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Wales’ contact centre industry reunites to celebrate its pandemic heroes

Medium - Large Contact Centre gold award presented to BT

The heroes of Wales contact centre industry have been reunited and celebrated at the 23rd annual Welsh Contact Centre Awards ceremony held at Cardiff Bay’s Coal Exchange and hosted by comedian Russell Kane.

With the support of headline sponsors Jomo People, the awards honoured all who overcame pandemic adversities to dedicate themselves to providing a lifeline to businesses and individuals across the UK and beyond.

Organised by the Welsh Contact Centre Forum, this year’s awards went further than simply recognising an industry that contributes £650m annually to Wales’ economy and employs over 32,000 people. Speaking at the Awards, industry chief, Sandra Busby, explained that contact centre teams have been at the heart of pandemic responses and the provision of essential services to millions of people across Wales, the UK, and the wider world.

Over 350 guests saw gold and silver winners presented in 21 categories. The awards’ search for its Covid Hero of the Year saw Matthew David of Which?  presented with the gold, with Claire Hardy of Blackhorse Finance taking silver.

In a message shared with the those attending the awards, Minister for Economy, Vaughan Gething, said: “On behalf of businesses and people across Wales, I want to thank every member of the Welsh contact centre industry for keeping services going at over the past 18 months. And the roles you are all play are as vital today as they were at the height of the Covid pandemic.

“The contact centre industry has been making a major contribution to Wales’ economy for over 20 years. The work of your 32,000 workforce is crucial to many Welsh industry sectors that rely on you to enable their own growth, and you continue to rise to those challenges. I applaud the collaborations that see companies and the Welsh Contact Centre Forum work together to ensure that the opportunities they create are available to everyone. Those collaborations includes the pioneering Welsh Graduate Programme, which I have recently referred to in the Senedd.

“As we look to the future, I am excited to see how the teams represented here today will lead other industries to embrace challenges and moves to new hybrid ways of working, while always ensuring the wellbeing of those around you.”

Best Covid Stratergy Award (Special Achievement) presented to The Royal Mint

The gold award for Best Covid Strategy went to Swansea-based Arvato, with Lloyds Banking Group in Newport receiving the silver, and The Royal Mint in Llantrisant presented with the special achievement award; Cardiff-based NFU Mutual Direct received the gold for Best Homeworking programme with silver presented to the DVLA Multi Channel Team in Swansea; Legal & General Retirements in Cardiff took the award for Business Transformation Strategy and United Welsh in Caerphilly were recognised as the Best Public Sector Helpline.

The awards saw HSBC (Swansea) take the gold for Best Inclusion Strategy; HSBC also took gold in the People Engagement, Mental Health & Wellbeing with the silver going to Lexis Nexis Risk (Cardiff); Capital on Tap (Cardiff) secured the People Development award; The Safeguarding Company (Talbot Green) secured the award for Customer Engagement; the Support Team of the Year award was shared by BT Duty Operations and Admiral (Cardiff).

BT in Cardiff was named Medium/Large Contact Centre of the Year with silver going to Which? (Cardiff); PTI Cymru in Penrhyndeudraeth took gold for Small Contact Centre of the Year with silver presented to the Office for National Statistics; Firstsource Solutions in Cardiff was named Outsourced Contact Centre of the Year and SSCL in Newport was declared Shared Service Centre of the Year.

The gold award for Contact Centre Leader/Senior Manager of the Year award went to Corrie Hall of Blackhorse Finance (Cardiff); Rebecca Finch (Swansea) of HSBC won gold in Contact Centre Manager of the Year; Amy Jefferies of DVLA (Swansea) and Ros Prosser-Evans of CGI (Bridgend) were both presented with the gold award for Support Manager of the Year; and Alia Radman of SKY(Cardiff) won gold in Team Leader of the Year with Faye Bevans of SSE (Cardiff) the recipient of the silver award.

Judges chose Crina Pentiuc of Deloitte (Cardiff) and John Hall of PHS Group (Caerphilly) as joint gold winners in the Support Person of the Year category.  Lloyds Banking Group’s Georgette Loring was crowned the Advisor of the Year.  The silver award for Trainer of the Year went was shared by Keiron Long of CGI and Grant Wines-Robinson from The Consumer Helpline (Swansea), with the gold going to Jack Pengelly-Ivins of Firstsource Solutions.  Gold in the Apprentice of the Year category was secured by Alun Hope of Arvatowith silver presented to Gemma Rudden of Legal & General Retirements.  Newcomer of the Year was Emily Osborne of Molson Coors (Cardiff).

Sandra Busby, managing director of the Welsh Contact Centre Forum, said: “2021 has been another challenging year as Covid-19 continues to impact our businesses, our customers, our teams and our families.  That is why these awards are more important than ever to recognise the work that’s taken place over the past year.

“Our members have been at the heart of the response to the pandemic, providing essential services that make life a little easier for millions across Wales, the UK and the wider world. It’s vital that we appreciate all that has been done to make this possible. Our industry has mobilised 32,000 employees to work remotely, while maintaining security, delivering training, and creating new opportunities as we recruit new talents joining us. Throughout this monumental effort, we’ve ensured that protecting the wellbeing of our teams and colleagues is central to all we do. And that’s a commitment that will continue.”

Winners of the Welsh Contact Centre Awards 2021

Covid Hero of the Year
Silver: Claire Hardy, Blackhorse Finance
Winner: Matthew David, Which?

Apprentice of the Year

Silver: Gemma Rudden, Legal & General Retirements
Winner – Alun Hope, Arvato

Support Person of the Year
Joint Winners: Crina Pentiuc, Deloitte & John Hall, PHS Group

Advisor of the Year
Winner – Georgette Loring, Lloyds Banking Group

Team Leader of the Year
Silver: Faye Bevans SSE
Winner: Alia Radman, SKY

Trainer of the Year
Joint Silver: Keiron Long, CGI & Grant Wines-Robinson, The Consumer Helpline
Winner: Jack Pengelly-Ivins – Firstsource Solutions

Newcomer of the Year
Winner – Emily Osborne, Molson Coors

Support Manager of the Year
Joint Winners: Amy Jefferies, DVLA & Ros Prosser-Evans, CGI

Contact Centre Manager of the Year
Winner: Rebecca Finch, HSBC

Contact Centre Leader/Senior Manager
Winner: Corrie Hall, Blackhorse Finance

Best Covid Strategy
Special Achievement Award: The Royal Mint
Silver: Lloyds Banking Group
Winner: Arvato

Best Public Sector Helpline – United Welsh

Business Transformation Strategy
Winner – Legal & General Retirements 

Best Inclusion Strategy
Winner: HSBC

Best Homeworking programme
Winner: NFU Mutual Direct
Silver: DVLA Multi Channel Team

Customer Engagement
Winner: The Safeguarding Company

Support Team of the Year
Joint Winner – BT Duty Operations & Admiral

People Development
Winner: Capital on Tap

People Engagement, Mental Health & Wellbeing
Silver: Lexis Nexis Risk
Winner: HSBC

Outsourced Contact Centre
Winner: Firstsource Solutions

Shared Service
Winner: SSCL

Contact Centre of the Year (Small)
Silver: ONS
Winner: PTI Cymru

Contact Centre of the Year (Medium/Large)
Silver: Which?
Winner: BT