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NUS HR support

How we came to be

In 2012 NUS conducted research with SU’s about their HR capacity which showed that:

  • The majority of students’ unions (47%) delivered the HR function internally with some support from their institution.
  • In many cases the CEO delivered the HR expertise, strategy and managed the risk, with some administration support from elsewhere in the organisation.
  • The HR spend of students’ unions unsurprisingly varies significantly depending upon size of organisation (from £2,000 to £150,000 p.a.)
  • Those students’ unions with good relationships typically access the university HR resources for advice and HR expert intervention.
  • Often it seemed to be assumed that the CEO in a students’ union should be able to deliver and cope with challenging HR issues. Most CEOs said they were doing their best to hold their organisations together. However, where there wasn’t a dedicated function, HR was not seen as a strategic priority, but more of an administration nightmare.
  • There was general agreement that there is a significant role for NUS in supporting students’ unions to build HR capacity through both free and paid for services.

The core of NUS’ mission is to develop and champion strong students’ unions, yet our research indicated that many students’ unions do not adopt a strategic approach to Human Resource Management, and even those unions with well-developed HR functions could be more effective in what they do through greater collaboration and partnership working.

As a result, the HR Support Unit was established in January 2013 as part of NUS Charitable Services to enhance strategic HR practices and collaboration across the student movement.

What we offer

The HR Support Unit provides a range of services, including this HR Resources Hub, to help students’ unions with:

  • Employment advice
  • Guides, factsheets and resources on HR-related topics and current isues
  • Strategic HR consultancy
  • The annual National students’ union Employee Engagement survey
  • U-Learn - the National students’ union Learning Management system
  • The National Competency Framework for students' unions

Please contact Claire.Marsland@nus.org.uk for further information and support.