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Winners of the Wales HR Awards 2021 revealed

Top Welsh employers and HR professionals were recognised at the fourth annual Wales HR Awards on Thursday November 11th.

Launched in 2017 by UK recruiter Acorn and law firm Darwin Gray in partnership with the Wales HR Network, guests were limited to finalists and sponsors of the delayed 2020 event at an evening hosted by TV presenter Sian Lloyd at Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens.

Leading the charge of outstanding individuals and businesses recognised for their contribution to HR was Cardiff digital agency Kagool, whose HR Director Vicki Richards took home the Best HR Professional and Best HR Director Award.

Vicki’s leadership in achieving an Investors in People Gold Award and supporting employee wellbeing overall within the organisation also made her the judges’ choice to be crowned HR Star on the night too.

Principality, Shared Services Connect Ltd and Bridgend-based manufacturer Talis UK Ltd were also among the event’s success stories, with winners announced in 11 categories and the winner of winners HR Star award.

HR Team of the Year for Public Sector went to Gower College Swansea, with Principality claiming the same title for the Private Sector. Talis UK Ltd claimed the award for Inspiring Great Leadership, and Wales Co-Operative Centre was also recognised for having the Best Use of Welsh Language in HR.

Effective HRM was named Agency of the Year, while critical business support provider, Shared Services Connect Ltd, was credited with having the Best HR Initiative. The company’s Head of Specialist Resourcing, Emma Turner, was also named the Best HR Professional for the Public/Third Sector.

Individual success were also claimed by Eluned Evans, HR Support at RPC-BPI, who was named the Best HR Professional for the Manufacturing/Engineering sector. Lauren Brooks of construction company Wilmott Dixon took home the title for HR Apprentice/Trainee of the Year.

Catherine Evans, Regional Sales Director at Acorn said: “It goes without saying that HR has been an especially challenging profession to be a part of this last 20 months, as employers have had to adapt to the demands of the pandemic, whilst also keeping their employees’ safety and wellbeing at heart.

“We could not be more delighted to have finally been able to recognise the hard work those businesses and individuals which have really gone that extra mile at such a crucial time for us all.”

“As ever, the standard of entries has been superb and all of our shortlisted individuals and teams have shown the highest commitment to maximising employee potential within that time. For all of these reasons, it’s been a real pleasure to once again host the awards alongside Darwin Gray as partners of the Wales HR Network,” Catherine added.

Darwin Gray’s Managing Partner, Fflur Jones added: “After such torrid times over the past 20 months, we have been delighted to finally hold the 2020 awards, albeit on a more modest scale. The finalists and winners were all exceptional HR professionals before the pandemic struck, and there is no doubt that they will have been challenged and stretched immensely since then. It was therefore an extremely joyful experience to be able to recognise and reward their hard work, talent and dedication at the Awards. Congratulations to all of them.”

2020/21 Wales HR Awards winners

Best HR Professional – Digital/IT (Sponsored by Acorn Technology)

Vicki Richards, Kagool

Best HR Professional – Manufacturing/Engineering (Sponsored by Vorsor)

Eluned Evans, RPC-BPI


Best HR Professional – Public/Third Sector (Sponsored by Quantum Advisory)

Emma Turner, Shared Services Connected Ltd


HR Apprentice/Assistance/Trainee of the Year (Sponsored by Cleartech Live)

Lauren Brooks, Willmott Dixon Construction


HR Director of the Year

Vicki Richards, Kagool


HR Consultancy of the Year

Effective HRM


Best HR Initiative (Sponsored by Chwarae Teg)

Shared Services Connected Ltd


HR Team of the Year (Public Sector) (Sponsored by Choose to Grow)

Gower College Swansea


HR Team of the Year (Private Sector)



Inspiring Great Leadership (Sponsored by Be Business Fit)

Talis UK Ltd


Best Use of the Welsh Language in HR (Sponsored by Cyfreithwyr)

Wales Co-Operative Centre


HR Star (Sponsored by Acorn and Darwin Gray)

Vicki Richards, Kagool