Skip to main content Skip to footer

How to become an HR administration assistant

To become a human resources (HR) administration assistant in the NHS, you can apply for vacancies on our recruitment website. You could also do a Modern Apprenticeship.

What is an HR administrative assistant

HR administrative assistants provide comprehensive administration support to the wider HR team. This may include the following:

  • Produce reports to support business processes and objectives.
  • Make sure payroll information is accurately recorded.
  • Process documentation such as leave forms and sickness records.
  • Process changes to terms and conditions of employment.
  • Issue forms to staff to provide process guidance and support to employees.
  • Signpost employees to employment policies.
  • Help to resolve HR-related queries and escalate to colleagues as necessary.
HR administrative assistant

Starting your career as an HR administrative assistant

Choosing subjects at school

School subjects that could lead to a career as an HR administrative assistant include:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Business Management
  • Administration and IT

Speak to your guidance teacher or careers adviser about subjects offered at your school.

Workplacements and volunteering

You may find it helpful to get some healthcare experience by doing a work placement or volunteering. You’ll get training, increase your knowledge, and learn new skills. This could help you when applying to university, college or a new job with NHSScotland. 

Education and training pathway

There are different routes you could take to become an HR administrative assistant.

College courses

You’ll need some experience in providing support in an HR environment. You will also need a related qualification, such as:

  • SVQ Business and Administration at SCQF level 6
  • HNC Human Resource Management at SCQF level 7

Other relevant qualifications at SCQF level 7 may be accepted. Search for college courses on My World of Work.

Modern Apprenticeships

Some HR administrative assistants start their careers as Modern Apprentices. A Modern Apprenticeship will provide both the training and experience you’ll need for the role. You'll also earn industry-recognised qualifications.

Find out more about a Modern Apprenticeship in Business and Administration.

Get to know the role

As an HR administrative assistant, you’ll need to be detail-orientated and an effective communicator. You’ll collaborate with colleagues in your own team and throughout the organisation.

Tasks include: 

  • Coordinate and record daily absences and follow up on outstanding paperwork.
  • Respond to queries from colleagues and external stakeholders.
  • Support all administrative stages of the employment journey and follow HR procedures
  • Meet monthly deadlines to make sure any changes to payroll are updated on time.

HR administrative assistants need these skills:

  • communicating
  • collaborating
  • time management
  • focussing

You must also follow work-based protocols to maintain the confidentiality of employee information.

In the HR department, you could work with the following:

  • senior officer
  • business partner
  • lead business partner
  • senior specialist lead

You could work in an office, but hybrid working may also be possible.

Learning and development

You'll be encouraged to develop your career in the NHS. As well as learning specific to your role, you'll need to complete mandatory training, including:

  • health and safety
  • occupational health
  • fire safety
  • counter-fraud
  • moving and handling
  • safe information handling
  • information governance

Your NHS employer will confirm their mandatory training requirements during your induction.

Career progression

You may have the chance to study for other qualifications to advance your career. Through training and earning new qualifications, you'd be eligible to apply for more senior roles. You could also access professional qualifications or undergraduate degree programmes.

Example qualifications include the following:

  • Level 3 Foundation Certificate in People Practice at SCQF level 6
  • HNC Human Resource Management at SCQF level 7

Speak to your manager about education and training opportunities in your board.

Professional bodies

As an HR administrative assistant, you could become a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

The CIPD is a professional body for HR and people development and can offer qualifications and community for those working in HR.

Find out more about the CIPD.

Navigate page

Explore careers

Explore careers

Discover the skills and qualifications you’ll need for each role and what the work will be like.

Explore careers

NHSScotland Careers blog

Our blog includes how-to guides, case studies, and career resources.

Discover more