Learning at Work Week Impact Awards are presented to companies and organisations for running excellent Learning at Work Week campaigns. Our award winners show how bold, creative campaigns support innovation and drive cultural shifts in how people view learning, access development and become co-creators of learning at work.

Be inspired by our recent Impact Award Winners

2017 Impact Award Winners

Joint Winner: Campaign for Learning Curiosity and Creativity - Large organisation

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‘Employees are wanting to take charge of their own learning’

GroupM is the largest global media investment management group and the parent company for the WPP media agencies Maxus, Mediacom, MEC and MindShare.

For Learning at Work Week, GroupM successfully used the Curious and Creative theme to deliver informative events and fun activities that engaged colleagues and motivated them to continue learning at work. An important objective was to promote the L&D team’s services so that employees and managers know where to get information and are more likely to take advantage of future learning opportunities and training.


Activities were devised to be different from day-to-day offerings. Some expanded on employees’ current knowledge while others focussed on introducing a variety of tech providers and partners. Internal experts from agencies Maxus and Xaxis talked about the latest developments such as voice technology and the future of technology. Other sessions were delivered by colleagues for colleagues and looked at self-development, motivation, passions and creativity. This included a popular talk on how anybody can foster a love of learning a new skill outside of the office. Inventive communications such as a poster teaser campaign stimulated curiosity, with the full programme launched via a promotional video designed by a GroupM University apprentice. Employees were invited to find the hidden ‘Curiosity Camera’ studio and record what makes them curious with edited footage put into daily communications during the week to further raise interest. A drop-in workshop delivered by GroupM University’s creative team provided a variety of creative exercises to close the week.

GroupM’s Learning at Work Week has led to a significant increase in queries about the L&D department, its resources and services - especially into softer skills such as networking, managing change and conflict resolution.

Winner: Pearson Promoting a Learning Culture - Large Organisation

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'Advocating the power and importance of learning'

Virgin Media plc is a British company which offers four multi award-winning services to business and consumers across the UK and Ireland: broadband, TV, mobile phone and landline.

A key objective of Virgin Media’s People Strategy is to ensure its people have access to learning, which enables them to build capability and develop their skills. Virgin Media used Learning At Work Week to prompt an organisation-wide consideration of learning needs and to initiate a learning culture. It launched communication and activities under the theme #alwayslearning, advocating the power and importance of flexible, accessible and relevant learning; and offering a blended learning solution for all of its employees.

Teams from across the business worked in partnership to reach employees directly and to create momentum. Virgin Media’s 7 learning academies produced activities for their divisional audiences and senior partners endorsed a learning culture by creating a ‘Power of Learning’ video which promoted continuous learning. The activities included the creation of a Learning at Work Week digital portal, a One Minute Learning Challenge to encourage peer sharing by video, upskilling coaching sessions, an L&D Leadership team roadshow and the launch of the PDD Academy. Learning ambassadors were also established across 13 Virgin Media sites to produce content, and to promote and deliver the learning activities. Operational directors ensured employees had time for the activities and to explore iDiscover, Virgin Media’s learning platform. As well as constructive progression in achieving People Strategy and L&D objectives, specific outcomes included 500 employees receiving High Impact Sales coaching, a 46% increase in registrations for Career Guidance and a 50% growth in Personal and Professional Development Academy users.

Winner: Pearson Promoting a Learning Culture - SME
Winner: Open University Business School Supporting Business and Organisational Goals - SME

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'Reinforcing our ethos as a force for social good'

Bristol Energy offers gas and electricity for domestic and business customers across Bristol, the South West and nationwide. Owned by Bristol City Council, its profits are reinvested back into Bristol communities. It’s development team are all Learning Ambassadors for Bristol Learning City.

Bristol Energy’s Learning at Work Week won the SME award in two separate categories. For the Open University Business School Supporting Business and Organisational goals, Bristol Energy demonstrated how its Learning at Work Week supported three objectives. It aimed to excite colleagues to find their curious and creative minds; bring together partners across Bristol Learning City to collaborate and create learning stories; and lead by example as a learning city member. For the Pearson Promoting a Learning Culture Award, Bristol Energy showed how their activities supported their workplace learning culture which centres on being agile, being accessible and being appreciative.

Working with a wide range of existing and new partners including charities, schools, and a community radio station, Bristol Energy initiated and supported a bold programme of activities. Employees inside and outside of work could contribute, create, explore and experiment, which excited people to learn. Activities included learning with children about rockets, British Sign Language poetry, Work Life stories, Bring your Hobby to Work Day and Creative Writing.

Mike Duncan, Head of People Development at Bristol Energy, said: “The success of the week has reinforced our ethos as a force for social good. We continue to build relationships with people and organisations across the city, to deliver learning opportunities for our team that have a really positive social impact. Employees loved finding their inner child, creating rockets with 9 and 10 year olds. And thanks to the relationship we built with the school, we’ve been able to do much more – including visiting their playing field with our Bristol Energy solar hot air balloon! The children couldn’t believe their eyes. We’re also supporting a city wide BAME talent programme, a volunteer reading scheme with a local primary school, and fundraise for number of local charities. Bristol Energy uses a social learning model, with an increase in peer to peer learning, and we’re still exploring more creative ways to deliver that learning. What Learning at Work Week proved is that teams here want to get involved, share their skills, and help their community. And what could be better than that.”

Winner:  OCN London Inspiring Learning for All - Large Organisation 
Winner: Open University Business School Supporting Business and Organisational Goals - Large Organisation

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'Changing the perception of learning'

Jagex Limited is a British video game developer and publisher based at Cambridge Science Park on the outskirts of the city centre. Its Learning at Work Week 2017 won awards in two separate categories.
For the OUBS Supporting Business and Organisational Goals Award, Jagex demonstrated how their Learning at Work Week supported two key business goals -- new product development and being ‘the home of living games’. For the OCN London Inspiring Learning for All Award Jagex demonstrated how their activities were shaped particularly to reach and inspire employees who normally were not engaging with learning, as well as excite staff from outside product development to learn how games are conceived and designed.

Under the theme ‘Making New Stuff’, Jagex delivered different ‘learning activates’ using a blended learning approach to cater for their colleague’s preferences, but which also challenged them to come out of their comfort zone. Hands-on workshops, talks from external speakers such as Ian Livingstone CBE, a pioneer in the games industry, and lunch ‘n’ learns in the form of Ted style talks delivered by senior managers and more were combined to form a rich programme of events. Staff also learned skills they could use immediately such as ‘The Elevator Pitch’ which is a technique on how to pitch that links to new product development.

The success of the week, which gave colleagues the chance to ‘be the best they can be’ has established a positive change in the perception of learning and raised the profile of the company as one that invests in its staff.


Joint Winner: Campaign for Learning Curiosity and Creativity - SME

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‘Being the best we can be and have fun doing so’

Taylor Vinters is an international law firm supporting the businesses which drive the innovation economy.

For Learning at Work Week 2017, Taylor Vinters designed a programme that aimed to tempt already busy people to invest time in learning by piquing their curiosity and delivering learning opportunities creatively. By underpinning the week with Taylor Vinters wellbeing programme, TVie, the company brought two important aspects together to support the development of individuals within a framework of collective ambition and clarity of direction.

All of Taylor Vinters Learning at Work Week activities were designed as taster sessions and delivered before, during and after work to give everyone an opportunity to attend. There were sessions linked to the company’s business areas of entrepreneurialism and innovation including a talk on Artificial Intelligence venture ThoughtRiver and a look at AI in the workplace; a presentation from an entrepreneur called ‘The Outside View’; and a visit to Barclays Eagle Labs to learn about 3D printing and how they are inspiring future innovators.  Other sessions invited colleagues to get curious and creative about journalism, Imposter Syndrome, yoga and SmartPower.


Keeping with the curiosity theme, a teaser campaign trickle-fed information up to the day of the learning events to generate interest. To maintain the momentum, expresso shots were sent each morning on Creative Problem Solving, Innovation, Linkedin tips, Work-Life balance and Wellbeing. The buzz sparked interest from companies in the same building leading to a spontaneous ‘Meet the Neighbours’ session at the end of the week, where each businesses shared what they do.

The impact of the week is ongoing, initiatives such as the wellbeing sessions are being implemented as ongoing activities and spin off visits and lunch and learns are being planned, including one on the Entrepreneurial Mindset. Overall the week successfully supported the business strategy of developing home grown talent and people across the firm. 

Sheffield Combined Court Centre

Joint Winner: Campaign for Learning Curiosity and Creativity - SME

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‘Opportunities to develop in a stimulating and inclusive way’

Sheffield Combined Court Centre is a first tier crown court dealing with all manner of criminal cases including the most serious.  The centre also houses the county court and hears civil matters such as boundary disputes and clinical negligence cases, family matters comprising private & public law work, adoptions & care proceedings. The court also hears employment tribunal cases. This is a very busy court centre housing a combination of 28 hearing rooms and courtrooms and a fantastic team of staff.

For Learning at Work Week, Sheffield Combined Court Centre developed a rich programme of activities drawn on ideas from colleagues. The aim was to present learning at work that supports staff through the changes and pressures of a significant reform programme and has wider practical applications for both work and home life.

Under the theme ‘Creative in mind & body’, colleagues and external partners delivered a mix of drop-in sessions, structured workshops and talks. The CAB Witness Service, Personal Support Unit and Forensic Testing Services gave talks explaining what they do and how they fit into the justice system. Other sessions focused on mental health awareness and supporting conditions such as dementia. Participants also discovered local walks and tried their hand at creative pursuits from weaving to knitting and cake making.

A special informal space in the style of a cafe was created to deliver the workshops. Staff were invited to attend personally by members of the learning and development team and by team leaders. Hearing that colleagues would be demonstrating skills, talents and hobbies helped to encourage people to learn, being curious to know more about who was delivering and their interests.

More development days are now being arranged to forge stronger links between the court system and the partners who gave talks. The activities have resulted in new conversations and friendships. Staff are forming groups to learn and develop together. Outside of work, colleagues are meeting up to follow interests such as walking.  Overall, the week has had a revitalising effect, resulting in new ways of working and an uptake of practical approaches to wellbeing.


Winner: Campaign for Learning Curiosity and Creativity - Large Organisation
Highly Commended: Findcourses.co.uk Innovation in Learning and Development - Large Organisation

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Essex County Council’s Learning at Work Week focused on supporting Adult Social Work and Social Care employees who are delivering outcome focused solutions for Essex residents in an increasingly challenging environment. With increased constraints, solutions need to be creative and innovative.

The council’s ESCA ASC Workforce Capability Team used the week to open a dialogue with colleagues, encourage them to be curious about learning and demonstrate the breadth of learning opportunities and resources on offer.

A county-wide roadshow was devised using Alice in Wonderland’s ‘Curiouser and Curiouser’ theme. Staff met subject-matter experts, asked questions and discussed issues. Current and forthcoming opportunities were showcased including innovative experiential courses. Virtual Reality was introduced as a new way to deliver awareness training and participants tried out the new VR apps which facilitate experiential learning.

The Alice in Wonderland theme was woven throughout the activities to deliver important learning points in a fun and light-hearted way. For Professional Registration, employees are required to reflect on their practice. Participants could choose a ‘Wisdom Box’ and reflect on the quote inside, showing how easy reflection can be. An interactive croquet game helped colleagues navigate funded development pathways. In the office, an intriguing ‘pod’ was created containing a handmade paper tea set. This attracted staff who could then see the training on offer. Novel communications, including the chance to win a handmade box, encouraged staff to leave their desks and visit the roadshow, enabling them to pause and reflect on their self-development.

As a result of the week, the team are more visible to front-line staff. The roadshow has supported a shift in culture by promoting different ways of learning including through new technology. The training Pod continues to generate enquiries. Expressions of interest for one of the training courses has jumped by 200%. Online resources, such as Community Care Inform, have almost doubled in the number of average views a day and access to the council’s ‘My Development Toolkit’ has increased by 14% with 32% more time spent using it.

Learning Services, Edge Hill University

Winner: Findcourses.co.uk Innovation in Learning and Development - SME

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‘Being digitally confident and capable’

The Learning Services Department is one of the largest academic support departments within Edge Hill University with approximately 130 staff based across 3 libraries. As well as libraries the department also manages academic skills support, support for students with specific learning difficulties (SpLD), media development, technology enhanced learning and the virtual learning environment (VLE).

For Learning at Work Week, the Learning Services Department at Edge Hill University delivered a programme to support its staff to be digitally capable and confident in using a range of digital tools.  A blended approach, mixing online and face to face activities, was used to support staff in a busy department find the time to learn at their own pace and cover a wider variety of digital tools.

The programme was delivered in two phases. Prior to Learning at Work Week, DigiQuest, an online course of 35 digital tasks, was launched. It aimed to develop the six digital capabilities defined by JISC for information professionals and address the needs identified in an internal skills mapping exercise. The tasks included creating an infographic, the basics of coding, analysing one’s own digital footprint to participating in a twitter chat. Sixty five colleagues took part and learned for a combined 325 hours.

During Learning at Work Week a further 20 events were delivered to improve staff confidence in using the digital tools. Most of  these sessions were run by colleagues for colleagues. Participants learned amongst other things how to create a mini stop motion animation film on mobile devices, discovered makerspaces in libraries using Raspberry Pi and Google Cardboard, and creating a gif from scratch. Nearly 200 places were booked for the events. A celebratory event showcased the things that team members made as a result of their learning.

Staff are now more confident in using digital tools and are more aware of different technologies, their growth and importance in the modern workplace. This will support an improved customer experience and working efficiencies. The value and positive impact of embedding learning and staff development in the culture of the department has been recognised and monthly learning at work sessions have been initiated.

The Bread Factory

Highly Commended: OCN London Inspiring Learning for all- SME
Highly Commended: OU Business School Supporting Business and Organisational Goals - SME

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‘Inspiring colleagues to be excellent and achieve’

Xero is a software company that develops cloud-based accounting software for small and medium-sized businesses. It has over 1 million subscribers in more than 180 countries, with more than 250,000 of those in the UK.

Xero delivered a Learning at Work Week to support its People Experience strategy, which encourages and inspires colleagues to believe, belong and flourish in the workplace. Xero is a global organisation, founded in New Zealand. Xero operates 24 hours a day, with a UK HQ in Milton Keynes, a marketing office in London, and they also employ a home based, field sales team. Therefore, it was important to engage many stakeholders in its Learning at Work Week plans, in order to remove barriers to learning and encourage everyone to participate, regardless of their role or location. A strong emphasis was placed on providing L&D opportunities to colleagues working outside of HQ in the UK.

Xero's Learning Experience Specialist, Cheryl Smith, worked with partners including Milton Keynes College. Cheryl developed a Learning at Work Week programme that aimed to inspire learning and curiosity, support career pathways and promote cross departmental collaboration. Colleagues could choose from sessions that supported CPD, Diversity and Inclusion, Creative Learning and Wellbeing. Activities on offer included negotiation skills, learning to sign language and job shadowing. To remove barriers to participation, colleagues could access many of the sessions through Google hangouts, webinars and virtual classrooms or could attend in person with travel expenses being covered.

A range of media and channels were used to advertise the programme. Xero’s MD, Gary Turner promoted the importance of CPD with a presentation on ‘my story so far’. Daily updates, activities and attendance were posted on LinkedIn in partnership with Milton Keynes college. Activities were also promoted through Yammer including pictures of sessions being delivered.

The week led to a range of positive outcomes. Colleagues are now more aware that professional development opportunities are available for everyone and of what is available to them. Skills have been developed which will help people in their roles. People have had the opportunity to learn and share best practice as well as be creative and network with colleagues across the business. This has led to improved metrics on employee engagement and personal growth.


Highly Commended: Inspiring Learning for All - Large Organisation

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'Creating a bottom-up, organic learning environment'

Global is one of the world’s leading media & entertainment groups and Europe’s largest radio company.

For Learning at Work Week, Global hosted sessions to help colleagues develop new skills outside of their speciality, appreciate different learning preferences and overcome barriers such as lack of time and common location.The week brought together ‘Globalers’ and colleagues from partner companies; Broadwick Live and the Global Academy, to create an inclusive atmosphere and a sense of community where everyone works towards a common goal.

To inspire learning for all, Global’s sessions covered a range of topics across 18 locations - ranging from learning how to be a DJ to using Office 365 on the go. The activities were delivered by peers and external partners, and were live streamed making them accessible to colleagues in based other locations. Session leaders included senior staff who shared their skills and experiences.

Global’s change agents became ‘Learning at Work Week’ champions, helping to oversee activities and encourage people to take part. Multi-touch point communications included a ‘business card’ desk drop with a chance to win a flying lesson for attending a session.

Overall, 950 people attended 72 sessions. The feedback from colleagues was excellent - saying that they had been inspired, had fun and learned new skills. The opportunity to meet people from different departments and regions strengthened relationships and provided valuable networking opportunities. The week helped increase the attendance of colleagues at formal learning sessions which support Global’s learning and development goals for employee development.


Highly Commended: Findcourses.co.uk Innovation in Learning and Development - Large Organisation
Highly Commended: OU Business School Supporting Business and Organisational Goals - Large Organisation

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'Learning at any time, at any place, on any device'

176 years ago, the founder Thomas Cook began the company with a vision to “broaden the minds of others and break down the partition walls of prejudice”. The vision today remains true to the principles of Thomas Cook 176 years ago – to be the most loved holiday company, delighting their customers, people and shareholders.

Thomas Cook designed ‘Learning at Work Week’ to respond to the learning needs of the business and its colleagues. The week aimed to drive personal ownership of learning, support colleagues to know more about its products and help them with career development. To ensure all employees could participate it tested a new social learning approach. Overall, the week focussed on promoting and creating a learning culture aligned to Thomas Cook’s mantra of ‘Customer at the Heart’.


Activities were held at Thomas Cook locations across the UK including ‘Create a Movie’, ‘Problem Solving the Lean Way’, ‘Managing through change’ and gamification sales training. The ‘TC Cinema presents…’ showed favourite talks with popcorn. Colleagues created training videos, enabling peer to peer ‘play again’ training via social media. An instant live chat gave immediate answers to L&D questions.

Facebook was used to deliver learning to ‘remoter’ retail staff in its 700 stores, an innovation to address the challenges staff face to finding dedicated time for learning. After first building membership of the Facebook group by 99% to 2452 members, 28 Facebook Live sessions were broadcast on topics useful both to colleagues and the business. Head Office teams helped to develop and deliver the broadcasts, connecting colleagues across the company.

Two hundred live L&D chats were delivered. LMS hits increased by 63%. The Facebook trial exceeded expectations with an average of 550 hits per broadcast peaking at over 1100 for the most popular session, including during out-of-hour views. The week increased visibility of L&D opportunities and has helped to drive a culture of self-learning. A monthly programme of learning for the retail network is now planned using Facebook Live.

HMCTS London Region

Highly Commended: Campaign for Learning Impact Award for Inspiring Curiosity and Creativity

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HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) is responsible for the administration of the criminal, civil and family courts in England and Wales, tribunals in England and non-devolved tribunals in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Our role is to run an efficient and effective courts and tribunals system to support the delivery of justice. An executive agency of the Ministry of Justice, we employ over 15,000 people, 96% of whom are frontline staff.

For Learning at Work Week, HMCTS (London Region) delivered a ‘Curious & Creative’ programme designed to support business needs and employee development as the service moves towards becoming digitalised. The activities on offer aimed to increase digital skills and stimulate learning at work through promoting opportunities and ideas for upskilling through the year. The design of the week also facilitated collaboration between colleagues in different sections, offices and jurisdictions.

Over 70 different activities were delivered across the HMCTS London’s jurisdictions with many led by colleagues for colleagues. To stimulate curiosity, learning was delivered in fun, interactive and imaginative ways. Mock trials, learn a language ‘speed dating’, debating and hands on workshops for IT and social media were just some of the sessions on offer alongside opportunities to be creative. Promotional materials were vibrant and up-beat with intriguing teasers to encourage people to attend. Timetables of activities for each site were shared with teams across London so that colleagues could attend open events. A dedicated Learning at Work Week Yammer group was created for teams to advertise their plans and keep track of progress.

By providing such as varied programme, over 1500 colleagues were encouraged to participate and learn. HMCTS London’s Learning at Work Week has sparked a new awareness of learning at work and the opportunities available, supporting its new performance system which focuses on employees understanding their own development. The week has highlighted how interacting with colleagues, conversations and questions can improve ways of working and how things are done. Staff have learned about different teams and different areas of work, expanding their contacts and networks. This will support HMCTS as it evolves, transforms its services and moves forward as one organisation.