The Princess Royal

From big banks to a women’s refuge, Princess Anne gives Royal recognition to household names for their training programmes.

Major UK businesses including RBS, Barclays, Mercedes Benz UK and Waitrose, together with a women’s refuge in Wolverhampton and a hospice in Christchurch, are celebrating after being commended for their commitment to training and skills excellence by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal at a ceremony at St James’s Palace in London today.

Recipients include the Macmillan Unit at Christchurch Hospital, which provides hospice care to patients with cancer and other terminal conditions and has achieved a 700% increase in volunteer numbers since implementing a formal development programme, and the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust, which in less than two years increased gender diversity amongst senior staff by 8% following the launch of a Women into Leadership scheme.

The list of awardees from around the UK includes public and private businesses of all sizes, from areas including hospitality, healthcare, finance and manufacturing. The recipients have been praised for introducing innovative training schemes to address challenges including:

  • MWR InfoSecurity’s industry-renowned training event, HackFu, which aims to help cyber security professionals stay ahead of the technology curve and supports recruitment in a competitive industry
  • The Haven Wolverhampton which runs a successful mentoring programme delivered by volunteers who have previously experienced domestic abuse themselves
  • George at ASDA’s use of skills training to boost the standard of clothing received from factories across the world
  • Stockport Council’s use of its apprenticeship programme to diversify the workforce and remove barriers to vulnerable young people undertaking training
  • Waitrose’s creation of an interactive game designed to improve stock management behaviours, reduce waste and improve profitability


While some of the recipients are household names, many of those commended for investing in training are family-run SMEs, such as plumbing business Arthur Padgett Ltd in Lancashire. All 40 have successfully demonstrated that training has a significant impact on productivity and business success.

The Princess Royal Training Awards are delivered by the City & Guilds Group, to highlight the value of training and employee development and celebrate examples of best practice. In total 116 applications were submitted in 2017. Shortlisted applications are assessed against three Hallmarks of Excellence by the Princess Royal Training Awards Commission, which is comprised of HRH The Princess Royal and seven leading figures in the business and training community.

Commenting on this year’s recipients, Chris Jones, Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group said: 

It’s fantastic to celebrate the second annual Princess Royal Training Awards and honour these 40 businesses for what they have achieved. There are some remarkable stories of the power of training to change lives and transform businesses within our list of recipients.

‘It has never been more important for Britain’s businesses to invest in training to boost their productivity, address skills gaps and develop their leaders. The successful companies of the future and the ones best positioned to recruit the top candidates will be those that prioritise developing their people and giving them the opportunity to learn and grow. This is vital for organisations to remain competitive in the global market and to enable them to steer a smooth course through future challenges, from technological change to the rise of the four-generation workforce.’

Speaking about the Awards, Pat Stringfellow MBE HonFCGI, Chair of The Princess Royal Training Awards Commissioning Panel said:

‘This years’ organisations demonstrate the inspiring and impactful training that’s taking place across the UK today. The Commission is delighted to be able to honour their achievements through the Princess Royal Training Awards. I hope this years’ winners inspire other organisations to apply for the Awards next year and share their experiences.’ 

More information on the awards and the winners can be found here.