CIPD Awards return to recognise leading HR talent in Wales

CIPD Wales, the professional body for HR and people development, has recognised the top HR talent in Wales at its 2023 Awards ceremony.

The CIPD Wales Awards returned to Cardiff’s City Hall with its fifth annual awards, marking the first gala ceremony since 2019 due to the pandemic.

The awards saw four exceptional individuals and ten remarkable organisations take home the industry’s most coveted accolades, recognising the efforts and resilience across Wales during a period that has tested the sector as businesses continue face unprecedented challenges in both recruitment and economics. One individual and a further five organisations were also recognised as highly commended by judges.

Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board was the biggest winner of the night scooping three top awards in the Best Apprenticeship Scheme, Best Learning and Development Initiative and Best Resourcing and Talent Management Initiative categories.

Throughout Wales, thousands of people are employed in the people profession, with HR and leadership development covering all sectors and industries. The 2023 CIPD Awards showed recognition to some of Wales’ top businesses and organisations, both large and small including: Coleg Gwent, Tiny Rebel Brewery, Principality Building Society, Hywel Dda University Health Board and the North and Mid Wales Truck Road Agent.

This year’s winners were selected by a judging panel of top HR and business professionals, including: director of HR & Corporate Services for Welsh Government, Peter Kennedy; UK HR director at Airbus Operations LTD, Nicola Montgomery; head of people at Admiral, Rhian Langham and managing director at Resolution at Work, Alison Love.

Lesley Richards, head of CIPD Wales, said: “The CIPD Wales Awards are always a brilliant opportunity to recognise and celebrate some of the outstanding, groundbreaking, and sometimes career changing work that goes on across the country.

“Year-on-year we’re impressed by the number and the quality of entries, along with the dedication to people development that has been showcased, and this year proved no different. HR and people development affect the success and operation of every business and are essential to ensuring employee wellbeing and retaining the best talent – which has been particularly challenging over recent years and our sector has faced a pandemic and the most challenging employment conditions in decades. All of our winners, those highly commended and finalists have proven they maximise the utmost potential and opportunities for their employees.”

This year, three individuals were recognised at the awards with Steph Phillips from Associated British Ports in Cardiff winning the Excellence in HR Leadership award and Rebecca Morgan from Neath-based Hornbill Engineering named as the Rising Star for the People Profession.

Cerys Furlong, former chief executive at Chwarae Teg and current CEO at school software start-up Group Ed, was recognised for her outstanding contribution to the HR sector in Wales. She was recognized for her role in championing and campaigning for gender equality, supporting women across Wales to improve their skills, confidence and enhance their earning potential while also holding businesses to account on equality, diversity and inclusion. Further to this, Cerys has advised BBC Cymru Wales and has been a trusted ear for the Welsh Government on panels on human rights to fair work and women in STEM, making a difference to the lives and careers of countless people in Wales.

Speaking of the awards, Heather Porch at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, said: “The work that we have done has allowed minorities to become integrated into the workplace and enable early opportunities for new talent to grow and develop. It feels amazing to be recognized for our work.”

Taking home the accolade for Best Hybrid / Flexible Working Initiative, Principality Building Society was recognised by judges for having an inspirational working environment that keeps individuals’ needs front and center.

The North and Mid Wales Truck Road Agent (NMWTA), the organization responsible for road maintenance across North Wales, was recognised for having the Best Learning and Development or Organisational Development Initiative. Tiny Rebel Brewery in Newport took home the accolade for Best Wellbeing Initiative, while Hywel Dda University Health Board, covering the three West Wales counties, was awarded Best Apprenticeship Scheme.

The 2023 CIPD Wales Awards were sponsored by: Welsh Government, HR Spectrum, Human Resourcing, Hoop Human Resources, Monmouthshire Building Society, Moxie People, Resolution at Work, Cardiff Business School, Red Dot 365 and Hugh James.

The winners of the CIPD Wales 2023 Awards are:

                                    Category                   Winner  Best Apprenticeship SchemeWinner: Hywel Dda University Health Board Highly Commended: Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board  Best Diversity and Inclusion InitiativeWinner: Welsh Government Highly Commended: Coleg GwentBest HR Consultant / ConsultancyWinner: Healthy HR Consultancy Ltd Winner: MoJ Civil Service HR CaseworkBest Hybrid / Flexible Working InitiativeWinner: Principality Building Society  Best In House TeamWinner: Coleg Gwent  Best L&D / OD InitiativeWinner: Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board Winner: North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agent  Best Resourcing and Talent Management InitiativeWinner: Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board  
Best Wellbeing InitiativeWinner: Safran Seats Winner: Tiny Rebel
Highly Commended: Pobl Highly Commended: Antur Waunfawr                   Excellence in HR Leadership           Winner: Steph Phillips Highly Commended: Gareth WayRising Star of the People ProfessionWinner: Rebecca Morgan Highly Commended: Patrycja Nowak  Outstanding Contribution to the People ProfessionWinner: Cerys FurlongKath Collis Award for Outstanding ImpactWinner: Claire Roberts  

For more information on CIPD Wales Awards, visit:

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