Belfast Telegraph

Ulster's high achievers capitalise on expertise

By Nigel Tilson

Twenty-six organisations and individuals from across Northern Ireland received recognition for excellence in training at this year's National Training Awards.

The awards, hosted by the BBC's Kate Silverton, were presented before 300 business leaders and representatives from the public sector at the Culloden Hotel, Cultra.

The Minister for Employment and Learning, Sir Reg Empey, congratulated the winners.

He said: "Harnessing people to capitalise on better business performance, improve customer service and develop personal skills is a recipe for success and a real boost for the Northern Ireland economy.

"The winners can be justifiably proud of their achievement and I applaud their commitment to training."

The National Training Awards, organised in the province by the Department for Employment and Learning, recognise and reward excellence in training.

Open to organisations of all sizes and from any industry sector - public or private, training organisations and individuals - the awards programme allows the best of Northern Ireland's businesses and people to showcase their achievements and benchmark their successes against firms and bodies of all types.

During this year's Ulster NTA ceremony, 18 individuals, businesses and organisations collected regional awards.

And eight of them also received National Award recognition; they will receive their accolades with other UK winners at a national ceremony in the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London in December.

Sir Reg added: "By investing in workplace training, individuals, organisations and businesses can create a knowledgeable, skilled and adaptable workforce able to compete in an increasingly global economy."

Regional winners for 2007 (n denotes National Award winner) were:

? Employers - Ballyclare High School (n); FG Wilson, Larne; HEAT, Belfast; Invista Textiles UK, Londonderry (n); Schrader Electronics, Antrim; Southern Group Environmental Health Committee (n); St Columb's College, Derry (n).

? Individuals - Claire Bowes (n); Joy Allen.

? Partnerships - Gem and Key Consulting; Henderson Retail and Training Concepts; Workers' Educational Association and Strabane District Council.

? Training providers - Army Educational Services Northern Ireland; Barnardo's (n); BIFHE (now Belfast Metropolitan College); Community Direct; Intercomm (n); The NOW Project (n).

Belfast Telegraph