Candidate of the Quarter: Elspeth Dale, Deputy Branch Manager at Waitrose

Elspeth joined Waitrose 18 years ago as an external team manager trainee.  Her career has progressed to include personnel manager roles in different branches before becoming Deputy Branch Manager eight years ago – joining Waitrose in High Wycombe two years ago. She is now seconded to John Lewis Partnership Head Office in Bracknell.

Congratulations to Watson Martin Candidate of the Quarter Elspeth Dale

We are delighted to announce that our latest Candidate of the Quarter is Elspeth Dale, Deputy Branch Manager at Waitrose in High Wycombe.

The Watson Martin Candidate of the Quarter award recognises the hard work and dedication of individuals who go the extra mile to become CIPD qualified.  Elspeth is certainly a worthy recipient having managed to successfully combine her studies with a management role in what has been one of the most challenging times for supermarket stores around the country.

Now on a six-month secondment to Head Office as a Personnel Services Adviser, our winner plans to complete her CIPD Intermediate qualification in HRM shortly having already passed five modules will flying colours with just one to go.

Elspeth’s adviser Sam Furlano who nominated her for the accolade says:

Elspeth has worked very hard throughout her programme keeping really motivated and committed especially during lockdown whilst working as a deputy store manager at Waitrose in probably the busiest period.  Now having undertaken a secondment role, Elspeth remains enthusiastic about her studies while getting up to speed in her new position.

Here we ask Elspeth her views on the programme, what she has enjoyed most about studying and how the qualification will help her career.

Why did you choose the CIPD Intermediate Certificate in HRM?

I’m passionate about people and want to enable all Partners to reach their full potential supporting both individuals and organisations. Whilst I have great opportunities to do this in my role I also wanted to:

  • Understand HR in more academic depth
  • Understand the true potential of unlocking talent to organisations
  • Improve my knowledge in an area I’m experienced in and enjoy
  • Invest time in my personal development.

How did you select your provider?

I found the Watson Martin website easy to navigate and clear to understand what each course involved. After speaking to an adviser who was incredibly helpful whilst also asking questions to ensure I was clear about what I wanted to do, I knew straight away it was the company I wanted to study with. I was originally drawn to classroom delivery, and whilst I attended one workshop, due to COVID-19, the following have been delivered on-line just as successfully.

How are you enjoying the programme?

I’m thoroughly enjoying the programme. Each module gives me a deeper understanding and further improves my knowledge of different areas.

How do you find working with your adviser?

I feel incredibly privileged to have Sam as my adviser. From our first conversation, I felt she understood my current role even though it isn’t all HR based. Sam is incredibly warm, supportive, caring and patient. Her knowledge of each subject – the models and theories – is outstanding and her passion for HR and supporting her candidates is excellent.

What skills and knowledge have you developed during the qualification?

I am more disciplined with time – creating a study plan for each module and building in time for reflection and updating my CPD as I have gone along has been very beneficial. My knowledge has improved enormously in many ways, from the challenges created by the skills gap to social inequalities and how HR can help drive operational performance when truly aligned to organisational goals.

What do you think the CIPD qualification will do for your future career?

The qualification has improved my confidence and my knowledge base is deeper which will enable me to make better-informed decisions, implement additional and different processes, share my knowledge, and upskill my team. I hope it will enable me to move into an HR role where I can make a positive difference.

What are your views on our online materials and the VLE?

All tutors have been excellent in delivering the workshops online and changing presentation materials where necessary to make them more online friendly. The VLE is superb and rarely have I researched elsewhere, only ever through further interest. The module descriptor, recommended reading lists, learning objectives and the workbooks are all excellent.

Were you able to network with any of the other candidates and if so was it useful?

Yes – we have a WhatsApp and social media groups alongside the CIPD student hub.

What are your career aspirations?

One of the reasons I took the qualification was to improve my knowledge in HR as I believe continuous personal development is both exciting and important. With my experience in HR, retail leadership and customer service, I am looking forward to supporting the new John Lewis and Waitrose Partnership plan. My role enables me to make a positive difference to partners and customers which I love, however, the pledge to recruit people from the care system to help them forge a career in the Partnership to better reflect the whole of the UK is something I’d love to be involved with in some way in the short term.