A nurse by vocation, Aaron Axiaq spent years dedicated to the profession, committed to serving one of the most difficult roles with the ICU. The journey instilled within him a love for serving the community until eventually he decided that he wanted to do something more, to start a new journey that would enable him to contribute from within the community.

Today he is Chairman and Director of Operations at Uniplural Group, which he founded together with colleague Claire Bellizzi.

“I’ve served at St Luke’s Hospital, was active in the transfer to Mater Dei and was even part of the contingent sent to assist the wounded during the 2011 war in Libya These are all factors that I believe shaped my approach to community care, which is the focus of the services we offer at Uniplural,” he explains.

The Group – which recently rebranded from Apex Group – is grounded in the values of care, quality, expertise, and integrity and provides a diversity of care-related services. The recent decision to rebrand stems from the organisation’s aspiration to redefine excellence across sectors and better reflect its core ethos.

“If we start taking care of our community we’ll have a healthier nation. That’s my belief and I’m working on developing it year by year. Uniplural started out as myself, Claire, and a team of three employees. Within a year that number went up to 50, and it’s been a continuous journey of growth and diversification ever since,” Aaron attests.

This growth has included the launch of the childcare arm in 2013, which today numbers seven childcare centres with a seventh one in the offing. Then, the Group started offering cleaning services within the community. The pandemic was a glitch, but Aaron did not let this discourage his gameplan.

“In 2020, cleaning services weren’t exactly in demand, so we diversified yet again. We had already seen a shift in workers’ trends, whereby our workforce was being increasingly made up of foreign nationals. We started our Academy, offering courses in healthcare, nursing, childcare and hospitality to help non-Maltese workers align with local standards. Our training courses are accredited by the MFHEA,” Aaron says.

Eventually, this commitment to diversification saw Uniplural branch into the hospitality sector. Today, the organisation runs a lovely boutique hotel, The Beach House in Birzebbugia, and is looking towards opening a restaurant later this year.

“Essentially, we operate six companies within different sectors, all related to the community. The rebranding brought them all together, following a restructuring exercise within the Group.”

The biggest challenge, Aaron says, was not the rebranding itself but rather consciously taking a step back from day-to-day matters so as to focus on strategy as Chairman of the Group, creating new ideas and ensuring that everyone is aligned.

“Now, things are more about the big picture than the day-to-day. I’m a very hands-on leader, it made me feel connected to the team, just like a family. This shift is part of our growth journey, of course, but I think we all felt the change,” he says.

As the company grew, Aaron has learned to divest certain responsibilities to others. Now, his goal is to continue building a culture where people trust each other and feel empowered.

“It’s been tough to accept this next stage, but it has helped me grow both personally and professionally, ensuring the Group stays strong for the future. Still, I can’t forget my roots so I’m also embarking on a new project.”

This project will see Aaron block an online slot every week so that every member of the organisation can feel free to discuss anything. He plans to extend this to upper management, thus ensuring a constant, open line of communication. Meanwhile, he continues to instil the concept of care into everything related to Uniplural.

“I have always been passionate about the concept of care, with a strong commitment to holistic care. Even working at the hospital, I used to tell my team and my students that we have to take care of a patient from a holistic point of view. This means being aware of the physical, social and spiritual needs, and viewing the patient as a whole. This was when I discovered a love for leadership and management. Today, I foster this belief within my group and I still maintain it, whether we’re talking education, child care, or cleaning,” he insists, adding that ‘care’ is “a common denominator that plays an important role in whichever sector we are.”

This belief even informed the rebranding of the company, which was rechristened Uniplural, from Apex. He explains that ‘uniplural’ means together as one, which is also the very basis of Aaron’s leadership style, signifying unity and diversity, reflecting the organisation’s commitment to bringing together various services under one umbrella.

“The new brand highlights our ability to adapt and thrive in the global marketplace, while celebrating the unique aspects of all our businesses. It represents our dedication to innovation, expansion and embracing new opportunities on an international scale, communicates our forward-thinking approach and readiness to explore horizons while staying true to our core values and principles,” he elaborates.

Overall, the transition signifies the Group’s commitment to growth and global engagement, setting the stage for an exciting new chapter in the company’s journey. Meantime, Aaron’s wish is for him to be remembered as someone who fostered growth and collaboration through the organisation, leaving a legacy that reflects the story of the Group’s success.

“Ultimately, as a leader I’m deeply committed to growth and to the wellbeing of the entire team, ensuring everyone has the support and resources they need to thrive, both personally and professionally. My goal is to foster this culture, so that it will have a lasting impact that extends far beyond my time at Uniplural. I don’t consider myself purely as a businessman, I’m still a nurse at heart. And this will always play an important role in my leadership,” he concludes.

This interview forms part of the Digital 50 Business Leaders project. These high-profile interviews are exclusively featured online at MaltaCEOs.mt, highlighting 50 distinguished conversations with business leaders, CEOs, and emerging entrepreneurial talents. Through these discussions, we aim to showcase the remarkable journeys, achievements, and successes of Malta’s business leaders.

Want to know more? Please drop us a line at info@maltaceos.mt

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