Interviewing... Helen Shaw Founder of The Personnel Partnership

Name and role: Helen Straw, chartered corporate member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and founder of The Personnel Partnership.

Company: The Personnel Partnership – we celebrate our 20th anniversary this year!

Sector: Human resources and learning and development.

Describe what your business does?

We are a consultancy business offering practical support and advice within the Human Resources (HR) Learning and Development sectors. We develop long-term relationships with our clients and can offer down to earth advice on operational and strategic aspects of HR.

How many staff do you employ?

There are four of us on the team – not employees as such but associates – operating from our HQ at Heritage Mill in Lindley.

What does your role entail?

I work with clients as a partner in every respect, helping them solve their strategic and operational HR issues. Previously, I’ve worked in both public and private sector roles and it’s so important to take a practical, informative and commercial approach to their challenges. I also work closely with businesses to develop solutions to their learning and development dilemmas, whether the company in question is an SME or a blue-chip organisation.

What attracted you to start/operate your business in Huddersfield?

We live in Holmfirth so to be within easy reach of my home town is the obvious place to start! From a business point of view, there are so many great support networks out there as well as other talented businesses to partner with. Also, from a practical point of view, if you have clients travelling to meet you then it has excellent transport links, being close to the M62.

Name some of your biggest business achievements:

I’m so proud of the fact that I made the leap to move from paid employment to starting out on my own. I vividly remember standing in my newly decorated home office, with an empty desk, an empty in-tray and a phone that hadn’t yet rung.  I had no contacts and no work.  My face must have said it all… panic. How was going to do this? I looked at my husband and he said, “You don’t have to do this, we’ve only spent money on decorating and a desk, it’s okay if you want to get a job.” I decided there and then I was going to make it work.

What advice would you give to someone looking to set up or relocate their business in Huddersfield?

Get to know the area and the transport network, that will help you decide which part of Huddersfield will work best for your business.

What are your hopes for Huddersfield 10 years from now (2031)?

I really hope there can be some regeneration of the town centre. I think that Kingsgate was a great development and we need to build on that success.

On a personal level, what do you love most about the town?

I love the fact that it’s close to the countryside – I love the open spaces, the fresh air, the woodlands. And the people here are so friendly. 

Where is your favourite place to eat/drink in Huddersfield?

It has to be Punch in Honley, a tapas restaurant. Pre-lockdown, we went every month. 

Are there any recommendations or local knowledge you’d like to share with a visitor? 

There are so many fantastic places to visit in the surrounding areas such as Castle Hill, Magdale in Honley, Greenhead Park and Beaumont Park are great too, especially if you have children.


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