In the build-up to The Investors in People Awards 2021, we’ve been speaking to the finalists, asking them to tell us their stories and what winning an award would mean to them.
ACT is passionate about making a positive difference in people’s lives by providing excellent learning programmes and opportunities – and all 340 of their team come into work each day to do just that.
They provide a long list of training programmes and qualifications that help people reach their full potential.
ACT has something for everyone, from Traineeships, Apprenticeship and Higher Apprenticeships across 30 different sectors, to employability training and short commercial courses. Now for the good bit, most of their training is fully funded.
They don’t just develop and improve the lives of learners; this passion and enthusiasm also extends to staff. ACT care deeply about the experiences of their team and their happiness, engagement and wellbeing. So much so, that happiness and engagement is one of their four strategic aims.
They’ve built a strong, supportive, people-centred culture underpinned by coaching principles where everyone has access to support and development, and everyone has a say in what they do and how they do it.
We spoke to Head of People & Development, Rebecca Cooper about why they entered, what an award would mean for them and what the future holds for ACT.
Why did you enter The Investors in People Awards 2021?
We were thrilled to be awarded Platinum standard IIP accreditation in August 2020, having previously held Gold standard accreditation for several years before this.
Our report was glowing and a real testament to the hard work and commitment of our board, senior management team, wonderful managers and colleagues in making ACT an amazing place to work.
We wanted to showcase this hard work and dedication and shout about all the fantastic things we have done to support and develop our staff over the last few years.
Entering the awards and being shortlisted in the Platinum Employer of the Year category (250+) will allow us to do just that.
Are there any goals or challenges you hope an award will help you achieve or solve?
Winning this award would demonstrate our commitment and passion for ensuring our workforce are happy and engaged, which we firmly believe is the key to our success.
Our mission is to change people’s lives through learning; winning this award would help us recruit staff who share our values. It would also allow us to secure new clients (employers) and help them embrace our IIP approach.
Tell us what distinguishes you from other companies in the category you’re shortlisted in.
Our passion for people! Whether that be our learners, employers we work with or our staff, our ultimate aim is to improve people’s lives. We have worked tirelessly over the last five years to develop and embed a strong coaching culture.
All of our managers have received training on coaching techniques and benefits. We have also developed a team of professionally qualified coaches that provide formal coaching and support right across the company.
Our culture allows us to use coaching as a development tool where staff feel empowered to problem solve and have the freedom and autonomy to do the right thing for our learners.
What does being shortlisted mean to everyone at your company?
It means the world to us! Being one of the top 11 IIP Platinum companies with 250+ employees in the UK is an astonishing achievement.
I was in bed unwell when I received the email notifying us that we had been shortlisted.
This didn’t stop me leaping out of bed, unwell or not, to inform the rest of the senior management team of the news.
What would it mean to win?
Everything! It would be recognition for the many years we have spent ensuring ACT is an amazing place to work.
Winning would allow us to shout about the benefits of good people management and development practices and hopefully influence other organisations to follow in our footsteps.
It would also give us another opportunity to celebrate with our amazing staff, without whom, we wouldn’t be the successful organisation we are today!
How does being shortlisted benefit your customers?
Investing in our people translates directly into excellent levels of customer service. Ensuring that our teams are happy, engaged, motivated, and supported directly impacts our learners’ outcomes and our relationships with employers, suppliers, and communities.
Our latest Learner Voice Survey results are the best to date, with 99% of our learners feeling supported with their learning goals, while 96% would recommend ACT to others!
How would you use being the recipient of this award to influence others?
As Wales’ leading training provider, we have built strong working relationships with hundreds of employers in South Wales, spanning a wide variety of sectors.
Being officially recognised as ‘UK Employer of the Year: Platinum’ (250+) would provide us with greater kudos and an even more robust platform to share our good practice.
We can also promote the benefits of inspirational leadership, happiness, engagement and development to those companies and beyond, which will help improve the working lives of thousands of people.
What can we expect to see from your organisation in the next 12 months? (And beyond!)
ACT has recently won two major government contracts that will give us security and stability for at least the next five years and give us the privilege of improving thousands of lives in Wales through learning and training.
Over the next 12 months, you can expect ACT to take everything to the next level, with a significant focus on phenomenal customer care and the health and wellbeing of our staff.
We will work towards IIP’s We Invest in Wellbeing accreditation in 2022, aiming for Platinum.
What advice would you give to anyone applying for The Investors in People Awards 2022?
Go for it! Shout aloud and be proud about all the fantastic work you’re doing for your people and the benefits and success it has brought your organisation.
Be succinct, though, as you only have 100 words per question to get across all the amazing things you are doing and the benefits it has brought you.
Read more of our finalist’s stories on our Awards page.