Glittering Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards honours best people and workplaces

Comedian Neil Delamere hosted the 2023 Irish News Workplace and Employment Awards at Titanic Belfast
Gary McDonald Business Editor

SOME of the north's best-known companies, ranging in size from 1,500 employees to a staff of just five, have been recognised at the 2023 Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards (WEA), which culminated at a gala dinner in Titanic Belfast, presided over by quick-fire comedian Neil Delamere.

Some 22 trophies were handed out at the awards bash, attended by more than 500 guests, who included new Belfast lord mayor Ryan Murphy (in his first major engagement) as well as a number of MPs and MLAs.

For two companies - building services engineering consultancy Bennett Freehill and Belfast-based software firm Datactics - is was a night of double glory, with each picking up a brace of WEAs.

Bennett Freehill, established in 2020 by chartered engineer Cormac Freehill and which provides a mechanical, electrical and niche sustainability engineering design service in the UK and Ireland, won the Best Place to Work (small) and Best Wellbeing in the Workplace Strategy (small) categories.

The judges said: "There was much to set this firm apart from its rivals – notably its pioneering design excellence, its niche sustainable engineering design hub and a clear staff retention strategy. Central to its success is its dynamic team, and it recruits and retains dynamic, talented individuals who balance office banter with business deadlines."

And Datactics, which employs 75 people in its offices at Lanyon Quay in Belfast, landed the Team of the Year and Best Diversity, Equality and Inclusion accolades.

The company earned high praise from the awards judges, who said: "Customer success and culture are integral to everything that happens here, which can be seen through its Investors in People Gold accreditation award. Diversity is extremely important in a sector historically dominated by males, and our winner has made giant strides to address this imbalance."

Following a drinks reception courtesy of Diageo, guests at the black tie dinner were welcomed by Irish News editor Noel Doran.


Irish News editor Noel Doran, comedian and awards host Neil Delamare, chief marketing officer Annette McManus and business editor Gary McDonald at the Workplace and Employment Awards at Titanic Belfast


He said: "This wonderful event, now in its 15th year, and is by a distance the largest of its kind in our region. We've again had a massive entry across the board for what is the most important night of the year in the employment sector.

"Every year we try to expand and cover new ground, and the latest innovation has a wider significance as it is the Best Sustainable Business Award, open to any organisation that sets new standards in lowering their carbon footprint. It is particularly encouraging that it has drawn such a strong response."

Winners in that new sustainability category were Henry Brothers and Ulster Carpets.

The judges said of Henry Brothers: “It has a clearly defined mission to deliver the best construction solution for every client, every time, which is underpinned by values which have been integral to the functioning of the business since its foundation – namely Integrity, Considerate and Dependable, Premium Quality, Agile and Innovative, and Sustainable.”

On Ulster Carpets the judges said: “Our winner walked all over the opposition here! This company has launched its own sustainability strategy as the next step in a long history of market-leading innovations, and it has also developed and patented its own unique weaving technology.”

This year’s partner sponsors for the Workplace & Employment Awards were Errigal Group, Options Technology, Carson McDowell and Queen’s University, and category sponsors were NI Chamber, NI Job Finder, Glandore, Galgorm, FScom and Titanic Belfast.

Full coverage of the event and will appear in a special supplement in the Irish News on June 20.


Pictured last night representing sponsors at the Irish News Workplace and Employment Awards were Niall McAleer of Options Technology, Jill Michael of FScom, Connor Diamond of NI Job Finder, Martina Corrigan of Errigal Group, Irish News business editor Gary McDonald, Tiarnan O'Neill of Galgorm, Nial Borthistle of Glandore, Orlagh O'Neill of Carson McDowell, Alistair Stewart of Queen's University Belfast, Christopher Morrow of NI Chamber and Irish News editor Noel Doran. Picture by Hugh Russell