City & Guilds Group has today announced that 46 businesses will be recognised by the 2021 Princess Royal Training Awards, with six of these based in Wales.

Currently in its sixth year, The Princess Royal Training Awards recognise organisations across the United Kingdom which have demonstrated exceptional commitment to training and development. Despite facing unprecedented challenges due to Covid-19, the organisations receiving the standard of excellence have created and delivered highly engaging training programmes which have resulted in significant measurable impact.  

Organisations receiving the award in 2021 differ in size and include a diverse range of sectors, with the following Welsh organisations among those to receive this year’s award: Bridgend College, CGI, Countrywide Conveyancing Services, DVLA, MPCT and The Educ8 Training Group. 

With organisations facing some of the toughest times in history due to the pandemic, many have had to use training to address and adapt to changing business needs. Following research carried out during the pandemic, Cardiff-based education training provider MPCT found that 98% of managers didn’t feel comfortable having wellbeing conversations with staff. The organisation therefore developed and delivered an inhouse programme focusing on mental health and wellbeing. This training has acted as a catalyst for significant culture change with 70% of trainees going on to undertake suicide prevention training.

Meanwhile, in response to the effects of the pandemic, the DVLA wanted to create a more coherent, cost-effective, and joined up approach across its Operation and Customer Services Directorate. Designing a learning pathways map worked as the scaffolding for their initiative and, following the first lockdown, the DVLA was able to redeploy staff who had been trained during the pandemic to focus on work that had built up, helping them to significantly reduce backlogs.

Several of this year’s Princess Royal Training Awards recipients have innovatively used training as a way of addressing skills gaps in their sector. Countrywide Conveyancing Services, a large provider of residential conveyancing realised that its growth plans could be affected by a shortage of trained lawyers. The business saw an opportunity to recruit existing staff into paralegal positions and fast track candidates into fee-earning roles. This programme, which mixes legal theory and experiential learning, has led to paralegals exchanging on a total of 752 files in 2020.

Kirstie Donnelly MBE, Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group said: “The last 18 months have caused disruption to the way most organisations operate which has led to major changes for all of us in how we live and work. Despite these challenges, it’s fantastic to see so many organisations’ continued commitment to training and development as well as the positive and life changing impact learning can have on people. The applications have been truly inspiring, and we are really looking forward to bringing these organisations together and celebrating at our annual ceremony later this year.”  

Previous recipients of a Princess Royal Training Award have reported clear positive impacts on their business, with 82% saying it has improved recruitment and retention and 62% reporting increased investments into training programmes. All of which will be paramount to helping businesses to recover post-covid, close sector skills gaps and promote a culture of skills development.   

For the full list of recipients and their training programmes, please see the 2021 recipients’ page.