An HR officer with Monmouthshire Building Society took home two accolades at the 2019 Wales HR Awards.

Emma Beth Smart, who works for the Newport-based building society, was crowned the winner of the HR Apprentice/ Assistant/ Trainee of the Year category.

She was also recognised as HR Rising Star in a new category, created by judges in light of this year’s exceptional young talent.

Launched in 2017, the awards ceremony is the flagship event of the Wales HR Network, a leading professional thought sharing and networking group created and run by Newport-based Acorn Group and Cardiff-based commercial law firm Darwin Gray.

Hosted by Sian Lloyd, the awards recognise the best HR professionals at all levels, from apprentices to directors, and organisations as a whole across various industry sectors in Wales – showcasing the commitment, hard work and achievements of individuals and teams within the HR profession over the last 12 months.

Emma said: “To be awarded HR Rising Star has filled me with confidence and I truly believe I’ve found the profession for me. I’d always called myself a ‘people person’, so to be making a difference in a people centred profession like HR is a perfect fit.

“Studying alongside my full-time role has been challenging at times, but I’m committed to building my career and thrilled to see all the hard work paying off. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have strong mentors at Monmouthshire Building Society, and I’ve felt invested in throughout the organisation. I can’t thank my team enough!”

Director of operations for South Wales at Acorn Recruitment Maria Larcombe said: “It’s clear that Emma has found the profession for her. Playing a key role in a busy HR team while studying for a degree is no mean feat, but a challenge Emma has clearly risen to and thrived.

"Emma lives the core values of the organisation and her recognition is well-deserved. The team at Acorn and at our Wales HR Network partners Darwin Gray look forward to seeing what Emma, our other winners and the profession as a whole can achieve in Wales over the coming months.