Barely a week goes by without reports of an escalating skills shortage in the UK.

In the face of socioeconomic uncertainty and rapid technological advances transforming the workforce, it is critical that businesses focus on upskilling their talent and supporting their people as they navigate unstoppable change.

It’s therefore worrying that research from City & Guilds Group found a third of UK workers did not receive any workplace training last year.

Whilst employers are forced to contend with an extensive range of challenges – not least in the form of stretching sales targets and rising operating costs – the urgent L&D needs of their workforce must also be prioritised.

Encouraging businesses to put skills development at the top of their agenda is part of the reason behind the Princess Royal Training Awards (PRTAs).

As employers become increasingly accountable for building and evolving an effective workforce, we wanted to create a prestigious award that would recognise the impact organisations that invest in genuinely impactful staff training are having – not only on their own businesses, but on society as a whole.

The quality of applications in 2019, our fourth awards cycle, was phenomenal, with employers of all sizes and across all sectors applying. Our hope as we enter our fifth year of the PRTAs is that others will draw inspiration from previous recipients, share best practice and ideas that will help prepare the workforce for the future, whatever it looks like.

The training shaping L&D and the businesses championing it

This year’s 48 recipients included public and private sector businesses of all sizes, spanning a wide range of industries. Whether they came from financial services, healthcare, retail, non-profit or manufacturing, training programmes across the spectrum of businesses had a number of shared trends.

One noticeable pattern was the investment in leadership training, as seen with industrial conglomerate Bouygues Energies and Scotland’s leading bank RBS. Both companies reported to have seen improved business performance from an initiative which sought to develop a strong managerial culture and took creative approaches to doing so. Bouygues, for example, turned assessment into a Dragon’s Den style simulation, inviting teams to practice presenting business proposals.

There was also a noticeable trend towards employee well-being and welfare focused training. Gateshead College and Walker Construction developed an innovative and multifaceted approach to mental health training as a response to large numbers of employees signing off with stress-related illnesses. Whilst Gateshead College invested in 15 Mental Health Champions and wider mental health training for their staff, Walker Construction offered free counselling support to all employees as well as their families.

These recipients highlight how important it is to recognise the value that comes from investing in people. Their ingenuity and dedication to the programmes they’re running has led to noticeable improvements in productivity, staff skill levels, recruitment and employee retention. They prove the value that L&D can have, particularly when preparing their businesses for the future.

The world is changing – and L&D is too

There are a multitude of business benefits for organisations who offer upskilling and reskilling opportunities. But employers need to ensure any training programmes that are offered are as engaging and impactful as possible.

As demonstrated by the recipients of this year’s awards, we can no longer rely on traditional static training structures. It is imperative that employers and employees work together to adapt their training to fit the needs of the workplace and its workers – when it comes to training, there is no ‘one size fits all’.

And we can’t afford to rest on our laurels. Businesses need to take action now in order to keep up with the rapid pace of change. The PRTAs have demonstrated the myriad of ways in which businesses can invest in their workforce to develop the capabilities that are required moving forward. When it comes to upskilling, there is no short-term solution – but businesses that prioritise building effective training programmes now are certain to see the benefit in the years to come.

Interested in applying, discovering past winners or learning about the process to securing the royal stamp of approval?

Register your interest on our site or attend a workshop, we’re hosting them all over the UK

Sally Eley, Group Director at City & Guilds Group

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Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

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FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

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In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

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FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

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The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

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