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Focus on a goal, work hard, and you can achieve – Courtney’s Story

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Hello, I’m Courtney! I currently work at AO as an employee relations advisor. But that’s not where I started. Back in 2019, I was at college and trying to find my first full-time job. Once I saw the opportunities for growth, I knew where I wanted to be.  

Great opportunities and growth

My journey started in AO back in January 2019. Before I started at AO, I was a full-time student at college, studying Business Studies, while working at McDonald’s. I was first introduced to AO when I studied at college and become very interested in the business, so I applied for a 6-week internship, in which I got the opportunity to work in different areas of the business, which was fabulous! 

Since doing the internship at AO, I wasn’t sure what career path I wanted to go down until the role of an HR Administrator Apprenticeship came up. I knew this was the role for me and offered great opportunities and growth within the business, so I applied immediately.  

Stepping stones

The day I was offered the role, was an extremely exciting day for me and I couldn’t wait to start both the job and the CIPD Level 3 course that was part of the apprenticeship. Working a full-time job and studying can be tough. however, AO was great at giving me both the time and support I required to complete my work to a high standard without worrying about time. I was so impressed by the number of people that were willing to help me through my course, which was amazing! 

Since passing my apprenticeship, I have been fortunate to have had two promotions. My first promotion was an Absence Coordinator role, which existed through a team restructure, and it was an opportunity I couldn’t resist since that was the next appropriate steppingstone for me to become an Employee Relations Advisor. As an Absence Coordinator, I was required to effectively manage absence across the business. The role exposed me to skills such as stakeholder management and time management which helped me to build different relationships with people across the business.  

You learn something new everyday

Whilst doing my Absence Coordinator role, I was also completing my CIPD Level 5 Apprenticeship to move closer to my short-term career goal. 

The Absence Coordinator role was quite a unique role. However, it fell between Employee Relations and HR Admin. Both teams give great energy and always find opportunities to have fun whilst working hard which created a positive and joyful team culture.  

After just over 6 months as an Absence Coordinator, a position as an Employee Relations Advisor became available and I was ecstatic and when I was offered the job, I was over the moon. I had done it, I had achieved my goal and although I worked hard to get this role, without the opportunities and support from AO, I wouldn’t have fulfilled it. Within a short period of time, I have already learned so much and I’m looking forward to learning a lot more! 

My journey through AO has taught me that if you focus on a goal and work hard, you can absolutely achieve it! 😊 


Courtney Bridgwood
Employee Relations Advisor