Following adjudication by the Princess Royal Training Awards Commission, HRH The Princess Royal approved their recommendation that 40 employers had achieved the standard required and should be awarded the Princess Royal Training Award 2017.

Chris Jones, Group Chief Executive, said: ‘From household brands to leading charities, employers of all sizes across the UK are seeing real and tangible benefits of training and developing their people   The Princess Royal Training Awards provide both recognition and the opportunity to share best practice and its impact. I congratulate the 40 successful organisations who presented their evidence and achieved the standard required by the Award in 2017.  They are worthy recipients of this prestigious and rigorous royal award and we are delighted to be able to deliver it through the City & Guilds Group’.

The awards recipients are listed below, click for a snapshot of their story.

Antwerp Dental Group – Upskilling dental nurses

Dental – 50-249 employees – Cambridge

This dental organisation has pushed sector boundaries by creating a dental academy to train employees from its seven local practices. Its impactful dental nurse training programme has empowered dental nurses to undertake tasks previously provided by a dentist. This has increased confidence and empowerment and has resulted in a 30% reduction in staff turnover.

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Arthur Padgett Ltd – Revising qualification standards

Plumbing – 0-49 employees – Nelson

This small family plumbing business describes apprentices as the ‘life-blood’ of the business. The current Director is a former apprentice and is actively involved in revising qualification standards for the sector. The business is fully committed to supporting apprentices and it has enabled them to grow and diversify during challenging times.

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BAE Systems plc – Targeting youth unemployment

Aerospace and defence – 1000+ employees – Farnborough

This large defence organisation had a strategic aim to become more inclusive. It partnered with other UK organisations to tackle youth unemployment through the Movement to Work Initiative which targets people with disabilities, mental health issues and those who are homeless. Since 2014 BAE has recruited 83 programme completers.

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Barclays – Reducing the digital divide

Financial – 1000+ employees – Global

In recognition of a digitally changing environment this bank created Barclays Digital Eagles to assist customers in branches with online banking challenges. Barclays wanted its staff to become the most digitally savvy and inclusive workforce and offered training via an innovative online learning platform Barclays Digital Wings – all of which is helping to reduce the UK’s digital divide.

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Bluestone Resorts Ltd – Valuing its employees

Leisure – 250-999 employees – Narberth

Following a company buyout, this organisation realised that it needed to invest in its people and overcome its negative local reputation as an employer. By placing value on its employees there are now high levels of staff engagement in learning, evidence of ongoing promotion and progression and increased sustainable profitability for the business.

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Brother UK Ltd – Keeping staff skills current

Technology – 50-249 employees – Manchester

This technology company has created an incentive-based approach to staff training. The matrix-model used tailors training to the individual and helps to keep staff up-to-date in cutting edge technology skills. It has also helped to reduce absenteeism and build succession planning in the business.

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Busy Bees Training – Better training, better care

Childcare – 1000+ employees – Shenstone

This childcare provider invests heavily in training as it believes that better trained staff deliver better quality care to children. In an industry where training is often considered a financially unattractive option, Busy Bees offers employees various career progression pathways. It is rewarded through its loyal staff and low rates of attrition.

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Christies Care – Raising industry standards

Home caring – 250-999 employees – Saxmundham

This care organisation overhauled its industry standard 4-day induction training replacing it with an 11-day programme focused on a person-centred approach. Christies Care now offers specialist training, caring for those with Dementia and Learning Disabilities and also offers free first aid training in the community.

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Clarkson Evans – Growing its own talent

Electrical contractor – 250-999 employees – Gloucester

This electrical contracting company saw the need to establish in-house training programmes and create dedicated facilities, in response to a national skills shortage. The company’s commitment to investing in Apprenticeships is clear and this loyalty is repaid with 83% apprentices still working for the business, many of whom are now in senior roles.

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Coventry Building Society – Managing suppliers effectively

Financial – 1000+ employees – Coventry

This building society has implemented best practice learning and development approaches to ensure that supplier relationships are managed efficiently and effectively. The training has resulted in staff negotiating better service at reduced prices from third parties whilst maintaining good working relationships.

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DAF Trucks Ltd – Recognised market leader

Retail – 1000+ employees – Oxfordshire

The DAF Apprentice Programme is recognised as a market leader in the sector. With an increase in the complexity of modern trucks, DAF needs to ensure that its training is high quality in order to attract and recruit the best applicants. Since 1995 1,600 apprentices have been trained and developed, providing a sustainable, technical workforce covering business requirements for succession planning.

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East Coast FM – Training for all

Broadcasting – 0-49 employees – East Lothian

This not-for-profit organisation will support any volunteer, regardless of their circumstances, to develop and produce radio programmes. The training is based on trust and the wholly inclusive nature of the organisation and wider impact on the community is very powerful. Many volunteers have gone on to take up careers at the BBC and other media outlets.

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Energus – nucleargraduates: addressing a skills shortage

Nuclear energy – 50-249 employees – Workington

This organisation has addressed a skills shortage in the Nuclear industry and works directly with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and employers to manage the nucleargraduates programme.

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Epos Now – Changing company culture

Technology – 250-999 employees – Norwich

This fast-growing technology company tested three new approaches to training in response to declining levels of customer satisfaction. It changed its culture from selling a product to selling a customer experience and in doing so reduced staff turnover, increased sales and exceeded customer satisfaction targets.

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Evolution Recruitment Solutions Ltd – Using coaching to boost performance

Recruitment – 50-249 employees – Warrington

This is an example of a recruitment company, which created a training department in line with the business’s growth. The sophisticated programme blends corporate core needs with individual’s needs and is driven by a coaching approach at all levels. Staff motivation, morale and performance have all increased exponentially.

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George Clothing (Asda) – Improving quality control

Retail – 1000+ employees – Lutterworth


This large retailer recognised a need for quality control training in response to the increased rejection rate of products at UK depots. It trained staff across distribution centres and supply chains focusing on product control, colour correctness and safety legislation. This has resulted in a reduction of rejected products and a huge cost saving.

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Gravitas Recruitment Group – Accelerating employee success

Recruitment – 50-249 employees – London

This recruitment agency realised it needed to support and accelerate success following an increased number of employees leaving the company after one year. It set up a programme to train employees in leadership skills, has improved timescales for employees to achieve promotion and has also reduced staff turnover.

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HMRC – Operational Delivery – Surge and Rapid Response – Creating sustainable learning

Civil Service – 250-999 employees – Peterlee

This organisation developed an Apprenticeship programme to equip apprentices with core competencies enabling them to adapt to a wide range of deployments across the Civil Service. HMRC has created a successful and sustainable learning culture with 43 of the initial cohort of 200 having already been promoted since 2014.

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Lifetime Training – Embedding training for trainers

Training – 250-999 employees – Bristol

This training organisation decided to overhaul its programme for trainers and assessors following high staff turnover of 37% in 2014. The programme, supported by a continuous improvement culture, has led to higher achievement rates, increased contracts with customers and improved quality of service delivery.

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Macmillan Caring Locally – Upskilling its volunteers

Palliative care – 0-49 employees – Christchurch

This local charity responded to a need to increase referrals and services at a palliative care unit. It trained its volunteers to support the staff providing end-of-life care to patients. The unit has had a 40% increase of referrals since 2014 with no increase in the number of paid staff delivering the service.

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Mander Duffill – Investing in school leavers

Accountancy – 50-249 employees – Chippenham

This small accounting practice decided to invest in school leavers offering Apprenticeships in order to combat its ageing workforce, lack of client facing staff and a competitive marketplace. Client numbers and turnover have increased with members of staff rising from 36 to 62 to meet the growing demand.

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McFarlane Telfer Ltd – Investing in staff training

Equipment maintenance – 50-249 employees – Maidenhead

This commercial catering and refrigeration servicing company is using learning and development to ensure that it continues to grow at a rate of 30% per year. It has significantly invested in its infrastructure to support staff training and is a memorable exemplar for other SMEs in mature industries.

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Medical Defence Union – Motivating a remote workforce

Medical legal advice – 250-999 employees – London

This not-for-profit medical advice organisation has used internal expertise, communication and support mechanisms to train, motivate and retain a remote workforce. This has led to impressive retention of its homeworkers.

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Mercedes-Benz Cars UK – Creating better-equipped leaders

Retail – 250-999 employees – Milton Keynes

An example of a large retail organisation which created a leadership development programme to raise the capability and performance of managers resulting in improved management of staff. The programme was designed working closely with stakeholders and the tailored approach has led to increased sales and profitability.

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MWR InfoSecurity – Using innovation to become world class

Cyber security – 50-249 employees – Basingstoke

This innovative cyber security company is using cutting edge research and ongoing professional development as a market differentiator in a fast moving global landscape. The creation of a cyber training event is a superb example of collaboration, skill development and leadership both for the company and the wider industry.

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North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust – Developing female talent

Emergency service – 1000+ employees – Bolton

This NHS Trust recognised that it needed to improve female representation at leadership levels and it did so by overhauling development opportunities for women. The Women into Leadership programme was launched as a deliberate, systematic and funded approach to maximising the Trust’s use of the talent of its female staff.

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Oakman Inns & Restaurants – Delivering accessible training

Hospitality – 250-999 employees – Tring

This hospitality company, comprising of 18 contemporary inns, recognised that 100% levels of staff turnover was blocking the business from becoming a sector leader. It devised an online training academy ensuring that the training was inclusive and accessible and reduced staff turnover down to 57%.

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RBS – Increasing staff motivation

Financial – 1000+ employees – Edinburgh

This large banking organisation is using learning and development to increase staff motivation and encourage ownership of work in the face of drastic and ongoing company downsizing. Over 15,000 employees have completed the leadership training to date and this has encouraged an atmosphere of determination and camaraderie.

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Red Carnation Hotel Collection – Establishing talent pipeline

Hospitality – 250-999 employees – London

This hotel collection established a Graduate Recruitment Programme to address the challenge of recruiting junior managers. The development programme has produced a talent pipeline to fill management roles, reduced external recruitment costs to zero and has reduced staff turnover from 80% in 2008 to 28% in 2016.

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Resurgo Trust – Empowering trainees through coaching

Youth unemployment charity – 50-249 employees – London

This charity, which supports disadvantaged young people, provides coaching to staff across the whole organisation, regardless of role. Coaching also forms a key part of the charity’s training with 16-24 year olds not in education, employment or training and it is being delivered via 8 outreach centres across London.

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Scottish Enterprise – Resonant Leadership – Creating people-centric approach

Economic development – 1000+ employees – Glasgow

Scotland’s main economic development agency wanted to become ‘a great place to work’. It recognised the need to change culture and behaviours and focused on equipping staff with improved people skills. The agency has created a people-centric culture and there is a sense of respect and purpose across the whole workforce.

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Scottish Enterprise – Youth Development Programmes – Encouraging youth input

Economic development – 1000+ employees – Glasgow

In response to the government’s youth strategy Scottish Enterprise set out to double its youth workforce to 5%. The Youth Development Programme offers a wide range of learning pathways and the agency has increased engagement with schools, offering work placements. Young people have been welcomed and encouraged to bring enthusiasm and fresh ideas to teams.

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Stockport Council – Diversifying the workplace

Local authority – 1000+ employees – Stockport

This is an example of a local authority delivering a well-established and highly effective Apprenticeship programme. Designed to support more young people into education, employment and training, the programme has diversified the Council as a workplace and has removed barriers to vulnerable young people undertaking training.

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TOM Vehicle Rental – Creating apprentice talent pipeline

Retail and rental – 249-999 employees – Airdrie, North Lanarkshire

This fast-growing vehicle rental business created an Apprenticeship-based talent pipeline with a variety of career pathways and incentives in order to train and retain its staff. The organisation has developed a thriving learning culture with improved employee motivation and retention.

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The Co-operative Group – Leading the way

Funeralcare – 1000+ employees – Manchester

This retail organisation is growing its funeral care operation and wanted to ensure quality and consistency in this largely unregulated sector. It created a highly inclusive Apprenticeship programme, covering costs for individuals who weren’t eligible to receive external funding. The organisation has also been instrumental in the creation of national occupational standards for the sector.

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The Goldsmiths’ Centre – Providing value to employers

Charity – 0-49 employees  London

This not-for-profit organisation delivers goldsmithing training in response to a declining number of young people entering the trade. The centre, which provides solid bench work skills and funds the first year of a trainee’s Apprenticeship, is providing craftspeople who can add immediate value to employers from day one.

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The Haven Wolverhampton – Delivering peer-led training

Domestic violence charity – 0-49 employees – Wolverhampton

This charity has developed a low-cost, peer mentoring training programme for women dealing with domestic violence or homelessness. Volunteers who have previously experienced domestic abuse deliver the training; it has been designed to be sustainable and covers all faiths and ethnicities.

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Troup Bywaters + Anders – Addressing the skills gap

Engineering – 50-249 employees – London

This building services design company responded to an industry skills shortage by developing its own Apprenticeship programme. With ambitions to develop a level 8 qualification, this company is also focusing on female apprentices with the aim of having 30% female engineers in the business by 2020.

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Waitrose – Improving stock management through innovation

Retail – 1000+ employees – Bracknell

This leading retailer created an interactive game to improve stock management behaviours aimed at reducing waste and improving profitability. The online game, which recreates the decisions that staff face in store, is a new approach for Waitrose and has been a catalyst for improved stock management and increased sales.

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Web Applications UK – Providing robust and relevant learning

Software solutions – 0-49 employees – Oldham

This successful SME has used a ‘grow its own’ approach to meet the demands of the business and create an empowered workforce. Recruiting 10-12 industrial placement students annually, the company provides a robust and relevant learning programme and offers a small number of permanent positions at the end of the placement.

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Zenith – Providing a standard approach

Leasing and fleet management – 250-999 employees – Leeds

After a merger which resulted in a doubling of staff across three locations, this fleet management company recognised the need to provide a standard approach to induction training. The new programme has helped to build a cohesive, transparent business from three separate companies and has lowered staff turnover.

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