Charity Learning Award Winners 2023

This year the Charity Learning Consortium has had the privilege of witnessing an extraordinary display of commitment, innovation and dedication within the third sector.

Our winners in 2023 are:

Outstanding Learning Culture  Natasha Patel, Warwick Students’ Union
Best Leadership and Management Programme Esther Redman, Woodgreen Pets Charity
Best Use of an LMS The Trussell Trust
L&D Professional of the Year Rosh George, The Advocacy People

Leader in Learning  Nick Bowen, Wales Air Ambulance

Our 2023 winners are:

Outstanding Learning Culture: Natasha Patel, Warwick Students' Union

Warwick Students’ Union stands as a dynamic and integral component of the University of Warwick, playing a pivotal role in enriching the overall student experience. The union provides a diverse range of services, programmes, and opportunities tailored to meet the needs of its varied student body.

In her role as Learning, Inclusion and Development Manager, Natasha Patel has introduced a programme that goes beyond the conventional approach of ‘EDI’ (equality, diversity, and inclusion). Instead, she has championed the use of ‘I&B’ (inclusion and belonging) to underscore the union’s dedication to cultivating an inclusive environment for all its colleagues and student members, moving beyond mere checkbox compliance.

As the Inclusion and Belonging Lead, Natasha has spearheaded committees and colleague workshops with senior leadership to scope and identify what an instinctively inclusive organisation looks like at Warwick Students’ Union. Using a data-driven approach to inclusion, Natasha conducted a training needs analysis to initially identify where the SU’s areas of development were. She used this information to develop a strategic plan, including their three pillars of inclusivity: Unconscious Exclusion, Inclusion on Purpose and Instinctive Inclusion.

“Our vision is to create an instinctively inclusive SU community, where everyone feels valued, has a keen sense of belonging, and is treated fairly with respect and kindness in a supportive and non-judgmental environment”. – Natasha Patel

Best Leadership and Management Programme: Esther Redman, Woodgreen Pets Charity

Esther Redman, Talent Partner at Woodgreen Pets Charity, has played a crucial role in establishing an innovative programme, which is aimed at supporting and enhancing the skills of leaders and managers within the organisation.

The comprehensive programme incorporates a blend of online resources and face-to-face sessions, spanning across 11 key modules distributed over an eight-month period. The initiative involves a variety of activities, engaging conversations and a commitment to instigate meaningful change. Participants are encouraged to apply their acquired knowledge through practical application. Notably, the programme places a significant emphasis on coaching, incorporating specific resources that outline various models along with sample questions to assist participants in getting started.

Reflection is woven throughout the entire course, with designated time for contemplation during workshops and post-session reflection periods.

Esther has shared her story with the Consortium and the wider learning and development community. Over the past year she has written online content, been interviewed for Learning Now TV and presented at a Charity Learning Consortium event. Click on the button below to read Esther’s case study.

Best Use of an LMS: The Trussell Trust

The remarkable efforts of The Trussell Trust in developing and maintaining their learning management system have garnered significant attention. Since becoming a part of the Charity Learning Consortium in March 2021, their level of customisation has consistently demonstrated excellence, as they have strived to deliver an easy to navigate, relevant and engaging learning offer for their people, to build their confidence to support food banks across the UK. The outcome is an exceptional learning experience for their users.
In addition to their fantastic system, the team provides valuable feedback to the Charity Learning Consortium. This input serves as a catalyst for ongoing enhancements and ensures a continuous improvement in the offerings provided to all members. They actively engage in the community, generously sharing their valuable advice and expertise with fellow members.

L&D Professional of the Year: Rosh George, The Advocacy People

Rosh George, Learning and Development Lead at The Advocacy People, has proven herself as a highly engaged and influential member within the Charity Learning Consortium, leaving a substantial imprint over the past year.

Rosh has wholeheartedly embraced what it means to be part of the community, teaming up with fellow members to promote the exchange of best practices and knowledge-sharing. Beyond Charity Learning Consortium events, she makes sure to sustain these vital conversations and extend the discussions to deepen the understanding and growth.

Her proactive approach not only benefits her colleagues and fellow Consortium members, but also underscores her dedication to the broader learning and development community.

Leader in Learning: Nick Bowen, Wales Air Ambulance

When Nick Bowen, Training & HR Business Partner (Partner Busnes Hyfforddiant ac AD) joined Wales Air Ambulance, the eLearning at the charity was pretty basic. Nick came up with a unique idea, which involved all staff, regardless of their role, having to redo their induction.

Digital transformation was a key focus for the organisation and he used this objective to help get buy-in from senior management.

All 100+ staff successfully completed their induction within the set timeframe. All leaders were also tasked with finishing a management pathway, which they successfully accomplished this year.

Nick has shown incredible initiative to lead the way when it comes to learning. And not only within his own organisation – he has also shared his work with fellow Charity Learning Consortium members and beyond!

Click on the button below to read Nick’s case study and click here to watch his interview with Learning Now TV.

Martin Baker, founder and CEO of the Charity Learning Consortium commented: “I’ve always been impressed by the efforts of our members, often on shoestring budgets, but I’ve never been more proud of what they’ve achieved in the last few years. These awards recognise the outstanding dedication, commitment and results of just a few L&D practitioners, but there are plenty more unsung heroes working in the sector, all trying to make lives better for the staff, volunteers and people they serve.

Congratulations to everyone who has won an award, but all of our members deserve recognition – what they achieve really is extraordinary.

How to create a learning programme for equity, diversity and inclusion

The report aims to guide charities through creating a successful EDI learning programme. There is no ‘magic wand’ or ‘silver bullet’, it takes time and there’s a lot to do, but we hope you’ll find the guidance and tips in this report valuable.

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