The heatwave may be over and football didn’t come home, but we did win the Skills, Education and Training Award at this year's E3 Business Awards!

We are over the moon to have scooped the award, which recognises the investment we have made into training and development. We were up against some amazing organisations from across the North-West and beat 100s of high calibre entries to the post.

The E3 Awards 2018 was held at the Macron Stadium in Bolton on Thursday 12th July and was attended by five members of the Advocacy Focus team. CEO, Justine Hodgkinson, says:

“It was a brilliant night and we are delighted to have won the award. We were up for three awards- including Charity of the Year – but are incredibly happy to walk away with the Skills, Education and Training Award. The winner of Charity of the Year, Dance Syndrome, definitely deserved their win and we would like to congratulate them on their success and the amazing work they are doing. What an inspiration.”

“The room was full of exceptional talent from across the North-West, the organisers did a great job. We were up against some stiff competition in all categories with nearly 80 exceptional businesses, charities and organisations shortlisted on the night.”

We were shortlisted for the Skills, Education and Training Award after detailing the innovative changes and our new approach to training and development.

Our investment into training and education isn’t just limited to our team but outside of our organisation too. We regularly hold awareness sessions and advocacy training for health and social care professionals, seeking to break down the complex service we provide and inevitably improve the outcomes for people using our services.

This led us to holding our first ever training conference, Breaking Barriers, which was a full day of education and awareness around advocacy, the sector and related services. We had influential guest speakers from the health and social care and legal worlds cover important and emotive topics, and over 120 attendees on the day. Our recent debrief statistics showed us that 100% of attendees admitted to walking away from the conference having learned something new.

Justine continues: “Advocacy is hard to understand and as we deal with a lot of legal jargon and legislation most people simply don’t understand what we do or even know we exist. Over the last year we have overhauled our training and development strategy to help everyone understand what advocacy is and how we can support them to achieve the best possible outcomes.

“This award shows that we have come a long way in a short space of time – but we still have a long way to go. We couldn’t have done it without the amazing team we have, everyone is committed to their own learning and development and spreading the word of advocacy. Every person in our organisation has at some point or another, been involved with internal or external training and education and we always encourage staff to expand their personal and professional development. Nothing is off bounds at Advocacy Focus.”

Justine finishes: “We would like to thank the organisers of the event, the judges and all the people behind the scenes for a great night and of course we’d like to congratulate all the finalists and winners who are doing the North-West proud!”

Speaking on behalf of 1 Events Media, the host and organiser of the awards, Managing Director Mubarak Chati said: “The E3 Awards have always been about more than just commercial success; they celebrate the impact that enterprise has on lives and communities across the North West. Advocacy Focus is a fine example of that enterprising spirit and it's right that its commitment should be recognised.

“Advocacy Focus can be very proud of its achievement. Competition this year was exceptionally fierce; so much so that we felt we had to increase the number of shortlisted candidates in several categories. To come away with a win in 2018 meant proving an extraordinary commitment, and that is exactly what they did."