A passion for learning and a determination to enhance her skills has seen a Burnley College adult learner triumph in a top Lancashire awards scheme and help her ensure the smooth running of her employer’s business.
Gemma Harper (27) is currently studying for a Level 3 Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development qualification one evening a week alongside her full-time job as office and training manager at Hardy Services, based in Padiham and members of Burnley Bondholders.
Gemma was presented with trophies in the Lifelong Learner and Employee of the Year categories after facing stiff competition from employees at businesses large and small at the Lancashire Business View Sub36 awards ceremony.
Gemma, from Burnley, said: “I was over the moon when my name was announced as a winner not once but twice at the Sub 36 Awards. “It was a great honour for both myself and my employers, who have given me so much support in my learning and development and have encouraged me all the way.
“Continuous professional development and broadening my skillset is important to me and it’s something I really relish. I love learning new skills that I can take into the workplace and see the benefits to both myself and the business.”
Hardy Services is a family firm providing engineering services for the water industry nationwide. It also has a scaffolding arm, specialising in providing scaffolding for listed buildings, and built the challenging Mount Midoriana tower which features in the hit TV show ‘Ninja Warrior’.
The firm, run by Paul Hardy, employs some 22 engineers and 15 scaffolders, plus an expanding business administration team, headed by Gemma. In her demanding role, Gemma completes general administration duties in the busy headquarter, as well as marketing, finance, staff training, health and safety compliance and internal auditing. Her current HR studies will equip her to take on extra responsibilities in staff inductions and appraisals. This year the firm will also be taking on a business apprentice from Themis at Burnley College.
Gemma said:“It takes commitment and dedication to finish work and then head to Burnley College to study but it’s worth it. I can relate the modules I’m learning to my work life, which is great and it gives me a real incentive to learn as much as I can. I’ll finish the course with a recognised professional qualification.
“Plus, I know if I keep the dedication and willingness to learn, the opportunities will just keep coming!” Gemma studied Business at Burnley College Sixth Form Centre where she achieved a double distinction. After studying accountancy and law at UCLan, Gemma chose the apprenticeship route to a career in business, working at a local estate agency before securing the role at Hardy Services that she has made her own.
Hardy Services owner Paul Hardy said: ““Gemma has become an integral part of the team, bringing her exceptional organisational skills and calming influence to our fast-growing company.
“Gemma’s drive and ambition means that she is always looking for opportunities to develop her skills and knowledge. She’s a huge asset to Hardy Services and heading for a key managerial role as the business continues to develop.”
Would a recognised professional qualification in HR or accountancy help your career prospects? As an employer, would a key member of your team benefit from ongoing professional development? Burnley College runs regular courses to help you upskill. Find out more at its Adult and University Advice and Enrolment Event on Wednesday, 29th August, 5-30pm to 7-30pm. Call 01282 733373 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Original story: Burnley Express
Picture: Gemma with employer Paul Hardy