What a fabulous way to start the week - at a celebration breakfast meeting, Merton's Apprentices celebrated getting to the end of their year of apprenticeship. As part of Merton's Take One project to get 100 employers to take on an Apprentice, our very own Emma Elliott was there to enjoy the morning. Little did we know that she was going to win the prestigious award of Apprentice of the Year 2014.
This is what Clare Jefferies - owner of the Home Instead - Wimbledon and Kingston office wrote on the nomination form about Emma
"I knew the moment I met Emma Elliott that she would be the makings of a great member of my team. Even from day one, I wasn’t looking at our new Apprentice as someone that would be with us for a year - but years!
Emma is the happiest person you could meet – which to me is the first thing I look for in someone. She is always immaculately presented. Her positive outlook and attitude shone out from the outset. She wasn’t known as an Apprentice for long, as I felt she was more than that and so she was our Office Administrator, getting involved in all sorts of tasks and jobs. Emma’s knowledge of a working office was very limited so it was important for us to remember that she had to start from the beginning. But she didn’t stay at the beginning for very long and her enthusiasm and eagerness to learn allowed her to develop quickly. She asked lots of questions, listened, watched and copied. She wasn’t embarrassed to admit she didn’t know how to do something.
It’s important to recognise that the office that Emma works in deals with vulnerable adults, who for some, their lives depend on our ability to deal with crisis and situations, rationally, sensibly and professionally. Client confidentiality, problems with medications, falls, and often highly charged situations are all part of a days work. Every call, conversation and problem or issue has to be logged and acted on so there is no margin for error, forgetfulness or lack of judgement. Emma has been working in an incredibly emotionally charged environment, where taking a phone call from someone to report that a client who we all knew and loved has died, needs to be dealt with in a very special way. Emma has learned the significance of dealing with information and messages of this type and the importance of confidentiality dignity and respect.
Emma has learnt about confidentiality and diplomacy, making and learning fromher mistakes. She has had to learn that there are times for fun and times for head down and hard graft. But she has taken constructive criticism well and has grown and matured as a result. She is a very different person to the ‘Lil Em’ who walked through our doors a year ago.
Emma has also thrown herself into the care-side of the business. She wanted to provide care herself and asked to be able to look after a client and build a relationship, so she too could understand what it feels like to give hands on care. She visited clients before she comes to work, to help them get up in the morning. She was so nervous on her first visit, but wanted to be involved, and was a natural from the off.
Emma is also the sort of person, who if you are looking for someone to help out, it will be her hand that goes up. “Go on then – I’ll do it”, regardless of how vulnerable a position that might put her in or the sacrifice she may have to make to her life outside of Home Instead.
Emma has a very empathetic manner, both face to face and also on the telephone. When you walk into the office, it’s Emma and her smile that greets you – and she is genuinely pleased to see you. Visitors to the office regularly comment on how warm and friendly the office feels, and that is mostly down the welcome Emma gives, putting interviewees at ease or speaking professionally to someone coming to visit me.
As Emma has developed, her natural ability to communicate with people has landed her her new role of Recruitment and Training Administrator and one of her tasks is to obtain references for new Caregivers. Her telephone manner and empathetic approach enables key information to be provided from people who are happy to talk to Emma, allowing us to make a very important decision of whether we are going to offer someone employment.
She throws herself head first into everything she does, and she truly CARES which is marvellous given the industry she is in.
Every office needs an Emma Elliott. Well done Emma.