Which training awards should I enter?

chris robinson

Chris Robinson

MD and Founder, Boost Awards

Learning and development awards

After decades of incremental innovation in learning and development, the pandemic brought about a short period of radical change. Previous assumptions about how certain types of learning should be delivered have been replaced with the urgent need to provide effective learning across all topics without physical contact.

From an awards perspective this has led to a change in the types of stories being entered, the categories award schemes offer, and what awards judges are expecting when they read entries.

But one thing has not changed – vendors and employers who have been business-aligned, learner-centric, ingenious and can deliver measurable results are receiving the recognition they deserve.

But which awards should you enter? And when you have made that decision, how do you maximise your chances of winning? Please read on for our comprehensive guide to entering training awards.

The benefits of entering learning and development awards

Entering and winning learning and development awards can be a great way to celebrate success, raise your profile and even secure funding for future projects. An assumption is that you only benefit if you win, but research by Boost Awards in partnership with Training Journal demonstrated that the #1 benefit of entering awards is actually raising standards in evaluation, which comes from simply making a concerted effort to win. It also showed that the initial benefits of shortlisting are more substantial than the incremental benefits of going on to win. So, literally, everyone can be a winner.

What a winning story looks like 

Before we explore the awards you could enter, let’s take a look at your story. When assessing a story there are certain qualities you should consider as essential to shortlist, and others that could take you from finalist to winner.

By ‘story’ we mean any number of things. For example: a learning and development strategy for the whole business,  a training vendor, a training project, your team, your partnership with a vendor, a new learning platform, an open course, maybe even the individuals within your team. There are no shortage of options – but ensure you focus on the most award-worthy (our story assessment service can help here).

When choosing which story to enter and how to present it, the most essential qualities are:

  • Your story is aligned to something clearly important to the boardroom of a business or businesses.
  • You have a wow factor that will literally make the judges unintentionally mouth the word “wow” while reading. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you invented something entirely new.
  • You have done a thorough learning impact evaluation to ensure the results section leaves no doubt in the judges’ mind that you are worthy of the win (our Boost Evaluation team can help here).
  • Crucially (and so often overlooked early on), all stakeholders have agreed to the entry, awards category, impact evaluation imperatives and angle.

Which training awards should we enter?

This is a surprisingly hard question to answer.

If you’re thinking about entering learning awards (which can be an expensive and time-intensive process), you need to develop a strategy for which schemes to enter. This will vary depending on the nature of your story, where its strengths and points of difference lie, and what your overall objective is for entering (attracting talent, encouraging retention by rewarding excellence, improving your credentials in a particular market to win more business etc).

To help you decide where to focus your energies, take a look at the following statements and see which most closely align with the L&D project you have in mind.

“We’ve got a company-wide multi-strand L&D strategy that is making the board sit up and listen…”

If this is you, we recommend you consider one of the following:

  • The Princess Royal Training Awards (deadline end of March) is an extremely credible scheme for companies with a UK presence which has no categories as such, instead using a hallmarks approach, and involves a thorough assessment of your strategy and one flagship project. There is a second stage of a site visit here (carried out virtually this year due to the current situation) which requires extensive preparation for, but reinforces just how credible the scheme is. It also features an excellent alumni support network and is completely free to enter – a fantastic way to get Royal recognition for your training. 
  • The Investors in People Awards (deadline mid-August) is designed for precisely these sorts of stories. This is a written entry only scheme, but the calibre of the judges and level of competition ensures that only the most worthy win.
  • The ATD BEST Awards, a US-based scheme (November deadline) run by the highly credible Association for Talent Development, doesn’t have categories as such, but just recognises “organizations that demonstrate enterprise-wide success as a result of employee talent development”.
training awards

The benefits of winning “Best Training Programme” or “Training Team of the Year” are huge both internally and to your clients.

  • The Stevie Awards for Great Employers (deadline end of July) has over 100 categories including awards for great employers in a host of sectors.Alternatively, it is worth looking at the L&D categories of the big HR award schemes. These include The HR Excellence Awards (deadline end of June), or CIPD People Management Awards (deadline end of April).

     

    You could enter training award schemes too but need to ensure you only focus on one specific “project”.

“We have deployed learning technology in a particularly effective or innovative way”

With the whole of the learning & development industry forced to respond rapidly to the pandemic and remote working, there are no shortage of stories here. In fact, every award scheme on this page will expect this narrative, but if you think your story, whether a response to the pandemic or not, is worthy of recognition there are a number of categories to consider adding to your plan:

“We’ve got a super-star individual or team whose work has made a real difference…”

Sound familiar? If your people demonstrate excellent creativity, innovation, collaboration or impact then the credible schemes that have the most categories to consider here are:

It is also worth taking a look at the relevant categories of The TJ Awards (deadline early July), Learning Technologies Awards (deadline end of July) or the Learning Awards (deadline September). 

“We’ve got a major innovative/creative/challenging learning programme with stats to prove success…”

Great news if this applies to you, it’s just what the award judges are looking for! And better still, there is the most choice here. Some important options here include:

  • The Learning Awards (deadline end of September) is an international scheme run by the extremely credible Learning & Performance Institute. Not so many categories here, but a thorough two-stage judging process. 
  • The TJ Awards (deadline early July) also has a thorough two-stage process, with both general categories for projects, and niche categories for things like coaching and sales training.
  • The Learning Excellence Awards is a relatively new UK scheme with a plethora of categories for projects, organised by sector or theme.
  • The UK Employee Experience Awards (March deadline) also features a two stage process, which during the pandemic has been virtual but was previously on the morning of the awards event and may well return to this approach when circumstances allow.
learning awards impact evaluation winners

We don’t just win awards for clients – our team here at Boost recently won the ‘Learning Impact Award’ at the 2020 Learning Awards.

“We’ve got an excellent innovation or product (as opposed to a project)…”

If you’re a vendor and want your product or solution recognised in general, not just for one client deployment, then there are categories in other learning technologies awards to consider, but these two schemes are focused on this:

Hopefully you’ve identified with one or more of these five statements. So, what now?

The first step, as mentioned, is to formulate your plan. Whilst we have highlighted some of the most credible training awards above, you should definitely check out our free list of UK HR and training awards and the Global HR programmes that feature on our sister site International Awards List. If you want to do this thoroughly and strategically using our awards planning service, then our team can keyword search all the 4,000+ awards and their categories in our vast and continuously updated awards database, and then present your bespoke list using our unique Awards Planner technology – applying a traffic light system to awards and categories.

Then, when you have plan, get evaluating as soon as possible! This is where combining the awards knowhow of Boost Awards with the learning impact evaluation knowhow of Boost Evaluation comes in. We even won the Gold Learning Impact Award ourselves at the 2020 Learning Awards for evaluation expertise. This team can provide a range of impact evaluation services that can not only increase your chances of awards success, but drive continuous improvement and even secure funding. Training evaluation and learning measurement is often the key to demonstrating the all important ROI.

Finally, when you have a plan and well evaluated projects, it’s time to write your submissions and presentations with plenty of time for filling gaps and sign off. Again, the team at Boost is here to help write your entry should you need it – we’ve helped our clients win over 300 HR and L&D awards. Our team also has experience judging on these kinds of awards, so it’s fair to say we know what makes a worthy entry become a winning entry.

If you’d like help with any of these steps, or want to find out more about what we can do for your business, get in touch. Tel: +44(0)1273 258703

Use our Contact Boost page or Email: info@boost-awards.co.uk.

Any other recommended next steps?

Sign up for free monthly HR award deadline reminders

Fill in the form below and you will receive a free list of all the HR awards, L&D awards and training award deadlines coming up in the next two months. Yup completely free. Never miss a deadline again. Just choose your industry in the dropdown as ‘Human Resources’ or ‘Training’ and at the start of the next month your email will arrive.

(C) This article was written by Chris Robinson and all content is the intellectual property of award entry consultants Boost Awards

Which training awards should I enter?

chris robinson

Chris Robinson

MD and Founder, Boost Awards

Learning and development awards

After decades of incremental innovation in learning and development, the pandemic brought about a short period of radical change. Previous assumptions about how certain types of learning should be delivered have been replaced with the urgent need to provide effective learning across all topics without physical contact.

From an awards perspective this has led to a change in the types of stories being entered, the categories award schemes offer, and what awards judges are expecting when they read entries.

But one thing has not changed – vendors and employers who have been business-aligned, learner-centric, ingenious and can deliver measurable results are receiving the recognition they deserve.

But which awards should you enter? And when you have made that decision, how do you maximise your chances of winning? Please read on for our comprehensive guide to entering training awards.

The benefits of entering learning and development awards

Entering and winning learning and development awards can be a great way to celebrate success, raise your profile and even secure funding for future projects. An assumption is that you only benefit if you win, but research by Boost Awards in partnership with Training Journal demonstrated that the #1 benefit of entering awards is actually raising standards in evaluation, which comes from simply making a concerted effort to win. It also showed that the initial benefits of shortlisting are more substantial than the incremental benefits of going on to win. So, literally, everyone can be a winner.

What a winning story looks like 

Before we explore the awards you could enter, let’s take a look at your story. When assessing a story there are certain qualities you should consider as essential to shortlist, and others that could take you from finalist to winner.

By ‘story’ we mean any number of things. For example: a learning and development strategy for the whole business,  a training vendor, a training project, your team, your partnership with a vendor, a new learning platform, an open course, maybe even the individuals within your team. There are no shortage of options – but ensure you focus on the most award-worthy (our story assessment service can help here).

When choosing which story to enter and how to present it, the most essential qualities are:

  • Your story is aligned to something clearly important to the boardroom of a business or businesses.
  • You have a wow factor that will literally make the judges unintentionally mouth the word “wow” while reading. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you invented something entirely new.
  • You have done a thorough learning impact evaluation to ensure the results section leaves no doubt in the judges’ mind that you are worthy of the win (our Boost Evaluation team can help here).
  • Crucially (and so often overlooked early on), all stakeholders have agreed to the entry, awards category, impact evaluation imperatives and angle.

Which training awards should we enter?

This is a surprisingly hard question to answer.

If you’re thinking about entering learning awards (which can be an expensive and time-intensive process), you need to develop a strategy for which schemes to enter. This will vary depending on the nature of your story, where its strengths and points of difference lie, and what your overall objective is for entering (attracting talent, encouraging retention by rewarding excellence, improving your credentials in a particular market to win more business etc).

To help you decide where to focus your energies, take a look at the following statements and see which most closely align with the L&D project you have in mind.

“We’ve got a company-wide multi-strand L&D strategy that is making the board sit up and listen…”

If this is you, we recommend you consider one of the following:

  • The Princess Royal Training Awards (deadline end of March) is an extremely credible scheme for companies with a UK presence which has no categories as such, instead using a hallmarks approach, and involves a thorough assessment of your strategy and one flagship project. There is a second stage of a site visit here (carried out virtually this year due to the current situation) which requires extensive preparation for, but reinforces just how credible the scheme is. It also features an excellent alumni support network and is completely free to enter – a fantastic way to get Royal recognition for your training. 
  • The Investors in People Awards (deadline mid-August) is designed for precisely these sorts of stories. This is a written entry only scheme, but the calibre of the judges and level of competition ensures that only the most worthy win.
training awards

The benefits of winning “Best Training Programme” or “Training Team of the Year” are huge both internally and to your clients.

  • The ATD BEST Awards, a US-based scheme (November deadline) run by the highly credible Association for Talent Development, doesn’t have categories as such, but just recognises “organizations that demonstrate enterprise-wide success as a result of employee talent development”.
  • The Stevie Awards for Great Employers (deadline end of July) has over 100 categories including awards for great employers in a host of sectors.Alternatively, it is worth looking at the L&D categories of the big HR award schemes. These include The HR Excellence Awards (deadline end of June), or CIPD People Management Awards (deadline end of April).

    You could enter training award schemes too but need to ensure you only focus on one specific “project”.

“We have deployed learning technology in a particularly effective or innovative way”

With the whole of the learning & development industry forced to respond rapidly to the pandemic and remote working, there are no shortage of stories here. In fact, every award scheme on this page will expect this narrative, but if you think your story, whether a response to the pandemic or not, is worthy of recognition there are a number of categories to consider adding to your plan:

“We’ve got a super-star individual or team whose work has made a real difference…”

Sound familiar? If your people demonstrate excellent creativity, innovation, collaboration or impact then the credible schemes that have the most categories to consider here are:

It is also worth taking a look at the relevant categories of The TJ Awards (deadline early July), Learning Technologies Awards (deadline end of July) or the Learning Awards (deadline September). 

“We’ve got a major innovative/creative/challenging learning programme with stats to prove success…”

Great news if this applies to you, it’s just what the award judges are looking for! And better still, there is the most choice here. Some important options here include:

  • The Learning Awards (deadline end of September) is an international scheme run by the extremely credible Learning & Performance Institute. Not so many categories here, but a thorough two-stage judging process. 
  • The TJ Awards (deadline early July) also has a thorough two-stage process, with both general categories for projects, and niche categories for things like coaching and sales training.
  • The Learning Excellence Awards is a relatively new UK scheme with a plethora of categories for projects, organised by sector or theme.
  • The UK Employee Experience Awards (March deadline) also features a two stage process, which during the pandemic has been virtual but was previously on the morning of the awards event and may well return to this approach when circumstances allow.
learning awards impact evaluation winners

We don’t just win awards for clients – our team here at Boost recently won the ‘Learning Impact Award’ at the 2020 Learning Awards.

“We’ve got an excellent innovation or product (as opposed to a project)…”

If you’re a vendor and want your product or solution recognised in general, not just for one client deployment, then there are categories in other learning technologies awards to consider, but these two schemes are focused on this:

Hopefully you’ve identified with one or more of these five statements. So, what now?

The first step, as mentioned, is to formulate your plan. Whilst we have highlighted some of the most credible training awards above, you should definitely check out our free list of UK HR and training awards and the Global HR programmes that feature on our sister site International Awards List. If you want to do this thoroughly and strategically using our awards planning service, then our team can keyword search all the 4,000+ awards and their categories in our vast and continuously updated awards database, and then present your bespoke list using our unique Awards Planner technology – applying a traffic light system to awards and categories.

Then, when you have plan, get evaluating as soon as possible! This is where combining the awards knowhow of Boost Awards with the learning impact evaluation knowhow of Boost Evaluation comes in. We even won the Gold Learning Impact Award ourselves at the 2020 Learning Awards for evaluation expertise. This team can provide a range of impact evaluation services that can not only increase your chances of awards success, but drive continuous improvement and even secure funding. Training evaluation and learning measurement is often the key to demonstrating the all important ROI.

Finally, when you have a plan and well evaluated projects, it’s time to write your submissions and presentations with plenty of time for filling gaps and sign off. Again, the team at Boost is here to help write your entry should you need it – we’ve helped our clients win over 300 HR and L&D awards. Our team also has experience judging on these kinds of awards, so it’s fair to say we know what makes a worthy entry become a winning entry.

If you’d like help with any of these steps, or want to find out more about what we can do for your business, get in touch. Tel: +44(0)1273 258703

Use our Contact Boost page or Email: info@boost-awards.co.uk.

Any other recommended next steps?

Sign up for free monthly HR award deadline reminders

Fill in the form below and you will receive a free list of all the HR awards, L&D awards and training award deadlines coming up in the next two months. Yup completely free. Never miss a deadline again. Just choose your industry in the dropdown as ‘Human Resources’ or ‘Training’ and at the start of the next month your email will arrive.

(C) This article was written by Chris Robinson and all content is the intellectual property of award entry consultants Boost Awards

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"I would be happy to answer any questions and see which awards might be best for you and how we can help. Please email me at chris.robinson@boost-awards.co.uk with your contact details and I will be happy to arrange a call. Thanks, Chris”

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