After an impressive variety of entries, we are delighted to reveal the deserving winners of the 2018 Health Food Institute Bursary.
The commitment and enthusiasm to learn and train is undoubtedly alive and kicking in the industry if the entries to the Target Publishing Health Food Institute Bursary are anything to judge.
This year, we were delighted to see such a variety of retailers and their staff applying for the bursary, both those that have been in the trade for many years, and others that are very new to the industry, all with the same goal of developing their skills and knowledge through committing to the Health Food Institute courses.
What is it?
Last year, Target, which publishes Health Food Business magazine, announced the first Health Food Institute Bursary, which was designed to support two people working in health food stores through their training journey.
The Target Publishing Annual Bursary for the Health Food Institute Professional Diploma Course funds two people, either those currently working in a health food store or the retailer themselves, through the Certificate and Diploma courses.
David Cann, Managing Director at Target Publishing, explained: “We are committed to giving something back to the industry, that is at the heart of what we do and we are delighted to be able to support the HFI. We believe it is of fundamental importance to invest in health stores and their training for the future prosperity of the trade.
“We would like to wish our two well-deserving winners, Serena and Ellie, many congratulations and we look forward to seeing them thrive during their training journey.”
Entries came from a variety of stores, across the UK, and after much deliberation with the Health Food Institute, the two winners are Serena Norris, from The Bay Tree, in Dorset, and Ellie Musson, who works at Elixir Health Foods, in Cornwall.
Anna Hanson, who owns The Bay Tree, nominated Serena, commenting: “Serena is a new employee who has shown herself to be very hardworking and willing to learn. Taking this qualification would increase her confidence so she is able to help customers more effectively.”
Anna herself has been involved in training her staff for more than two decades and it was felt that Serena will make very good use of, and really appreciate, one of the bursary places.
Our second winner was Ellie Musson, who had actually been a customer of Elixir Health Foods for a decade before a job opportunity arose.
In her application, Ellie said: “As a long-term follower of health and nutrition issues, I had been a customer of Elixir’s for about 10 years when I saw the vacancy with them, and I instantly knew I had to do everything in my power to get the job. I truly felt that my passion for health, together with my love and aptitude for serving people, had somehow magically prepared me for the exact role of customer adviser in a health shop. I’ve always worked directly with customers in one way or another, but I’d never had the experience of selling products I believed would make a difference to customers’ actual quality of life! This is what I was particularly excited about, and I have found a great amount of joy in that aspect of the job,” she said.
“I have learned a lot in the two months I have been at Elixir but I’m keen to expand my knowledge as comprehensively as possible, hopefully through winning a place on your course. I want to develop a deep knowledge of the products we sell, in tandem with confidence in my knowledge of procedure and correct practice. When a customer comes up to me, I want to feel I can assist them in a kindly, approachable and mindful way that allows me to put them at ease, extract all the necessary information about their condition/s, and advise them safely and effectively.
“I feel like at Elixir, I’m in the heart of an exciting culture of wellbeing that anyone can come in to and feel welcome to discuss anything relating to health. I can’t imagine a situation that would provide more professional and personal satisfaction than contributing to that atmosphere of trust and wellspring of information in our community.”
In making her one of our winners, it was decided that Ellie stood out for her desire to learn, and for her enthusiasm in wanting to learn to help and advise customers in their quest for good health. We were also impressed by her very real understanding of the way it feels to belong to a team providing invaluable health information and wishing to serve their community.
The 2019 scheme will be launched at the NHT Summit, on October 14, where entries will formally open.