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Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Heroes Award winners announced by WorldSkills UK

Category: Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, Partnership, technology, STEM Careers, Women in Engineering, WorldSkills UK, Coca-Cola europacific partners, Training & Development, Heroes Awards, Technical education sectors, service networks, Rising Star Award


Our Equity Diversity and Inclusion Heroes Awards, in partnership with Coca-Cola Europacific Partners and leading awards body NCFE, celebrate the individuals and organisations championing diversity and inclusion within the business and technical education sectors.

Now in their third year, eight categories reflect the need to take a comprehensive approach to a continuous endeavour. Nominations came from education and business in sectors as diverse as information and technology, training, FE and HE and motor technology and service networks.


Edinburgh-based Anna Hart from Leonardo the leading aerospace group picked up the Rising Star Award for her pioneering work in promoting science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects to children and girls in particular.

She spent the first lockdown creating resources to spark primary schoolchildren’s interest in STEM subjects.

As well as developing special packs to celebrate women in engineering she reached out to universities to offer STEM career events to show what exciting careers there are for women in engineering.



Emma Andrews from Cardiff and Vale College won Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador of the Year for her work in opening up educational opportunities to the local community.

One of the college’s programmes was so successful in getting people who did not speak English as a first language to sign up for language classes that the Government rolled it out across Wales.


Middlesex University’s Puja Varsani was awarded the Inspirational Role Model Award for her work helping women, minority groups and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds consider careers in STEM. She organises events to promote STEM subjects and careers and volunteers in local secondary schools on robotics competitions.


The full list of winners and those highly-commended are:

Rising Star Award
Sponsored by NCFE
Winner: Anna Hart, Leonardo
Highly-commended: Ferheen Ayaz, University of Sussex

Inspirational Role Model Award
Sponsored by Festo
Winner: Puja Varsani, Middlesex University
Highly-commended: Shelby Nicol Lefley, Firebrand Training

Inclusive Skills Excellence
Sponsored by FE Week
Winner: Mo Isap, IN4 Group
Highly-commended: Mike Butcher, Pembrokeshire College

Skills Competition Diversity Champion
Sponsored by Coca-Cola Europacific Partners
Winner: Richard Hutchins, Institute of the Motor Industry
Highly-commended: Ben Elson, The Manchester College

EDI Ambassador Award
Sponsored by ForFusion
Winner: Cardiff and Vale College

EDI Initiative of the Year
Sponsored by Toyota Manufacturing UK
Winner: Education & Training Foundation & Association of Colleges

Diversity Network of the Year
Sponsored by Air Products
Winner: National Ambulance Disability Network
Highly-commended: Siemens

Inclusivity in Excellence
Sponsored by Palo Alto Networks
Winner: South Staffordshire College
Highly-commended: British Floristry Association

Announcing the winners at a special online event, held on 24 February, WorldSkills UK’s Deputy CEO of WorldSkills UK, Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann OBE, said:

Congratulations to all the winners. We launched these awards to highlight and celebrate the impact our partners’ work is having and We’ve been so impressed with the number and quality of entries this year.

We have been so inspired by the people and stories behind the nominations. With more categories and entries this year. I am so pleased to see the awards going from strength to strength.

Watch the full ceremony again and learn more about our inspiring winners



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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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