Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards break fresh ground as new categories are introduced

Business partners and hosts at the launch of the 2017 Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards. From left - Cathal Geoghegan (Mount Charles), Ryan Feeney (Queen’s University), Damian McGivern (Ulster University), Gerri Wright (Phoenix Natural Gas) Noel Doran (Irish News editor), Karen Patterson (BBC Radio Ulster), Gary McDonald (Irish News business editor), Orlagh O’Neill (Carson McDowell), Laura Cowan (Titanic Belfast), Sam Davidson (Henderson Group), Cllr Paul Greenfield (Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon Council deputy mayor). Photo: Mal McCann
Gary McDonald Business Editor

YEAR eleven of the Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards will break fresh new ground with the introduction of TWO new categories.

And other elements of the initiative have been revised and revitalised as the political and economic landscape enters a fascinating period of change.

The Awards were launched at Titanic Belfast at a reception attended by a range of business organisations as well as representatives of our main business partners.

This year's business partners are Mount Charles, Henderson Group, Ulster University, Queen's University, Phoenix Natural Gas, Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council, Carson McDowell and Titanic Belfast.

Irish News editor Noel Doran praised the pivotal role they play in the initiative, adding: "Some have been associated with the awards for many years, while this year in particular we have a number of partners who are joining us for the first time."

He said that "in a political era which reminds us of the late Margaret Thatcher's famous 'Out, Out, Out' speech - where President Trump is trying to keep immigrants out of the United States, Prime Minister May trying to steer the UK out of the European Union and our own politicians look like they're keeping themselves out of a job - the Workplace & Employment Awards are going in the opposite direction by expanding, including introducing two new categories." They are:

:: EMPLOYER FOR THE FUTURE - it will focus on, and reflect, how businesses and organisations are 'future-proofing' themselves to cope with the astonishing pace of change in the world right now.

:: TEAM OF THE YEAR - this category focusses on the vital importance of working together creatively, which is fundamental for businesses/organisations to succeed and thrive.

Guest speaker at the launch was Claire Colvin, talent & organisational development director with CDE Global in Cookstown, a significant player in the wet processing industry, making equipment which helps quarrying, recycling and mining businesses extract material out of the ground.

The company won the Managing Talent category of our awards three years in a row and in 2016 clinched both Entrepreneurial Spirit and Innovative Employer gongs.

Customers of CDE - which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary - include producers of the specialist sand used in the bunkers at the 2014 US Open, and also one of the world's largest wine bottle makers, based in Australia.

Claire said: "CDE has fantastic growth plans, with our 2020 vision including doubling revenue and recruiting at least 100 people.

"We operate in a highly competitive environment, and if we can't deliver talent into our business, it can't grow. So winning these Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards has been fantastic for us.

"We attach tremendous importance to these awards, and the publicity which goes with it has been noticed by our customers in 15 countries. We're extremely proud and thrilled at that - and we'll be back again this year, trying to add to our impressive collection and having a go at those two new categories."

Irish News business editor Gary McDonald, who also spoke at the launch, said: "Technology may have infiltrated every aspect of our business and is front-and-centre in today's corporate world, the human element remains by far our most important and valuable business resource.

"Every part of our business boils down to people. We need to value and reskill our people and think strategically about how to deploy all that talent. It's exactly what these unique awards have been all about since 2007, where entries have increased year on year.

"And in the current climate the Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards - with the straplines of STRIVE, GROW, SUCCEED - have never been more relevant. There really is a compelling argument to enter."

Members of a number of business organisations attended the launch, including the CIPR, Young Enterprise, Food NI, NIIRTA, the NI Chamber, CBI, Hospitality Ulster and the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

The launch was hosted by BBC presenter Karen Patterson, who will again be compere at the awards in Titanic Belfast on Thursday June 8.

:: Entries for the Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards close on May 4. For your 2017 entry pack and awards information visit or follow the build-up on Twitter at @IrishNewsWEA.


Today's horoscope


See a different horoscope: