Maria Vu wins our Apprentice student of the year award and discusses how she’s found balancing work and studying for her CIPD Level 3 in HR Practice.
“I would recommend Acacia Learning. I have always received prompt responses from the Student Support, tutors and my apprenticeship coach. With great guidance and hard work, results can be outstanding. Great webinars and resources are available too. Thank you Acacia Learning for all of your support!”
What kind of business do you work for and what do you do?
I work for the PPHE Hotel Group which is in the hospitality sector. I am a Human Resource Coordinator, based in the regional office in London. We manage all UK hotels’ employee databases, on-boarding processes, assisting HR Business Partners, managers, and employees with requests such as payslips, reference letters, investigations and more.
How did you get into HR?
I completed my bachelor’s degree in management, and I was always aiming for an office job after that. Since I joined PPHE Hotel Group, I had the opportunity to attend meetings, liaise with the suppliers, customers, management, and the employees. I really enjoy assisting others and realised that I would like to join the HR team. The company was aware of my interest and was also monitoring my progress. Once there was a position available, I applied and went for an interview. I was successfully internally transferred to the HR team.
What do you enjoy most about your job and being in HR?
I would say that helping others is the best part of my role and being recognised for my work. A lot of trust is involved with the HR role in dealing with a large volume of confidential data. I am always learning something new, which makes the job engaging and diverse with plenty of scope for progression.
Why did you choose to study with Acacia Learning?
I believe Acacia Learning was chosen by my managers at PPHE Hotel Group. I am studying with Acacia for an HR apprenticeship and the CIPD Level 3 in HR practice qualification is part of my course.
I always show interest in available opportunities to develop my knowledge, experience and skills. Which I believe will lead to improved confidence to perform the tasks in my role, understanding the business better and potentially career progression.
How did you study with us?
I was supposed to attend the face to face classes in Holborn. However, due to the restrictions around COVID-19, all my classes have been live-online.
Why did you choose to study your current qualification?
To understand the base of HR practice and to build on my knowledge. Level 5 would be too challenging without having the essential and practical knowledge.
What did you enjoy most about the course and studying?
I found the tutors to be really engaging despite having to teach the course live online during Covid-19. In particular, the group discussions have been really practical, fun and what I’ve enjoyed and learnt from the most.
My favourite module was 3RTO Resourcing Talent because it was new and interesting to find out more about recruitment. I had not been involved with this process in my role yet, however I recently got the opportunity at work to put into practice exactly what I had learned from this module and it was a very exciting experience. I was part of a recruitment panel and responsible for taking notes, discussing scores and decision-making.
Have you had to overcome any work/life challenges whilst studying?
Yes. It is extremely challenging to balance study, work and my personal life. We are very busy at work, so I had to request a coursework deadline extension. Sometimes, it often seemed like there is no time for anything…especially sleep.
How did you find your tutors and support throughout the course?
Very helpful. My tutors always offer a great piece of advice, support and guidance.
Has the course benefited your career/life?
Yes I am more confident in my job and supporting HR Business Partners with tasks that are not normally part of my role. They also trust that I will perform well now too.
Do you have any plans for future study?
Yes, after I complete my Level 3 and HR Apprenticeship, I would like to focus on getting a driving licence. After this, I am considering doing CIPD Level 5 HRM.
Apprentice Student Award 2020
Maria won our Apprentice student of the year 2020 – congratulations Maria! We received an overwhelming number of nominations for Maria (far too many to list here), however here are a selection.
“Maria is a dedicated person, fully engaged in her work as a HR coordinator, always helpful and happy to assist. She is a perfect fit for what a HR professional should be like.”
“I believe Maria is an asset to our PPHE team. She’s a professional, easy to get with and you can always count she will help with everything you need and follow up.”
“Maria joined the team as an agency waitress. She was able to show her commitment to the company and was soon after offered a Coordinator position within the company. Maria was always offering her support to her colleagues and the management. Her engagement and willingness to continuously develop and pass her knowledge to the rest has brought her to another internal vacancy – HR Coordinator. I believe that Maria should win this award because she is eager to grow and this is noticed by everyone she works with. Her skills, knowledge and behaviour will help any organisation she works in.”
“Studying CIPD whilst working beyond normal hours and pressures due to working remotely and assisting HR Business Partners and Senior Management during COVID-19. As well as working on her normal duties, Maria has been stepping in to assist with more specialised HR matters such as employee relations. Always volunteering to help and with a fabulous work ethic.”
“Maria puts her all into both her work and studies and strives to improve every day. She is dedicated, hard working and a positive influence within the team.”
“A true definition of an inspiring HR professional showcasing all HR attributes and values through her interactions with other employees regardless of position.”
“Maria has been a real delight to work with and has always delivered work to an excellent standard. Maria has done very well with her CIPD modules and has met all the skills and behaviours despite having a busy workload and having a lot to juggle. I am really pleased with Maria’s work and commitment – she has done extremely well.” Apprenticeship coach.