 'skills for life'. What are the most important skills for life that you have developed in your role?

Communication is a skill we take for granted, however, in this role I have learnt that at times I must be clear in how I articulate information to staff when discussing their pay.

Time management and meeting tight deadlines are also skills that I feel I have gained during my apprenticeship and these are not just for the work place but also transferable into my personal life.