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Apprentice of the Month: Abbi Collins (May 2019) - Business

We’re delighted to celebrate another great apprentice of the month! Congratulations to Ardo, and Abbi.

Ardo is one of the world’s leading suppliers of frozen plant based food with a turnover in excess of 1 billion Euros. In the UK the HR team provides full generalist support to two sites employing nearly 200 people.

Ardo’s Human Resources Director, Morag Bailey tells us why Abbi is a worthy apprentice of the month:

Abbi joined us straight from her A Levels having had no previous experience of HR or working in a corporate environment. However from her very first day she has shown maturity and professionalism in all she has done. She has taken ownership for tasks and responsibilities assigned to her, has excellent self-management skills, is methodical, accurate and on time in everything she does. When she joined us I put together a training matrix for her but had to speed it up as she was grasping the basics quicker than anticipated.

This has allowed me to give her specific projects to work on which will aid her professional development and has freed up colleagues' time to work on other projects. Nothing is too much for her. She has the courage to step out of her comfort zone and find solutions when the need has arisen. She is popular with colleagues and managers throughout the business who have quickly come to value her support and advice.

As well as getting to grips with the tasks given to her, she has shown a genuine interest in how HR fits into the corporate structure of Ardo and the part we play in delivering strategic objectives. She always discusses at team meetings what she has been focused on at College and looks for opportunities to apply this knowledge practically.

It has been a delight to have Abbi join my team - she is bright, funny, professional, caring, responsible, intellectually curious and a team player. I am sure that she has a bright career ahead of her in HR and I am very proud to have her in my team.

It's clear that Abbi has slotted into the Ardo team perfectly! Here is her experience so far:

I am extremely delighted to have been nominated for Apprentice of the Month. I feel a sense of achievement; it’s proving that I am on the right track to achieve the goals that I have set myself. Becoming an apprentice in the workplace has been a massive change for me and a shift from what I had originally planned to do, so to be recognised has given me more confidence and courage to push my own capabilities even further. Being recognised has brought huge satisfaction and pride as it proves that hard work, dedication and commitment really does reap reward in one form or another. I am truly grateful to those around me who have helped and supported me this far and the opportunities that I have been given.

Ardo UK is an SME employing just fewer than 200 people, but with further sites based all around the world and our head office is based in Ardooie, Belgium. Currently there are three of us in the HR department at Ardo working side-by-side to aid and support departments and individuals in a variety of needs. As there are only three of us, it provides me with lots of opportunity to get involved with many aspects of the job in a busy and fast paced environment. Due to Ardo UK being a reasonably small company, a sense of community is clear in the culture as you walk around the building. We also have an average long service of 11 years which says a lot about how the company runs and the type of people it retains. Working for Ardo allows me to get involved in the taste panel at lunch time and play football for the 5-a-side team which brings both engagement and enjoyment.

The best part about working at Ardo is the environment in which I work. I am actively encouraged to learn and participate in many aspects of the job. I am encouraged to ask questions, challenge and problem solve on a regular basis and by having such a varied role allows me to face challenges and push myself out of my comfort zone. The support around not just from my department but others around the business also contributes to a pleasant and friendly environment which promotes hard work and commitment to responsibilities. My knowledge surrounding HR has grown emphatically aided by the opportunities that my team have given and guided me through. The encouragement to learn and develop not only as an individual but as a team is second to none which is only fuelling my willingness to absorb as much information as I can.

Here is what her lecturer had to say about teaching Abbi:

Abbi is self-motivated and driven to achieve success both professionally and in her studies. Since starting the apprenticeship in September she has never settled for doing the minimum required for any task that she has been set by me (in or out of College). She has been industriously proactive in working with her employer to produce work-based evidence consistently high quality to meet, and in many instances, exceed the requirements of the apprenticeship standard.

It is evident that she is intrinsically motivated to learn to develop her ability to take on more work-related responsibility and support her established HR colleagues.
Abbi is very popular with her cohort of fellow apprentices/students. During her studies she is always willing to share her work-based insights, best practice and her ‘can-do attitude’ when working in paired or group tasks. There have been several instances when Abbi has helped learners in the group by signposting them to useful resources relating to work-based projects that she has undertaken.
Since commencing the apprenticeship back in September Abbi has worked hard on the daunting challenge of developing her public speaking skills. A recent example of her progress was evidenced when she prepared and delivered a well-researched and highly informative training session on the subject of ‘Modern Slavery’ to her peers as part of an assessment. In the weeks preceding her assessment for this piece of work, she made effective use of independent study time working on her presentation skills.
In summary Abbi is steadily continuing to develop from being a noticeably reserved person who back in September had very limited knowledge and experience of the HR profession towards being a practitioner who is increasing in confidence, diligence and commercially awareness.

Abbi is a credit to her employer as well as MidKent College.

Congratulations Abbi!

To learn more about our apprenticeships at College, or enrolling on an HR course, browse our subject pages today.

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