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Winners of CIPD Awards in Wales 2024 celebrated at glittering ceremony

The CIPD Awards in Wales winners with host Jason Mohammad and head of The CIPD in Wales Lesley Richards

The CIPD in Wales, the professional body for HR and people development, has recognised the top HR and people development talent in Wales at its 2024 Awards ceremony.

The CIPD Awards in Wales held its seventh annual award ceremony at Cardiff City Stadium and with more entries than ever before, this year’s awards honour over 80 finalists across nine categories.

The awards saw 14 exceptional organisations and nine outstanding individuals beat strong competition to take home the industry’s most coveted accolades, recognising the resilience and flexibility across Welsh HR teams during a trying period that has seen budgets tightened and an ongoing skills shortage which has impacted recruitment in every sector.

Showing recognition to some of Wales’ top businesses and organisations, both large and small, this year’s winners include: Wales and West Utilities, Pobl Group, Transport for Wales, Coleg y Cymoedd, Ogi, BBC Cymru Wales, and Resolution at Work.

Lesley Richards, head of the CIPD in Wales, said: “The CIPD Awards in Wales are always a great opportunity for the excellent, innovative and sometimes life changing work that goes on across the country to be officially recognised and celebrated. We’re always impressed by the number and the quality of entries, along with the commitment to people development that has been showcased, however we were especially impressed this year as we received a record-breaking number of entries!

“HR and people development directly influences the successful operation of every business and are integral to championing employee progress and retaining talent – which has been particularly challenging in recent years as our sector like many others have dealt with shrinking budgets and difficulties with recruitment. All of our winners, those highly commended and finalists have proven that are excellent examples of the difference that HR and people practices can make.”

This year, nine individuals were recognised at the awards including Cathryn Sims and Phil Hawkins from Creditsafe winning in the Excellence in HR Leadership and the Rising Star of the People Profession categories. Jessica Davies from the DVLA was also regarded as highly commended in the Rising Star of the People Profession category. Lisa Hand from Ogi was also recognized as highly commended in the Excellence in HR Leadership category.

Amy Foat-Smith from independent consultancy, SME Business Partners, was named Best Consultant with the judges commending her on the impact she’s made within the organisations she works with.

Taking home the accolade for Best Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, Transport for Wales was recognised by judges for collaborating with an advocacy group to help inform its approach to embracing diversity for the benefit of all employees and to improve company culture overall.

Awen Cultural Trust, an organisation that aims to enhance cultural opportunities in Bridgend and Pobl Group were recognised in the Best Wellbeing Initiative category. Cardiff-based broadband provider, Ogi and Coleg Y Cymoedd took home the accolades for Best In House Team, while BBC Wales Cymru was awarded Best Learning and Development Initiative for a program that is now being rolled out across other BBC regions.

Winner of the Best In House Team award, Jonathan Morgan, from Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “This award is a true testament to the team’s hard work and dedication. Coleg y Cymoedd aims to promote a culture where employees can progress and grow into their roles and responsibilities. We hope that we can continue to support our team and continue to create an environment where everyone is recognized and valued.”

Four individuals were also recognised as recipients of three special awards with Caroline Belasco from Coastal Housing and Peter Kennedy, former director of HR at Welsh Government, receiving awards for their ‘Outstanding contribution to the work of the CIPD in Wales’. Paul Harris, managing partner for Skylite Associates was celebrated for ‘Outstanding contribution in the field of people development in Wales’ for his integral role in the Welsh HR community.

Lampeter-based independent HR consultant, Julie Grabham was also honoured with a special award in the Best Wellbeing Initiative category for her JGHR pledge initiative which encourages UK business to sign up to offer paid time off for female employees for routine breast screenings.

This year’s winners were selected by a judging panel of top HR and business professionals, including: Gayle Budden, head of HR for Castell Howell Foods; the chief HR officer for Siderise Group, Mark Hendy; Mark Stevenson, chief people officer for South Wales Police; Amanda Arrowsmith, people and transformation director at CIPD, and sponsors include: Welsh Government, Skylite, Monmouthshire Building, ALS Training, SSCL, Cardiff Business School, Hugh James, Moxie People, Human Resourcing, Paul Harris and Hoop Human Resources.

The winners of The CIPD Awards in Wales 2024 are:

                                       Category                    Winner
Best Change Management Initiative Winner: Health Education and Improvement Wales with Aneurin Bevan UHB

Highly Commended: Coastal Housing

Best Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative Winner (public sector): Transport for Wales

Winner (private sector): Wales and West Utilities

Highly commended: Office for National Statistics

Best HR Consultant / Consultancy Winner (consultant): Amy Foat-Smith

Winner (consultancy): Insight HRC with CSA Catapult

Best In House Team Winner (small employer): Ogi

Winner (large employer): Coleg y Cymoedd


Best L&D / OD Initiative

Winner (fewer than 300 employees): Resolution at Work

Winner (over 300 employees): BBC Wales Cymru

Highly commended: Coleg Gwent

Best Resourcing and Talent Management Initiative Winner: Shared Services Connected Ltd with the Home Office
Best Wellbeing Initiative Winner (large): Pobl Group

Winner (small): Awen Cultural Trust

Special Award awarded to: Julie Grabham for the JGHR Pledge

Excellence in HR Leadership Winner: Cathryn Sims, Creditsafe

Highly commended: Lisa Hand, Ogi

Rising Star of the People Profession Winner: Phil Hawkins, Credit Safe

Highly commended: Jessica Davies, DVLA

Outstanding contribution to the work of the CIPD in Wales Caroline Belasco

Peter Kennedy

Outstanding contribution in the field of people development in Wales Paul Harris