Calum Davidson

About me

I am a senior HR Business Partner with Royal Mail. I joined Royal Mail as a HR Graduate in 2016 after leaving University.

Left school

June 2012

Senior Phase

In S4 I achieved Intermediate 2/Standard Grades (SCQF level 5) in Maths, Physics, Chemistry, English, French, PE, Business Management and History.

In S5 I achieved Highers (SCQF level 6) in English, French, History, Modern Studies and Business Management.

In S6 I achieved Advanced Higher (SCQF level 7) Business Management, Higher (SCQF level 6) Administration & IT and Intermediate 2 (SCQF level 5) Hospitality and PE Performance.

Choosing my Destination

I never thought I'd end up in HR, or indeed at Royal Mail, as a destination. I discussed University options with my guidance teacher, Mr Cameron, when at school and also sought advice from Mr Hamilton - I thought about leaving school in 6th year as I had my grades for University already, but after speaking to them I decided to stay and do Advanced Higher Business Management which proved to be great advice as a lot of the content was repeated in first year at Uni, so it meant I was well prepared! I went on to study International Business at Strathclyde University, and then during my time there ended up specialising in HR so I graduated with joint honours in International Business with Human Resource Management. 

Extra Curricular & Work Experience

At school, I was a prefect and a member of various committees in 6th year such as Yearbook, Prom, Senior Dance committees etc., as well as Young Enterprise. I'd say out of those, Young Enterprise was the biggest eye opener looking back - that really prepares you for the world of work, and project work at university for example, as you're working with others who perhaps don't have the same vision or motivation as you. Taking part in these extra curricular activities help you to build your stakeholder management skills and team-working, which are invaluable in the type of work I do now. 

Skills I've developed

Throughout my time at Uni, I worked on countless group projects building communication and collaboration skills - again, working with various types of people from different backgrounds so understanding the motivating factors in the group and helping everyone achieve the objective was really important. On top of that, I worked part time in bars and restaurants while I was studying - I'd say if you ever get the opportunity to work in hospitality or retail; do it. The skills I learned there such as customer service, problem solving, quick and critical thinking, are absolutely invaluable - I loved my time working in those industries and they really helped me come out of my shell. One of the values we live by at Royal Mail, which was particularly important joining as a Graduate, is Be Curious. It's an interesting skill to develop, and one I wasn't very comfortable with to start with as I didn't really think of it as a skill - but asking questions, building your knowledge and understanding of something, and learning from others is so important in the workplace; particularly as a young person. I had to keep reminding myself, and still do, that there are no silly questions.

My Advice

With regards to advice, I'd always tell people to pick subjects and do the things that you enjoy. I had no idea at school what I wanted to do for a living, so I just picked the subjects I enjoyed like Business Management and History - I found them interesting and I ended up carrying on Business Management to Advanced Higher and then onto Uni. I eventually found a specialist subject in HR while at Uni, and that's what I've ended up doing as a job afterwards. 

Another point would be not to just do what your friends are doing - out of my friend group at school, I was the only one to go to University while the rest of them went straight into work and apprenticeships; so it would have been understandable for me to do the same but I did what I felt was best for me at the time and suited what I was interested in. It made no difference to our friendships and we are still friends to this day.

As I've suggested before, don't overthink it - speak to teachers, family and friends about what you're interested in. Play to your strengths and choose the subjects that you're good at and that you enjoy - however, having said that, I was good at Maths but didn't choose it at higher because I didn't like it; looking back, I probably would have chosen it if I had my time again because the skills are so transferable to my role now. Finally, be curious! There are no silly questions, don't be afraid to ask or advice or help when you need it, and there really is no wrong path to take career-wise; you'll learn important skills and gain experience in whatever path you choose.