233: Leicester

OS Explorer map 233, Leicester & Hinckley – I do not own this map, but had visited it before starting this blog. Visited again for this post 7th November 2018.

Now I didn’t really go to this map area for the sake of travelling, nor did I see much when I was there, so I admit this post isn’t the most in the spirit of this blog… But yes, I came here on a one-day course for work – it was called “HR for Beginners“.

The company that I started working at a few months ago is a little tech startup, with currently 14 employees, although there were only 6 just a few months ago. My job is sort of general operations and administration, everything that isn’t sales/clienty stuff or software development – it ends up being a bit of accounting, a bit of HR, recruitment and lots of random things as they come up – last week I was doing a visa sponsorship application for someone; a week before that I was designing Christmas cards… It’s a weird split between little officey things like buying stationery and paying bills and sort of process-y optimising the way things are done and making procedures for things that no-one’s done before now that we’re big enough to need them. I sort of turned up and just started doing all the little jobs that no-one had been doing, or had been done somewhat haphazardly, before I was there.

But, anyway, one thing that needed doing a lot better was HR, in that there weren’t procedures for anything, no-one had been keeping track of leave or anything, and so it was thought that it might be a good idea to send me on a course about that. And so off I went!

The very exciting venue for the course… (photo from Google Maps) My apologies for not thinking of taking any photos that day!

I went to stay with my parents in Northamptonshire the previous night, and showed up at a little after 9 for a 9:30 start. It was in the not-particularly-notable venue of the NSPCC National Training Centre – probably not the most exciting part of Leicester I could have visited.

The course was pretty fun, actually. I liked learning about the various interesting corners of relevant employment law, and odd cases that the instructor had dealt with when advising people (the course was run by ACAS, the national body that gives employment advice and conciliation services). One chap apparently once called the helpline for advice having just found out that it’s illegal to keep glaringly obvious overpayments by your employer rather than telling them – he was in the unfortunate position of having been wrongly receiving salary payments for several years since retiring, which he’d already spent…

They also provided lunch, tea and cake, which was nice, even if the vegetarian option was a somewhat uninspiring set of vegetables in sweet and sour sauce with rice. There was a satisfyingly stodgy sponge and custard for dessert though – just like school dinners! There were three other people on the course – one chap had just started his own tree surgery business, one had just become a manager at an architects’ firm, and one was a secretary at an estate agents’, and they all seemed pleasant enough. (Alas, apparently that’s not the case on the equalities/how-to-be-nice-to-minorities courses that they run – unfortunately we heard that the people on those are usually sent there to make up for some misdemeanour, don’t want to be there at all, and find the content laughable. Grrr.)

But yes, it was a pleasant experience, I learnt some things, and it was useful for the work I was doing, so that went well! The course finished at about half past three, so from there I got back in my car and drove home to Cambridge, and was back at work the next day.

Previous visits

Now, I have been to Leicester before, it being very near to my childhood home in Northamptonshire. One occasion that I can remember is that, in summer 2012, I went travelling around Europe for two months with my friend Cabbage, camping and generally seeing things. That was the summer before I started university, and so for that trip we were in need of pots and pans and things like that. My mother and I therefore went to Leicester to mine its dodgy Indian hardware stores for cheap kitchen supplies.

The only occasion when I was in this map area and can find any photos is of an occasion in January 2017 when I was travelling up to Yorkshire (Wetherby, to be precise) for a short trip, and we stopped for lunch at a pub in the village of Glenfield, just outside Leicester. I seem to have eaten rather a huge pile of food!

Right, I promise my next post will be more exciting – it’ll be proper travelling this time, as I went to Malmesbury


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