The Princess Royal Training Awards – keeping a customer-centred approach in 2021. 

rebecca carpenter

Rebecca Carpenter

Managing Consultant, Boost Awards

The Princess Royal Training Awards 2021 

I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Remi Ogunleye, from City and Guilds, organisers of The Princess Royal Training Awards, to discuss the challenges they faced last year, the continued evolution of the awards and their unique USP, and what future entrants can expect in 2021 and beyond. 

After a year like no other, it was great to see City and Guilds delivered the Princess Royal Training Awards to schedule in 2020 when so many other organisations had to cancel or postpone their awards due to the pressures of the pandemic. It was similarly great to hear that the awards received over 90 applications last year, proving that even during such challenging times for so many, businesses still saw the importance of being recognised for their training, learning and development programmes.

Remi began by explaining some of the background to the awards we see today.

“When we developed the Princess Royal Training Awards in 2015, we spent time listening to what employers wanted and as a result developed a programme that assessed the impact that training, learning and development was having on organisations and their employees. We developed three Hallmarks of Excellence which still forms the framework underpinning the Awards today”.

Hallmark one focuses on the ‘why’ – why organisations use training, learning and development to address a particular challenge or opportunity. Hallmark two is all about the detail: how the programme or initiative was developed; what particular resources were used; how the training is made to be as accessible as possible; and how organisations are evaluating and developing the training based on feedback. The third, and arguably most important, Hallmark focuses on impact and how the training has positively impacted both the organisation and its people. They also made the awards completely free to enter with recipients being invited to receive their award from HRH The Princess Royal at St James’ Palace.

princess royal training awards st james palace

“Our ethos remains ‘we want to catch people in, not catch them out’ and we hope that we are celebrating your award successes with some of you in the future – whether that is at St James’ Palace or virtually.”

 

Whilst the framework and assessment of the awards has remained largely unchanged over the past five years, the application process has been built on and developed during this time after listening to feedback from applicants.

“A key element of assessing the Princess Royal Training Awards is on how organisations have used feedback and evaluation to improve and shape their initiatives and we hold ourselves accountable to the same high standards.” Because of this the application process has been refined over the years and they are continuously looking to make applying for an award as simple as possible, whilst retaining the robust framework that is synonymous with achieving a Princess Royal Training Award. “Alongside this we have continued developing our customer service support so that applicants feel supported and are able to submit the best application possible. In 2019/2020 we delivered twelve support workshops, a range of topic-based webinars, offering one-to-one support to applicants and piloted the submission of a draft application for some initial feedback from assessors.”

This last feedback component is particularly impressive and, it has to be said, unique within the awards industry. Remi explained that further support didn’t stop there.

“In addition to providing support over the phone and via email, we have also added a live-chat function on the website for instant answers to questions or for clarification if applicants are not sure if the awards are right for them.”

The move to virtual awards

Then the pandemic struck and, like many, many other businesses, City and Guilds needed to react quickly and do things differently in order to ensure that the awards continued to deliver the same quality experience and standard. On-site visits became virtual visits conducted over Zoom or Teams. Support workshops have become online workshops and they’ve worked hard to bring the same energy to the sessions that they do when delivering to a roomful of potential applicants. The greatest challenge came in December 2020 when the award ceremony for recipients was delivered online for the first time.

I asked Remi what the virtual event incorporated and how she felt it was received:

“Much thought went into creating the celebratory feel and small bottles of prosecco and chocolates were sent to recipients in advance, along with their personalised plaques and certificates. On the day we had a special video message to share with attendees from HRH The Princess Royal who wanted to congratulate recipients personally.”

princess royal training awards virtual

“In 2021 we are providing all alumni members with a new digital credential to showcase their ongoing involvement with the Princess Royal Training Awards and commitment to excellence in training and learning & development.

“We had the CEO of City & Guilds Kirstie Donnelly MBE and Chairman Sir John Armitt CBE attending the event to offer their own congratulations and used breakout rooms to provide the opportunity to network – a key part of the usual ceremonies where organisations get the chance to find out more about the achievements of others. One recipient called it ‘the most engaging virtual award ceremony I have been to yet’.”

The Princess Royal Training Awards alumni network 

Whilst the Princess Royal Training Awards have a few points of difference to other award programmes – the Royal recognition, the robust process, the fact that they are entirely free to enter from start to finish – another USP has developed organically. That is the customer service and support offered to all applicants from the point where they begin their application through to achieving the award and becoming part of the 490+ strong alumni network.

“Are there any further developments entrants can expect this year?” I asked.

 “Yes, there will be. In 2021 we are providing all alumni members with a new digital credential to showcase their ongoing involvement with the Princess Royal Training Awards and commitment to excellence in training and learning & development.”

“Whilst we were always striving to improve the award experience year-on-year, 2020 has meant that we’ve implemented new ways of delivering the award that have allowed us to continue to deliver a process and experience of which we are proud. We will take many learnings from the changes we have made over the past 12 months and won’t be going back to ‘business as usual’ when times become ‘more normal’. We want to build on the success of coupling our increased digital approach with our high levels of customer service, providing Award applicants with ongoing support to help them shape their applications to give them the best possible chance of meeting the Award standard. Our ethos remains ‘we want to catch people in, not catch them out’ and we hope that we are celebrating your award successes with some of you in the future – whether that is at St James’ Palace or virtually.”

Thank you for your time Remi, it was pleasure, and best of luck for the 2021 awards.

Becki

The Princess Royal Training Awards are open for applications until 31 March 2021. For more information visit: https://www.princessroyaltrainingawards.com/2021-landing-page/?

The Princess Royal Training Awards – keeping a customer-centred approach in 2021. 

rebecca carpenter

Rebecca Carpenter

Managing Consultant, Boost Awards

The Princess Royal Training Awards 2021 

I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Remi Ogunleye, from City and Guilds, organisers of The Princess Royal Training Awards, to discuss the challenges they faced last year, the continued evolution of the awards and their unique USP, and what future entrants can expect in 2021 and beyond. 

After a year like no other, it was great to see City and Guilds delivered the Princess Royal Training Awards to schedule in 2020 when so many other organisations had to cancel or postpone their awards due to the pressures of the pandemic. It was similarly great to hear that the awards received over 90 applications last year, proving that even during such challenging times for so many, businesses still saw the importance of being recognised for their training, learning and development programmes.

Remi began by explaining some of the background to the awards we see today.

“When we developed the Princess Royal Training Awards in 2015, we spent time listening to what employers wanted and as a result developed a programme that assessed the impact that training, learning and development was having on organisations and their employees. We developed three Hallmarks of Excellence which still forms the framework underpinning the Awards today”.

Hallmark one focuses on the ‘why’ – why organisations use training, learning and development to address a particular challenge or opportunity. Hallmark two is all about the detail: how the programme or initiative was developed; what particular resources were used; how the training is made to be as accessible as possible; and how organisations are evaluating and developing the training based on feedback. The third, and arguably most important, Hallmark focuses on impact and how the training has positively impacted both the organisation and its people. They also made the awards completely free to enter with recipients being invited to receive their award from HRH The Princess Royal at St James’ Palace.

princess royal training awards st james palace

“Our ethos remains ‘we want to catch people in, not catch them out’ and we hope that we are celebrating your award successes with some of you in the future – whether that is at St James’ Palace or virtually.”

 

Whilst the framework and assessment of the awards has remained largely unchanged over the past five years, the application process has been built on and developed during this time after listening to feedback from applicants.

“A key element of assessing the Princess Royal Training Awards is on how organisations have used feedback and evaluation to improve and shape their initiatives and we hold ourselves accountable to the same high standards.” Because of this the application process has been refined over the years and they are continuously looking to make applying for an award as simple as possible, whilst retaining the robust framework that is synonymous with achieving a Princess Royal Training Award. “Alongside this we have continued developing our customer service support so that applicants feel supported and are able to submit the best application possible. In 2019/2020 we delivered twelve support workshops, a range of topic-based webinars, offering one-to-one support to applicants and piloted the submission of a draft application for some initial feedback from assessors.”

This last feedback component is particularly impressive and, it has to be said, unique within the awards industry. Remi explained that further support didn’t stop there.

“In addition to providing support over the phone and via email, we have also added a live-chat function on the website for instant answers to questions or for clarification if applicants are not sure if the awards are right for them.”

The move to virtual awards

Then the pandemic struck and, like many, many other businesses, City and Guilds needed to react quickly and do things differently in order to ensure that the awards continued to deliver the same quality experience and standard. On-site visits became virtual visits conducted over Zoom or Teams. Support workshops have become online workshops and they’ve worked hard to bring the same energy to the sessions that they do when delivering to a roomful of potential applicants. The greatest challenge came in December 2020 when the award ceremony for recipients was delivered online for the first time.

I asked Remi what the virtual event incorporated and how she felt it was received:

“Much thought went into creating the celebratory feel and small bottles of prosecco and chocolates were sent to recipients in advance, along with their personalised plaques and certificates. On the day we had a special video message to share with attendees from HRH The Princess Royal who wanted to congratulate recipients personally.”

“We had the CEO of City & Guilds Kirstie Donnelly MBE and Chairman Sir John Armitt CBE attending the event to offer their own congratulations and used breakout rooms to provide the opportunity to network – a key part of the usual ceremonies where organisations get the chance to find out more about the achievements of others. One recipient called it ‘the most engaging virtual award ceremony I have been to yet’.”

princess royal training awards virtual

“In 2021 we are providing all alumni members with a new digital credential to showcase their ongoing involvement with the Princess Royal Training Awards and commitment to excellence in training and learning & development.

The Princess Royal Training Awards alumni network 

Whilst the Princess Royal Training Awards have a few points of difference to other award programmes – the Royal recognition, the robust process, the fact that they are entirely free to enter from start to finish – another USP has developed organically. That is the customer service and support offered to all applicants from the point where they begin their application through to achieving the award and becoming part of the 490+ strong alumni network.

“Are there any further developments entrants can expect this year?” I asked.

 “Yes, there will be. In 2021 we are providing all alumni members with a new digital credential to showcase their ongoing involvement with the Princess Royal Training Awards and commitment to excellence in training and learning & development.”

“Whilst we were always striving to improve the award experience year-on-year, 2020 has meant that we’ve implemented new ways of delivering the award that have allowed us to continue to deliver a process and experience of which we are proud. We will take many learnings from the changes we have made over the past 12 months and won’t be going back to ‘business as usual’ when times become ‘more normal’. We want to build on the success of coupling our increased digital approach with our high levels of customer service, providing Award applicants with ongoing support to help them shape their applications to give them the best possible chance of meeting the Award standard. Our ethos remains ‘we want to catch people in, not catch them out’ and we hope that we are celebrating your award successes with some of you in the future – whether that is at St James’ Palace or virtually.”

Thank you for your time Remi, it was pleasure, and best of luck for the 2021 awards.

Becki

The Princess Royal Training Awards are open for applications until 31 March 2021. For more information visit: https://www.princessroyaltrainingawards.com/2021-landing-page/?

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