Training & Education Awards 2016

The achievements of people, organisations and companies in the business and health and social care sectors are once again being recognised at the Progress to  Excellence Training and Education Awards 2016. This celebration of success is being held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Liverpool L3 1QW on Wednesday, June 8 from noon-4pm. All proceeds from the event will go to Claire House Children’s Hospice, Wirral.

Our sponsors

A huge thank you goes out to all the generous sponsors of the Progress to Excellence Training and Education Awards 2016. Without their help and support, this annual event to celebrate the achievements of everyone involved in learners’ training and education journeys would not be possible.

Peninsula Business Services

peninsula_business_servicesPeninsula Business Services is the UK’s leading specialist employment law, HR and Health & Safety service. Its services allow employers across the country to focus on the success
and growth of their business rather than worrying about how to deal with a difficult employee or what they should do when facing a tribunal claim.

Experts are on hand to assist with any employment matter – no matter how trivial – through a 24-hour advice service which is available 365 days a year. Common issues including redundancy, TUPE regulations, holiday and sick pay, tribunals, employment contracts or Health & Safety compliance can be completely taken care of.

The Peninsula legal services team can provide full representation to achieve the best outcome for companies and its insurance scheme can fund the cost of any awards made against the business.


a2e is an all-encompassing investment banking service for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial medium-sized businesses. a2e endeavours to revitalise these companies by enabling them to perform competitively to unlock the potential of the businesses and inspiring the people employed by them to achieve their goals. Amin Amiri, founder and managing director of a2e, is regarded as an innovative and distinctive corporate financier with an impressive track record of investing in and advising private companies over the past 20 years. He specialises in strategic development of businesses, revitalising them and enhancing shareholders’ value of investee companies and clients. Due to his unique expertise, his views are often sought by business organisations and journalists. Amin Amiri is probably the only corporate financier in the North of England who completed his post graduate studies at the prestigious Harvard Business School, following which he gained first-hand experience of New York corporate finance scene for two years.

Wirral Chamber of Commerce

wirralchamberWirral Chamber of Commerce is the voice of industry and commerce in Wirral, driving business growth and competitiveness locally, nationally and internationally. Working to develop and promote Wirral as a vibrant and attractive environment in which businesses can thrive, the Chamber plays a pivotal role in the growth and development of the economy. while developing a sustainable and effective business model based on excellent services, operational quality and innovation. Chamber chief executive Paula Basnett said: “Since Wirral Chamber of Commerce was relaunched two years ago, we have moved forward in providing our members with the highest quality of business support services. “Last year we achieved the prestigious British Chambers of Commerce BCC Accreditation. This accreditation is important for both ourselves and our members as it provides vital assurances to business users that we have met important and continuously updated quality standards. “It also enables Wirral Chamber, on its members’ behalf, to continue a business journey on which we are aiming to become the business model for all UK Chambers.”


Skillsfirst is an awarding organisation committed to designing, developing and certificating a diverse range of nationally recognised qualifications which make a genuine difference, inspiring people to fulfil their personal goals and drive their careers forward. With more than 75 years of collective experience in the adult education sector, Skillsfirst’s passionate and talented team has an in-depth understanding of the world of work-based learning. The organisation uses this knowledge every day to deliver a simple, seamless service with the learner at its heart. More than 250,000 learners in the UK have achieved a Skillsfirst qualification since the company launched in 2010.

Apollo Care

apollocareApollo Care is a home care provider owned and directed by a qualified community nurse. The company is dedicated to providing a tailored service that is flexible and individualised, enabling service users to retain a greater level of independence and remain living in their own homes for as long as possible. It offers all its service users a package of care to suit their individual needs and all its care staff are hired directly by Apollo Care. This enables the organisation to offer continuity and suitability to match each services user’s personality and care needs.They guarantee care staff will provide excellent standards of care, arrive on time and follow an individual care plan that is regularly reviewed to provide the best ongoing support to suit the service user. Apollo Care continues to grow as demand for its services increases.  With its management franchises, each Apollo office is owned and managed by people who share a passion for caring and providing a service that supports and enables people to stay in the place where they feel most loved and secure – at home.

progressschoolsProgress Schools

Progress Schools puts the future of children who struggle in mainstream education at its heart and helps to open the door of opportunity to young people throughout the UK. The schools are setting vulnerable, disadvantaged and disengaged youngsters aged between 13 and 16 on the road to discovery – and ultimately jobs – by providing an alternative to conventional teaching. For most it’s a second chance to learn and gain essential life skills after being excluded from school, or being at risk of exclusion, for a whole variety of reasons ranging from behavioural and emotional issues to long-term illness. Progress Schools is part of a network of independent secondary schools across England which are already providing high level, supportive and inspirational teaching at Key Stages 3 and 4 with a particular emphasis on GCSE English and mathematics along with vocational subjects. Chief executive James Madine said: “Exclusion affects some of the most vulnerable pupils in society. Along with children with special educational needs and disabilities, this group also includes pupils from certain ethnic groups. An excluded child is likely to be seen by other schools as a source of trouble and many schools are unwilling to take on ‘problem’ pupils. These are the issues we are aiming to address to make sure exclusion from school is not an exclusion from a good education.”


Recruit.ed was formed earlier this year by Richard Rogers following his success recruiting in the work-based learning and welfare to work sectors. He has more than eight years’ experience in recruitment and has built a portfolio of successful clients which is testament to the achievements of the business. Working with Richard are two senior consultants – Heather Turner and Helen Wilkinson. Heather has worked alongside him in a recruitment capacity for th past two years, successfully placing many highly qualified candidates, while Helen joined the Recruit.ed team after formerly being a client in a recruitment manager role, bringing a wealth of industry knowledge to the company. Recruit.ed strives to provide excellent customer service to both clients and candidates, ensuring integrity and respect at all times during their recruitment journey.

SA_logoSmart Assessor

E-portfolio training company Smart Assessor allows tutors and learners to meet up virtually, using smart rooms for online teaching and assessing. Smart Assessor tracks every detail of the learner journey, thereby getting rid of piles of paperwork at a single stroke. Smart Assessor leads the way in modern teaching, assessing and learning. With over 200 colleges and training providers along with more than 125,000 learners, Smart Assessor is used for work-based learning, traineeships, study programmes, employability skills, full-time students and for all types of qualifications. With the Smart Assessor app you can take photos on smartphones or tablets, make a video or a voice recording to create a record of learner achievements. Learners, in turn, have a complete record of their work to show prospective employers. Benefits for clients include electronic signatures to eliminate SFA paperwork, smart “web rooms” for online teaching and assessing, course resource library for e-learning materials and learners’ electronic reviews, evidence, learning plans and assessments.

Autism Together

AUTISM TOGETHERAutism Together, formerly Wirral Autistic Society, has been dedicated to caring exclusively for people with autism for more than 40 years and is committed to understanding each individual with this complex condition
and to providing everyone with the structure to live life to the full, based on their personal needs and aspirations. Autism is a lifelong condition which affects each person uniquely. It can affect a person’s ability to form relationships, to communicate and to understand the world around them.

Wirral Autistic Society was formed in 1968 by a group of forward-thinking parents who were concerned at the complete lack of services available for their children. The organisation has now grown from one originally offering support to people with autism to providing a wide range of living options, day services and community support for people all over the UK.

Autism Together also runs a Step Into Work Plus programme which reaches out to adults with Asperger’s Syndrome who are looking for full-time or part-time employment. The 24-week programme includes a 12-week work
placement which, as well as preparing candidates for the world of work, also helps employers to recognise they can be capable and dependable employees who excel in certain roles.

Russell Taylor Group

russell taylor logoRussell Taylor Group, the Bromborough-based technical recruitment company, has in 10 years grown from a dream that began in a spare bedroom “office” to the multi-million pound entrepreneurial reality it is today. The vision by Peter Russell and his son Ben was to create a company with a culture of a fulfilled workforce and developing it to become a reputable business with unparalleled customer and candidate service.

In its short history, Russell Taylor Group has created offices in North Wales, London, Manchester, Scotland and Cardiff. Its sister company Recruit Right, which specialises in commercial and manufacturing recruitment from its headquarters in Bromborough, is now also a major player in the national recruitment field. With Peter Russell at the helm as chairman, the family-orientated business’ commitment to its “home grown” talent and apprenticeships has seen junior staff blossom into seasoned professionals in all areas of sales, finance and business services.

The company has delivered more than 20 apprenticeships, three of whom were nominated as Apprentice of the Year. Managing director Ben Russell was named North West Entrepreneur of the Year in 2007 and Russell Taylor Group has been shortlisted for four business awards in categories of Learning and Development, North West Business Services Provider and North West Family Business. Among its other major achievements has been to raise more than £20,000 – via innovative fundraising initiatives by staff – for local children’s charities.

Verum Victum Healthcare

vvhVerum Victum Healthcare specialises in developing supported housing with the aim to provide high quality accommodation solutions for vulnerable adults, working in partnership with local authorities, clinical commissioning groups, registered providers of housing and domiciliary care and support providers.

Homes – either new build or conversion properties – are designed to enhance occupants’ lives and allow them greater independence. Verum Victum Healthcare developments are all funded through private finance.

Jelf Manson

Jelf-Manson-Page-logoJelf Manson is proud to be sponsoring the Progress to Excellence Employer of the Year Award as the ceremony and what it stands for is very close to the heart of the organisation as it actively promotes a culture of continuous learning. A commitment to supporting the development of its people is something Jelf prides itself on and is delighted to hold the coveted chartered status from the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). This achievement confirms Jelf’s focus on supporting the professional development of its people to enable it to continually deliver outstanding levels of client service.

Developing a culture of learning strongly supports Jelf’s client proposition to deliver expert insurance advice as well as its aim to be an employer of choice. The company is therefore keen to support and celebrate other businesses and individuals who adopt a similar approach – and the Progress to Excellence Training and Education Awards 2016 is a way to do just that.

clairehouseOur charity

Claire House Children’s Hospice offers care, support and choice to families whose children won’t live to be adults. While the hospice building is located on Wirral, Claire House aims to offer the very best care wherever and whenever a child and family needs it, whether they choose to come to the hospice or are looked after at home with its Hospice to Home Team. At Claire House, everyone focuses on not what they do, but why they do it. Nurses take over for a couple of days so mum and dad can be parents as opposed to carers 24.7. Physiotherapists help children who are confined to a wheelchair most of their day to feel the freedom and movement of water in a specially adapted hydrotherapy pool. Play therapists do so much more than just playtime – they help families create memories that will last a life time. And the Family Support Team are on hand to offer emotional support to families when the very worst happens, for as long as they need it. Living with a life-threatening or life-limiting condition is draining on a child or young person and equally as draining on their parents and families. Claire House offers a sanctuary for children, young people and their families, allowing them to forget about the daily routine and simply enjoy themselves. 
Claire House also has accommodation for parents and siblings so the entire family can be together and have a holiday at the hospice. 
It is a home-from-home environment for children, young people and their families.

paulinedOur host

Pauline Daniels, Merseyside’s favourite theatrical daughter, has been one of the country’s top comediennes for more than 30 years as well as being a prolific actress. She is widely regarded as one of the UK’s most popular and hard-working stand-up comics, travelling all over the world to make people laugh and has been described by Ken Dodd as “a joyous performer” and by Willy Russell as “our lady of perpetual comedy”. She is the only woman to appear on The Comedians for Granada TV and has many other television appearances as a stand-up under her belt. Pauline is also acclaimed for her straight acting and is best known on stage for her Shirley Valentine role. Her TV credits as an actress include Brookside, Bread, two series of the BAFTA award-winning series The Street and episodes of Blue Murder. In 2013 Pauline was diagnosed with breast cancer but came back in a very big way by making her Shakespearean stage debut in the Liverpool Everyman production of Twelfth Night with Matthew Kelly. In 2009 Liverpool John Moores University awarded Pauline an Honorary Fellowship, a day, she says, which stands out as one of the best of her life.


Nominations are now open for the Progress to Excellence Training and Education Awards 2016. You can nominate an individual, an organisation or company – or you can nominate yourself – and you can nominate in up to three separate categories. The judging panel will be formed of experts in a range of occupational fields.

Categories are:
Employer of the Year (more than 250 employees) Sponsored by a2e
Employer of the Year (SME) Sponsored by Wirral Chamber of Commerce
Learner of the Year (aged 16-18) Sponsored by Progress Schools
Learner of the Year (aged 19-plus) Sponsored by Skillsfirst
Outstanding Contribution to Care Sponsored by Apollo Care
Outstanding Contribution to Charity Sponsored by Recruit.ed
Workplace Mentor of the Year Sponsored by Russell Taylor Group
Trainer of the Year Sponsored by Smart Assessor
Partner of the Year Sponsored by Autism Together
Progress to Excellence Employee of the Year

For more information email Sue McCann at