Assessor team

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.

​Our expert Assessors are dedicated to maintaining the Princess Royal Training Awards’ standards and supporting organisations committed to training, learning and development to achieve them. Coming from a wide range of backgrounds in education, training and leadership, each Assessor is equipped with the skills, experience and expertise to evaluate Award applications fairly and accurately.

Fenella Tallon | Chief Assessor

Fenella Tallon | Chief Assessor

“Fen-ella Tal-un” | she/her

Fenella brings a wealth of experience in education, learning management and assessment to her role as Chief Assessor for the Princess Royal Training Awards.

Fenella explains that the best thing about being an Assessor for the Princess Royal Training Awards is:

“Being able to look under the bonnet of organisations of all shapes and sizes to understand – in great detail – the learning and development they are providing and how it is having an impact. That’s a real privilege.”

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Her experience in learning and development includes running an education and learning management consultancy, establishing training and development needs across schools and colleges for East Sussex post-16 Education Improvement Partnership, evaluating national safeguarding and safer recruitment training materials for the Learning and Skills Improvement Service, delivering youth mental health first aid courses and setting up mental health support teams in over 60 schools in East Sussex.

Fenella has also worked with East Sussex County Council on learning and advice projects, contributed to the ‘Skills for Work’ study funded by the European Social Fund and the Learning Skills Council and developed an assessment guide for universities and colleges across Sussex. She has held Assessor roles both for the National Training Awards from 2004-2012 and the National Apprenticeship Awards from 2006-2010.

Paul Robertson | Quality Assurance Manager

Paul Robertson | Quality Assurance Manager

“Paw-l Rob-urt-son” | he/him

Paul is a Quality Assurance Manager with 40 years’ experience in human resources and professional development in both the UK and the US. Paul says:

“I have enjoyed the opportunity to be part of a 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.”

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He 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 and now works as Director of Learning Materials and Products at MLR. To date, MLR has helped thousands of HR professionals develop over half a million people.

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 worked on the National Training Awards and progressed from Assessor to Quality Assurance Manager. He currently provides quality assurance 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 levels.

Heather Moore | Deputy Chief Assessor

Heather Moore | Deputy Chief Assessor

“Heth-er More” | she/her

Heather is Deputy Chief Assessor with over 20 years’ experience in human resources within the public, charity and private sectors.

In her role as Deputy Chief Assessor for the Princess Royal Training Awards, Heather values the opportunity to gain a snapshot of how a whole range of organisations work and how they ensure best practice in developing their people. For her, a key highlight is:

“Seeing the difference that a good well planned and delivered piece of training can make both to people and their organisation. Also, getting a palpable feeling of enthusiasm from people who have received training that they value – it is so inspiring.”

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She runs a HR consultancy in Sussex providing advice to SMEs on compliance with employment law, staff development and performance management. She also conducts independent investigations into grievances and misconduct issues. Heather is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development and was a trustee of Autism Sussex for six years.

Heather has extensive experience of assessment, having been an Assessor for the National Training Awards for nine years as well as presently being an Assessor for the National Apprenticeship Awards.

Peter Coats | Assessor

Peter Coats | Assessor

“Pee-ter Cotes” | he/him

Peter has over 30 years’ experience in Learning & Development across both public and private sectors and was elected to the City and Guilds Council in 2020. In describing a key highlight of his role as Assessor, Peter explains:

“It’s the moment at the awards ceremony when we can congratulate recipients and they recognise that their programmes are amongst the best in the UK.”

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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.

A large part of his professional life has been dedicated to designing and delivering training programmes. 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.

Peter has had the benefit of being both an Assessor and successful applicant of the Princess Royal Training Awards, providing an enriched understanding of the value to organisations, both large and small that the process brings.

Jill Davies | Assessor

Jill Davies | Assessor

“Jill Day-vees” | she/her

Jill is an Investors in People specialist, qualified Assessor, IQA and EQA, and assesses and delivers teaching qualifications to work-based learning providers and ILM Leadership and Management qualifications to a wide range of organisations. For Jill, being an Assessor enables her to:

“Appreciate first-hand the commitment people have at all levels to effectively develop their people to benefit both the organisation and the business. Gaining knowledge of best practice has enabled me to share that with the organisations I work with in my other roles.”

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Jill is an expert in people development and specialises in leadership and management, team building, executive coaching and business development.

Jill currently works at Cardiff Metropolitan University, supporting public and third sector organisations to develop innovative solutions to sustainability and circular economy challenges. She is also a Member of the CIPD, Institute of Consulting and a qualified SFEDI Business Adviser.

Nicola Laverton | Assessor

Nicola Laverton | Assessor

“Nick-o-la Lav-er-tun” | she/her

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

When asked what the best thing about being an Assessor for the Princess Royal Training Awards is for her, Nicola says:

“It is an honour to be involved in the most prestigious and rigorous UK-based L&D awards and to see examples of L&D that really work. And seeing the award recipients receive their award from HRH is really special.”

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Nicola has implemented a range of HR strategies at an organisational level to enable business and performance improvement. This has included designing criterion-based frameworks resulting in step-change improvements in performance and operating models. She also has experience in senior level coaching to achieve insight and growth.

Nicola has strong assessment experience as a practising assessor for the National Apprenticeship Awards since 2013 and she was involved with the National Training Awards for over 10 years as a judge, assessor, mentor and workshop facilitator. She is accredited in a range of psychometric tools recognised by the British Psychological Society and managed a range of accredited programmes and qualifications.

Paul Middleton | Assessor

Paul Middleton | Assessor

“Pawl Midd-ul-tun” | he/him

Paul is a highly skilled Learning & Development professional with qualifications in assessment and quality assurance, education and management. He sees many benefits of being an Assessor including:

“Meeting so many interesting people keen to showcase how they are using L&D to develop people and hearing from learners how the opportunities they have been given to gain new skills have made an impact in their work and home life – literally changing lives in some instances.” 

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Paul has over 20 years’ experience working in management, education and training across the health & social care and hospitality industries. He has led successful apprenticeship programmes with involvement in Apprentice Advisory Boards and Trailblazer groups as well as implementing apprenticeship roles into an organisation.

Currently working in digital learning and instructional learning design, he has worked for both private sector and charity organisations, leading organisational development and utilising technology and creativity to enable people to reach their full potential.

Zahra Naqvi | Assessor

Zahra Naqvi | Assessor

“Zar-ra Nack-vee” | she/her

Zahra is a Learning & Development leader with 20 years’ experience in professional services, the corporate sector, finance industry and charities. She is experienced in leading, matrix, global and national organisations at strategic and implementation levels. She describes her motivation for becoming an Assessor:

“Having won the Princess Royal Training Award for OnSide, I was keen to share my experience to support others through the process and I am delighted to be an Assessor. I’m looking forward to seeing how applicants develop their greatest asset – their people”.

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Zahra leads the learning & development function at OnSide – a pioneering national youth charity – building its reach from 20 staff to over 1000 and growing the department by 60%. Zahra chaired OnSide’s Equality, Diversity & Inclusion group, driving career development for Black, Asian, mixed race and ethnically diverse staff.

Zahra qualified as a lawyer at Linklaters before developing ground-breaking programmes and she and her team were awarded the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Award for Education. Zahra also worked as Global Coaching Lead at BP, developing 1000 leaders in 80 countries.

Carolyn Hooker | Assessor

Carolyn Hooker | Assessor

“Carol-in Huck-er” | she/her

Carolyn brings significant experience of learning and development, management and assessment from a range of sectors to her Assessor role.

Carolyn is returning to her Assessor role for the Princess Royal Training Awards after being involved in its first year and says:

“The support and encouragement given to entrants by this Award is truly incredible and I am looking forward to being challenged by the huge variety of training programmes being delivered in very different circumstances, but most of all just enjoying the passion that drives people to apply!”

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Carolyn is currently the Non-Executive Director for a Digital Social Enterprise, and a business mentor with an interest in innovation and youth entrepreneurship.

Her experience in learning and development derives from management roles with the Open University and a commercial e-learning company, as well as from leading on complex reviews for Investors in People, running her own L&D consultancy, advising small and medium-sized businesses with Innovate UK and teaching on MBA programmes specialising in leadership skills. Carolyn was also a Fellow of CIPD for over twenty years.

She has been extensively involved in assessment for several different training awards, having held Assessor roles within a university, an e-learning company and at the CIPD for their qualification programmes. 

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.


Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Commendation

We offer an additional commendation for employers who receive an Award and have demonstrated a significant commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. This commendation is assessed through the submitted application and supporting evidence.

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