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Meet the Assessors

Applications will be reviewed by a team of independent Assessors.
The Assessors have been selected for their experience in training and skills development across a wide range of organisations and sectors.
The team of Assessors assess each written application independently and provide expert, tailored feedback designed to help you analyse your learning and development strategy. The Assessors also produce detailed assessment reports for organisations who are visited at their premises. These will be presented by the Chief Assessor to the Princess Royal Training Awards Commission, which makes the final decision about who receives the award.
Paul Robertson

Paul Robertson

Chief Assessor

Paul established Management Learning Resources (MLR) in 1986 when he returned to the UK after working in senior HR positions in US technology and computer companies. To date MLR has helped thousands of HR professionals develop over ½ million people.

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Paul has provided authors and product developers with extensive support in developing learning resources both in the UK and in the US. As well as his role as Director of Learning Materials and Products at MLR, Paul’s consulting work has included Organisational Development and Senior Management Coaching for Financial and Healthcare organisations and he recently led a Corporate Culture Survey in the NHS with over 10,000 respondents.

Paul was one of the original team working on the National Training Awards and progressed from Assessor to Quality Assurance Manager. He is currently the Quality Assurance Manager for the National Apprenticeship Awards, a role he has held for a number of years, and provides assessment and judging support at Regional and National Level.

Paul says: ‘Becoming Chief Assessor for the Princess Royal Training Awards is an opportunity to be part of truly national awards process that seeks to identify, celebrate and share excellence in training/learning and development across all organisational sectors in the United Kingdom.’

Fenella Tallon

Fenella Tallon

Deputy Chief Assessor

Fenella has run an education and learning management consultancy since April 2004. She currently works on establishing training and development needs across 12 schools and 4 colleges for East Sussex post-16 Education Improvement Partnership.

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Fenella has worked with the East Sussex County Council since 2013, supporting the Standards & Learning Effectiveness Service on a range of learning advice and guidance projects.

In the past Fenella has contributed to the ‘Skills for Work’ study, a £9M project jointly funded by the European Social Fund and the Learning & Skills Council. She has also worked at the Learning and Skills Improvement Service on the evaluation of national safeguarding and safer recruitment training materials. Fenella has also developed an assessment guide for universities and colleges across Sussex for the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

In addition to her experience of assessment, Fenella held Assessor roles both for the National Training Awards from 2004-2012 and the National Apprenticeship Awards from 2006-2010.

Fenella says: ‘I am delighted to take on the role of assessor for the Princess Royal Training Awards. It is a pleasure and privilege to learn first-hand how training has helped change the way organisations work for the better.’

Peter Coats

Peter Coats

Assessor

Peter has over 25 years’ experience in Learning & Development across both public and private sectors. During his service as a Police Officer he led the design and quality assurance function and also acted as an assessor and verifier on development programmes.

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In 2013 Peter started working for Legal and General and as a skilled facilitator has championed the use of active and experiential learning methods. Qualified in a number of psychometric tools he has been involved in customer experience training, leadership development and creating a coaching culture. In a nutshell, ‘helping people to think differently’ is Peter’s aim.

Peter says: ‘I am delighted to be an assessor for the Princess Royal Training Awards and having been successfully through the process as an applicant I recognise the impact that it can have on reminding people of the tangible benefits that excellent training provides.’

Jill Davies

Jill Davies

Assessor

Following a successful career at Marks and Spencer plc in commercial management, Jill set up her own business offering consultancy and training services with a wide-ranging client base including a number of blue chip companies and over 100 SMEs based in South Wales.

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Her expertise is in people development, specialising in leadership and management, team building, executive coaching and business development. Jill is an Investors in People Specialist, qualified Assessor, IQA and EQA, delivers and assesses teaching qualifications to work based learning providers and ILM Leadership and Management qualifications to a wide range of organisations.

Jill is also currently working with Swansea University on a Leadership programme for Managers and Directors of companies across Wales. She is involved in design, delivery and is providing coaching and mentoring to participants helping support their business growth.

Jill is a Member of the CIPD, Institute Consulting and a qualified SFEDI Business Adviser.

Karen Hodgson

Karen Hodgson

Assessor

Karen has over 30 years in training and development working in FE Colleges, commercial businesses and private training providers at a senior level.Karen worked started her training career with British Midland Airways before working in an FE College as a tutor then moving on to manage a department at the college including 2 commercial outlets.

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Moving to another FE College as Director of Workforce Development, after a period of secondment Karen transferred to Yorkshire Forward to lead the training development at Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

Other roles have included working in a specialist college for adults with disabilities, working as CEO for a training provider network. Karen moved to Canal Engineering in 2016 to develop and expand the training offer. Karen has acted as an Ofsted Nominee at 3 recent inspections and assessed applications for the National Apprenticeship Service Awards for several years.

When not working Karen is a dedicated Formula One fan, boating enthusiast and holds a Private Pilot’s Licence. ‘I am very proud to join the team at Princess Royal Training Awards and work with businesses to recognise their amazing achievements through training and development.’

Nicola Laverton

Nicola Laverton

Assessor

Nicola’s HR career spans 20 years in senior management and consultancy, with a successful track record in the blue chip, service, financial and public sectors.

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Nicola’s UK and International company experience was with Tesco, Diageo, Avon Cosmetics and the AA; other clients include PRO Insurance, Armour Re, Babcock International and Barclaycard.

She has implemented a range of HR strategies at the organisational level to enable business and performance improvement. Her strength in designing and implementing Talent management strategies has resulted in step-change improvements in leadership development, change management and organisational development. In addition, she has extensive experience in senior coaching and team development to achieve insight, growth and change.

Nicola has strong assessment experience both in the corporate and education sectors including the assessment of programmes delivered by Oxford Brookes University to commercial clients. She has worked on the CDR International 360 degree feedback and is qualified to use a range of psychometric tools recognised by the British Psychological Society. She is an Assessor for the National Apprenticeship Awards and was involved with the National Training Awards as a Judge, Assessor, mentor and workshop facilitator.

Nicola says: ‘This prestigious award will showcase and recognise at a national level learning and development programmes that have truly benefitted the business.’

Paul Middleton

Paul Middleton

Assessor

Paul is a highly skilled Learning & Development Professional with over 20 years’ experience working in Management, Education, Training across the Health & Social Care and Hospitality industries.

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Paul has worked for both private sector and charity organisations, Leading Organisational Development utilising technology and creativity to enable people to reach their full potential.

Paul has led successful Apprenticeship Programmes with involvement in Apprentice Advisory Boards and Trailblazer Groups as well as implementing Apprenticeship roles into an organisation.

As well as being qualified in assessment and quality assurance Paul holds a Certificate in Education and Masters in Management.

Paul says: ‘It is a great honour to work with so many organisations nationally who value Learning & Development and are committed to developing people. These awards are a fantastic opportunity to showcase good practice and innovative ideas to benefit any type of business.’

Heather Moore

Heather Moore

Assessor

Heather is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and has over 20 years’ experience in Human Resources, working with organisations in the public, charity and private sectors.

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Heather runs an HR consultancy based in Sussex and provides advice to SMEs on performance management and recruitment strategy, and support on contracts, redundancy and compliance with employment law.

She holds qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development and has a Post Graduate Certificate in Education Management. She is a Trustee of Autism Sussex. She was an Assessor for the National Training Awards for 9 years.

Heather says: ‘I feel privileged and lucky to be part of these new awards, and to hear about how innovative and excellent training has made a difference to organisations, both big and small.’

Richard Perry

Richard Perry

Assessor

Richard has extensive experience as a consultant, trainer and facilitator specialising in leadership, business process management and the implementation of change.

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Richard has worked both in the corporate sector – with clients such as Unilever, Vodafone, Toshiba and Hewlett-Packard Medical systems – and the public sector such as the City and County of Swansea and the Welsh Government.

Today, Richard holds the role of Leadership Development Officer at Swansea University, working on designing and delivering the ION leadership programmes for all sizes of business. He is also an ILM qualifications Assessor.

Richard is the author of respected business and leadership publications and has lectured to MBA and Entrepreneurship students at Swansea University and at University of Wales Trinity St David. He continues to develop learning and self-assessment tools to promote skills development across the public and private sectors.  He has been an Assessor for the National Apprenticeship Awards for the last 4 years.

He says: ‘I am looking forward to the validation visits and seeing how training ambitions have translated into tangible results for both the organisation and the individuals involved. Seeing the words on the application come to life is an exciting prospect.’

Assessors' Top Tips: #1

Plan before beginning your application, too much rather than too little. This means thinking of your application as a communication opportunity which allows you to share your passion about your organisation’s achievements. Identify the evidence needed to demonstrate and support these successes for the Assessors and Commissioners.

 

Assessors' Top Tips: #2

Make sure that your entry provides evidence against ALL of the criteria for the award.

 

Assessors' Top Tips: #3

Remember to include what impact the learning has had on the people in your organisation as well as on the organisation itself. What are they doing differently as a result of the training?

 

Assessors' Top Tips: #4

Tell your story clearly in plain English. Make sure the ‘before’ and the ‘after’ are clearly set out, tell us what the training enabled people to do that they could not do before, and how this then benefited the organisation.

 

Assessors' Top Tips: #5

Remember to focus on how your training/learning programme has improved performance by providing the starting point before the training was commenced as well as evidencing the impacts and benefits.

 

Assessors' Top Tips: #6

Read the rules carefully and answer the questions that are actually being asked not the ones you think are being asked.  Training should have a purpose – be sure to place it in context and show the benefits that were gained.

 

Assessors' Top Tips: #7

Tell a story – with solid evidence to back it up – about how your training has resulted in people doing things differently and how this has led to business success.

 

Meet the Commissioners

The Princess Royal Training Awards Commission is composed of
HRH The Princess Royal and ten leading figures in the business and learning & development community.

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