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#InspiringInclusion this International Women's Day

From all of us at HCL, we wish all women a happy International Women’s Day.

This year, IWD encourages everyone to #InspireInclusion.


As IWD say on their website “To inspire inclusion means to celebrate diversity and empowerment on International Women's Day 2024 and beyond.”


At HCL, we believe that we are stronger together and believe in building relationships where everyone feels valued and can add value. This resonates particularly strongly today as we celebrate the women at HCL.


The majority of our workforce are women; representing and celebrating diversity and carving career paths in various roles across the business, which make a difference every day. We are encouraging everyone in our business and beyond to celebrate the achievements of women in their lives.


We also encourage you to celebrate the important women in your lives today, share their stories, celebrate their diversity, their successes and ask them what they believe makes them feel inspired and valued!


Beautifully coinciding with International Women’s Day this week, we’ve also been celebrating National Career’s Week! As such, we are incredibly proud to spotlight four women in our workplace who not only strive to #InspireInclusion at HCL every day but have also demonstrated success in their careers at HCL.


We are delighted to put the spotlight on Mobile Cook Manager, Claire Dimmock, Skills Trainer, Rolande JeffriesTraining and Standards Manager, Angela Pearson and our Mobilisation Manager, Natasha Southwell. 


Claire Dimmock, Mobile Cook Manager:

Clare Dimmock, HCL Mobile Cook Manager making a heart sign with hands for International Women's Day
Claire Dimmock, Mobile Cook Manager

"I am currently working as a Mobile Cook Manager at HCL. I’ve been a Mobile Cook Manager for 7 years, and I really enjoy the job and being able to work in different schools.


I have been wanting to progress (my career) within the company for a while and have been lucky enough to take on the challenge of an Apprenticeship!


I am studying the level 3 Supervisor Team Member Apprenticeship, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it; I love being able to meet new people and learn as much as I can.  I would love to be able to progress within HCL; I am a qualified Chef, so menu planning and supply interaction is one of the jobs I find most exciting to be able to progress towards."


Rolande Jeffries, Skills Trainer:


Rolande Jeffries, Skills Trainer, making a heart sign with hands for International Women's Day
Rolande Jeffries, Skills Trainer

“My Career with HCL started in May 2005. I joined HCL as a General Catering Assistant, fresh off an airplane from South Africa, I worked in a busy training kitchen for 4 hours per day. With the encouragement and support from my Line Manager, I progressed to a Cook Manager. I was offered on the job training, giving me the confidence to execute my job role effectively.


Due to family commitments, I took a 4-year career break from HCL in 2010, but 4 years later I contacted HCL and was invited back to manage a Special Education Unit. It was at this point that I decide to complete my NVQ 3 via the Apprenticeship Scheme offered through HCL.


Moving forward 3 years, I was given the opportunity to progress and upskill as a Mobile Cook Manager. The demanding nature of this role has enabled me to make on the job decisions, and facing difficult daily challenges allowed me to grow and support other members of staff with their own journeys within HCL.


Chasing my passion in training and educating staff, I joined the Training and Standards Team, as a Skills Trainer in 2021. The diversity this role has offered me has been phenomenal, not only have I been given excellent training myself, completing my Level 4 Advanced Food Safety, Mental Health First Aider, First Aider and Level 3 Allergen Management, Highfield Calorie Labelling to name but a few, it has given me the ability to train staff across sector, supporting them to achieve their career goals.


My training and career progression is ongoing, and I deem it a privilege to impart knowledge and gain knowledge in my position as Skills Trainer.”

 

Angela Pearson, Training and Standards Manager:


Angela Pearson, Training and Standards Manager making a heart shape sign with her hands for International Women's Day
Angela Pearson, Training and Standards Manager

“My journey began just over 19 years ago when I joined HCL as a General Catering Assistant, working three hours a day in a busy Primary kitchen. With support from my Line Manager, I progressed to a Cook Manager and quickly started my ‘training journey’ by progressing to a Training Kitchen Manager (TKM). My passion for training, supporting and mentoring colleagues made this job so enjoyable.


Supporting new employees with their learning journey at the start of their career has been at times the most rewarding part of my career with HCL. During my time as a TKM I completed two Level 2 qualifications in Food Production and Team leading as well as a Level 3 in Hospitality, Supervision and Leadership.


I embrace every opportunity to learn and expand within my career which lead me to becoming a Contract Supervisor. This broadened my knowledge around the Operational side of the business, and I have been lucky enough to have great Mentors who believed in me as Line Managers. I progressed further and was drawn back to my passion. Attending a tough interview and being appointed as a Skills Trainer for the Training Team was a very proud moment for me.


Within this team, my manager saw potential and progressed me to the post of Training & Standards Supervisor, leading onto Deputising for my Manager as a Senior Training & Standards Supervisor, I stayed within this role for two years developing my knowledge and leadership skills.


My predecessor supported me considerably, and now I am Training & Standards Manager of a team of 8 amazing colleagues. Between us we manage 13 dedicated Training Kitchen Managers who all love their job just as much as I did 10 years ago! I feel I have come full circle and feel incredibly privileged that I can still make a difference to the Operational teams on the ground.


Within my current role, I have taken on more responsibility such as Safeguarding, H&S and EHO Lead for the Organisation. It is a lot of responsibility, but I have incredible support from HCL’s SLT and my team, which ensures I am dedicated to ensuring HCL are always striving to achieve the highest standards in all organisational goals and objectives.

Last year my team were privileged to win the prestigious LACA award for ‘Apprentice of the Year’ which is credit to the support and mentoring our Apprentices receive. Training is all about people and empowering our colleagues to be the best we can be.


I have continued to expand on my leadership and management experience and worked towards qualifications such as Level 4 Advanced Hospitality Management Diploma, Level 4 in Managing Food Safety in Catering and am currently studying my Level 5 CIPD qualification in Learning and Development.”

 

Natasha Southwell, Mobilisation Manager:


Natasha Southwell, Mobilisation Manager making a heart shape sign with her hands for International Women's Day
Natasha Southwell, Mobilisation Manager

“My journey began just over 12 years ago when I joined HCL as a General Catering Assistant, working two hours a day in a busy kitchen. With support from my line manager, I progressed to a Cook Manager position and Mobile Cook Manager whilst completing two Level 2 qualifications in food production and Team leading as well as a level 3 in Hospitality, Supervision and Leadership.


I embrace every opportunity to learn and move forward with my career which lead me to becoming a Contract supervisor, then a Trainee Contract Manager and a Contract Manager which is a role I remained in for seven years. I was very proud to have been awarded the ‘Operational Manager’ award in November 2021.  I continued with expanding my skills and leadership experience and worked towards qualifications such as Level 4 Advanced Hospitality and Tourism Management Diploma, Level 4 in Managing food safety in Catering and a Level 5 award in Leadership and Management. I have improved my confidence in delivering presentations and creating power points.

 

I have been in my current position at HCL for the last 15 months as Mobilisation Manager. I am enjoying working with colleagues from various departments that I have not worked with before, I am building on my experience and learning new skills.

HCL has invested in me over the years and continues to do so, with the opportunity available to me, I have just applied to start a ‘Level 7 Senior Leader higher Apprenticeship’ at the university of Hertfordshire. I am looking forward to networking with other students and sharing our knowledge and experiences.


HCL has a great training programme which we are very fortunate to have. I have gained so many new skillsets, experience, and confidence not to mention great colleagues who support one another. I am looking forward to starting my apprenticeship in March and working towards a degree qualification that will support me further in my current role and my future career goals.”


We’re proud of the career growth opportunities available to our employees at HCL; if you’re interested in a role at HCL, or you’d like to understand the HCL career path, please visit the Join Our Team page on our website:  https://www.hcl.co.uk/join-our-team

For more information on International Women’s Day, please visit: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/

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