Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards

A clutch of the north’s most visionary and people-focused companies were honoured last night at the eighth annual Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards in the spectacular surroundings of Titanic Belfast.

Representatives from a cross section of businesses/organisations, both in the public and private sector, were among the 500-strong audience. A record 20 awards were handed over to household business names like Eircom, Allstate NI, Lloyds Banking Group, Musgrave and O’Neill’s Sportwear. Belfast City Council and the NI Civil Service were also among the public sector recipients, as were two Derry schools in St Mary’s College and St Cecilia’s.

There was a number of new companies with their names being engraved on the iconic and much sought-after WEA trophies. These included Ballyrashane Creamery, TotalMobile and Belfast software company Automated Intelligence (which was the night’s only double award winner).

Indeed such was the interest in our newly-introduced Career Inspiration Award that it was sub-divided into four categories for small, medium, large and education, where the winners respectively were Young Enterprise NI, Automated Intelligence, Allstate NI and St Cecilia’s. This year a record number of companies entered; there was a greater number of entries from public sector, education, IT and manufacturing sectors; and in the judges’ opinions, the standard was unquestionably higher than any previous year. Guests dined out last night on a sumptuous meal which included Ewings cured and smoked salmon with toasted brioche grilled asparagus, soft quail’s egg and Glenarm caviar dressing, and Maurice Kettlye beef wellington with crispy frogs legs.

“We’ve been overwhelmed yet again by the runaway success of the Workplace & Employment Awards,” Irish News marketing manager John Brolly said. “This high-calibre winners’ list proves that, as our economy begins to pick up again, Northern Ireland possesses the visionary leadership and flexible working environment to thrive and prosper.”

Stormont Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry, who was a top-table guest at last night’s function (and whose department has been a staunch supporter of the Workplace & Employment Awards) since their inception in 2007, told the audience that the initiative reinforces the message that the north has people in its workforce capable of making “a real difference” to the economy.

“If we are to compete in a global economic arena, we must continue to do all we can to drive up skills on all fronts, and facilitating the creation of a workforce equipped with the skills needed by companies within Northern Ireland is the strategic focus,” he said. “Skills are widely accepted as the key raw material required in any modern knowledge-based economy and are one of the main drivers in how we will achieve our long term economic goals,” he added.

Co Armagh-born Margaret Byrne, whose stellar career trajectory has taken her to one of the leading administrative roles in the Barclays Premier League as chief executive of Sunderland AFC, was keynote after-dinner speaker, taking guests on a journey into the trials and tribulations of the north east club’s boardoom.

The awards were supported by seven key business partners in Tughans, Liberty IT, Investors in People, Tesco, H3 Health Insurance, PowerNI and Titanic Belfast, and were endorsed by industry bodies the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD).

Winners 2014

Recruitment Innovator Of The Year                   

Winner                                   Webrecruit Ireland

Work-life, Health And Well Being – Public Sector   

Winner                                   Northern Ireland Civil Service

Work-life, Health And Well Being – Private Sector    

Winner                                   GE Energy

Highly Commended            Graham Construction

Workplace Excellence 

Winner                                   St Mary’s College, Derry

Highly Commended            Ulster GAA

Highly Commended            St Mary’s University College, Belfast

Best Place To Work – Small Organisation 

Winner                                  Automated Intelligence Limited

Best Place To Work – Medium Organisation  

Winner                                   eircom

Best Place To Work – Large Organisation  

Winner                                   Lagan Construction Group Ltd

Disability Best Practice Employer                                              

Winner                                   Belfast City Council

Highly Commended            Clanrye Group

Highly Commended   

Right Place To Work – Small Organisation

Winner                                   Aurion Learning

Right Place To Work – Medium Organisation                                                                   

Winner                                   TotalMobile Ltd

Right Place To Work – Large Organisation           

Winner                                   Lloyds Banking Group

Highly Commended            Henderson Group

Managing Talent – Small/Medium Organisation

Winner                                   CDE Global

Highly Commended            Roe Park Resort

Managing Talent – Large Organisation

Winner                                   Musgrave Retail Partners NI

Highly Commended             Survitec Group

Innovative Employer – Small Organisation

Winner                                   Manor Architects

Highly Commended             Core Systems

Innovative Employer – Large Organisation                       

Winner                                   O’Neills International Sportswear Co Ltd

Green Award

Winner                                   Ballyrashane Creamery

Highly Commended            Newforge House

Career Inspiration Award – Education Sector

Winner                                     St Cecilia’s College, Derry

Career Inspiration Award – Small Organisation

Winner                                      Young Enterprise Northern Ireland

Career Inspiration Award – Medium Organisation

Winner                                      Automated Intelligence Limited

Highly Commended               George Best Belfast City Airport

Career Inspiration Award – Large Organisation

Winner                                       Allstate Northern Ireland

Highly Commended                Cookstown District Council


WEA 2014

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