By The Recognition Team

CEO Winner: Rachel Beardmore – Funeralcare

Rachel was in the first cohort on the new apprenticeship scheme. As nobody had been through it before, there wasn’t a solid story to tell her about what the program would feel like or exactly what the End Point Assessment would include. Despite this, Rachel’s approach really made her stand out as someone taking her learning seriously and wanting to succeed. 

Part of the apprenticeship included a discussion about different community demographics and adapting the types of community activity to best suit their needs. 

Rachel immediately saw the benefits in this activity and submitted a six-page document with a breakdown of locally practiced religions and faiths, key stakeholders in the area, a Wellbeing Index score with a summarising statement for potential community ideas, a summary of the population age range and the effect this might have on Funeralcare involvement. She also summarised a statement of her local knowledge to best support the student population in the area including references for the research tools she’d used. It was incredible. 

This was the detailed, high standard to which Rachel worked. She successfully put everything she’d learned into practice in her role as a Funeral Arranger. It was reflected in the fact she received a Distinction in her results, the first ever to be awarded to a Funeralcare colleague. 

In addition to her studies, Rachel takes time each day to spend her lunch break at a nearby loneliness bench. She thoughtfully does this just in case anyone is lonely, they can pop along and have a chat with her if they need somebody to talk to. 

Colleague Choice Winner: Kirsty Lowther – Direct Cremation Manager, Funeralcare

Kirsty ran our Direct Cremation business single-handedly, including during the height of the pandemic. Direct Cremation was thrust into the limelight when an increasing number of people passed away. Along with the restrictions placed on funerals, there were over three times as many of this kind of funeral as normal.

Kirsty worked tirelessly to maintain the high level of client service she always aspires to, never letting her standards drop. She developed training materials about how to arrange direct cremations in a funeral home rather than them being done by a partner, and she delivered the training to the whole field team. 

Alongside a day job already under challenging circumstances, Kirsty also stepped up to begin her degree apprenticeship as the first Funeralcare colleague to undertake this.

The programme required a lot of commitment and investment, and Kirsty excelled. She gained excellent marks for all her assignments, including 100% on one of them. 

Thinking nothing of sharing her knowledge and understanding of the modules as she supported others with their studies, Kirsty received positive feedback from fellow students for her care and support of others.