Inspiration and dedication to others were once again at the heart of this year’s Progress to Excellence Training and Education Awards.
Honouring people for the huge contribution they make to their communities – gained from their commitment to training – the event applauded the work of individuals, charities, employers and training providers. The day also focused on raising money for Claire House Children’s Hospice in Wirral, the Progress to Excellence charity of the year. Donations and proceeds from the Chocolate Box Prize Draw brought in a total of almost £12,000.
Sandra Kirkham, managing director of Progress to Excellence Group, said: “Each year our Progress to Excellence Training and Excellence Awards get bigger and better with everyone here recognising how important training and education is to our society.
“All our winners and nominees for awards make a huge difference to the lives of people in their communities by their everyday efforts in the workplace. Their hard work and determination is an inspiration. Progress to Excellence is committed to stretching and challenging all learners to achieve their full potential and this event also acknowledges the work of every individual associated with those learner journeys.
“It also shows how training and education are linked to serving our communities by supporting needy causes. The amazing amount raised today for Claire House shows what is possible by working together for the common good.”
More than 300 invited guests attended the ceremony at the Liverpool Crowne Plaza, joined by Liverpool’s Lord Mayor, Cllr Roz Gladden, her consort, Cllr Roy Gladden, and the Mayor and Mayoress of Wirral, Cllr and Mrs Pat Hackett. Guest speaker was Natalie McKeown, whose 16-year-old daughter Cara has the rare Rett Syndrome. She can’t walk, talk or feed herself yet the family, with support from Claire House, ensure they have as normal a life as possible, full of love and laughter. The event was hosted by actress and comedienne Pauline Daniels and performing during the day were swing singer Cliff Jenkinson and Chester choir A Handbag of Harmonies.
Sponsors were Peninsula Business Services, a2e, Wirral Chamber of Commerce, Progress Schools, Skillsfirst, Apollo Care, Recruit.ed, Russell Taylor Group, Smart Assessor, Autism Together, Jelf Manson, Verum Victum and Chairstyle. Photography by Geoff Davies Photography.
Employer of the Year (more than 250 employees):
Award sponsored by a2e and presented by Anne Cooper. Richmond Fellowship is one of the largest voluntary sector providers of mental health support in England and makes mental health recovery a reality for more than 9,000 people every year. Working with the NHS and local authorities, its range of support includes supported accommodation, residential care, employment and community-based support.
Employer of the Year (SME):
Elizabeth Senior Care
Award sponsored by Wirral Chamber of Commerce and presented by Paula Basnett, chief executive of Wirral Chamber. Elizabeth Senior Care provides care and support to the elderly living in their own homes in and around Ellesmere Port. It was established seven years ago after it was discovered there was a great need for quality carers in the area. Management and its team of carers have many years’ experience of working in the community as domiciliary carers, helping people to live their lives independently and with dignity and to be treated with compassion and respect.
Learner of the Year (aged 16-18):
Fletcher Smith, of Forktruck Warehouse
Award sponsored by Progress Schools and presented by James Madine, chief executive of Progress Schools . Fletcher’s employers – Forktruck Warehouse – were initially hesitant about taking on an apprentice but now, as his apprenticeship is almost complete, they realise it was the best decision they had made. He’s never had a day off sick, never been late nor been disciplined for anything. He cycles more than six miles to work every day in all weathers and, most importantly, now motivates friends and family to get up and find work and training opportunities.
Learner of the Year (aged 19-plus):
James Broady, of Richmond Fellowship
Sponsored and presented by Skillsfirst and presented by Fraser Ingham, sales and marketing director at Skillsfirst. James Broady is a recovery worker at Richmond Fellowship in Wakefield who mastered the learning of new skills when he began working for a QCF Level 3 qualification. Learning topics that interested him helped him to increase his skills and knowledge and the learning journey, he says, has woken him up and left him wanting to learn more. He’s now taken on extra duties at work – and often finds himself debating issues with staff as well as addressing issues with tenants and passing on information.
Outstanding Contribution to Care:
Linda Greenberg, of Professional Carers
Award sponsored by Apollo Care and presented by Cheryl White, founder of Apollo Care. Linda has been a domiciliary carer with the Wallasey company Professional Carers for over 16 years where she is described as a dedicated, loyal and caring individual. All the service users love her and think she’s wonderful. She goes over and above what’s asked of her to make a difference to the lives of the people she cares for. In a recent survey, service users said Linda was “a diamond” and that “she deserved a medal”.
Outstanding Contribution to Charity:
Katie Rooney, of Progress to Excellence
Award sponsored by Recruit.ed and presented by Richard Rogers, managing director of Recruit.ed. Katie, who is a functional skills trainer with Progress to Excellence, has been dedicating her spare time to charity fundraising and has been involved in The Prince’s Trust Million Makers challenge. She’s part of the Million Makers team from Progress to Excellence who, with an entrepreneurial idea, are working towards raising a minimum of £10,000 for the trust. Katie is very passionate about raising awareness for both The Princes Trust and Claire House.
Workplace Mentor of the Year:
Katy Lennon, of Progress to Excellence
Award sponsored by Russell Taylor Group and presented by Peter Russell, chairman of Russell Taylor Group. Katy, who is principal quality officer at Progress to Excellence, has been described by colleagues as “inspirational, protective and honest”, helping everyone out and always knowing the right thing to do! She’s taken additional responsibilities in her stride without changing and always has time to spare if anyone needs help, advice and guidance. Katy wants nothing more but for colleagues to strive in their careers, bringing compassion, knowledge, support, time and commitment to her job.
Trainer of the Year:
Award sponsored by Smart Assessor and presented by Joe Graham. Matthew, who is an internal quality assurer at Progress to Excellence, has been described by students as a supportive tutor – one who always goes the extra mile to support them on their journey to achieve their qualifications and encourage their continuous development. His job satisfaction comes from seeing students thrive on learning and seeing the doors of opportunity open for them.
Partner of the Year:
Award sponsored by Autism Together and presented by Jim Strain, chief executive of Autism Together. Skillsfirst is a national awarding body which designs and develops qualifications which make a genuine difference to learners, inspiring people to fulfil their personal goals and drive their careers forward. Working in partnership with Progress to Excellence, Skillsfirst places great focus on quality and customer service which is reflected in the support they give to the company’s trainers, assessors, internal quality assurers and managers.
Progress to Excellence Employee of the Year:
Award sponsored by Jelf Manson and presented by Helen Collier. Paul, who is a functional skills tutor, is known throughout the company for the enormous support he gives to learners as well as to colleagues by contributing towards their professional development. He also tirelessly gives his own time co-ordinating charity fundraising at Progress to Excellence and helps to raise the company’s profile in its social responsibility initiatives. This year, he has made a huge difference to fundraising for the Progress to Excellence nominated charity of Claire House. Most of all, Paul does everything with a smile on his face.