Sandra Kirkham, Headline Sponsor, Progress to Excellence Group Interview Back
Following the launch of the Wirral Business Awards 2017, we visited Sandra Kirkham, Managing Director of the Progress to Excellence Group to find out more about the business and her reasons for adding support to the awards through being its Headline Sponsor.
What can you tell us about Progress to Excellence Group…..
Progress to Excellence Group, with national headquarters at Pacific Road Business Hub in Birkenhead, encompasses organisations on a mission to Train the Nation. As one of the UK's fastest growing businesses, we are a leading supplier of high quality training, specialising in Apprenticeships and Advanced Learner Loans, as well as providing Alternative Schools Education services to bring supportive and inspirational teaching for vulnerable young people in need of a different approach to mainstream learning.
Through organic growth and strategic acquisitions, Progress to Excellence Group has developed a reputation as the trusted partner of choice to upskill and train the nation's workforce. From its early days of start-up with a handful of staff, the Group now employs more than 200 people, its learner database stands at 5,000 and employer partnerships number 1,200.
However, its roots are firmly embedded in Wirral and it's a source of great pride to me, that its base in Birkenhead is responsible for helping to develop the talent and skills needed to provide vital services in the local community and in the rest of the country. An ethos of “giving something back” is embedded in the company's ethos and, along with developing partnerships to support Wirral's third sector organisations, the business encourages employees to become involved in charity initiatives and volunteering.
Why do you feel it is important for Progress to Excellence Group to support business awards and the business community?
As a Group that places huge importance on the value of recognising the contribution that each and every employee makes to overall operational success, Wirral Business Awards are an official and public way of applauding those whose everyday efforts continue to impact on the region's long-term prosperity.
Wirral’s business community is like family and a big event such as this is a once-a-year opportunity to join colleagues, partners and acquaintances to celebrate their achievements and support them in their growth and development, whether they are a huge national or international organisation or a sole trader.
How do you believe that entering award competitions helps companies?
Beyond the title and trophy, a clear benefit of winning an award is a boost to workplace morale, particularly if staff have been involved in the entry process. Employees enjoy working for successful companies and winning - or being shortlisted - gives the business a chance to recognise its employees for their contribution to its success.
A prestigious award win can set a company apart from its competitors and enhance the reputation of the brand. Nothing is finer than to be officially seen as an achiever and associated with success, showing existing clients that the company is really good at what it does. Added to this is the promotional and publicity tool that winning an award creates in any social media, internal or external media and networking initiatives.
Do you have a closing message for all businesses considering entering the Wirral Business Award 2017?
Behind every entry is passion, energy and determination to reach the final moment of walking up on stage to collect an award. Each year judges find it harder to shortlist and then choose the winners – testament to the outstanding people, organisations and the ground-breaking and innovative work that puts Wirral on the map as a thriving hub of talent and entrepreneurship.
Quite simply, enter your business into the Wirral Business Awards. I wish the best of luck to everyone – each and every company that's entered has its own great story to tell of its business journey.