The Campaign for Learning is delighted to announce the 2021 winners of the Learning at Work Week Impact Awards. 

This year’s Learning at Work Week Impact Award winners show how organisations are using smart and creative ways to deliver learning and development and help people and business adapt to new ways of working, particularly as a result of the pandemic. They've harnessed the power of learning to embrace the new realities of work. 

The Learning at Work Week Impact Awards are organised by the Campaign for Learning and sponsored by getAbstract,, The Open University Business School and SFJ Awards. The Awards celebrate bold, creative and excellent events which promote and support lifelong learning at work. The awards are competitive, and entrants are judged on how their Learning at Work Week campaigns address challenges and needs. 

In 2021, the awards invited entrants to show how they inspired a lifelong learning culture, innovated in learning and development, supported business and organisational goals, or connected their people to virtual learning.  

The Learning at Work Week Impact Award Winners and Commended Organisation 

getAbstract Impact Award for Inspiring a Lifelong Learning Culture 

Winner: BT Plc 
Highly Commended: EY 
Commended: Wakefield Council 

SFJ Awards Impact Award for Connecting Your People to Virtual Learning 

Joint Winners (Private Industry): Santander      PCI Pharma Services (Hay-on-Wye Site) 
Winner (Public Sector): Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council 
Highly Commended: Dankse Bank   Parliamentary and Health Service Ombusdman  
Commended: The Law Society    Westminster City Council Impact Award for Innovation in Learning and Development

Winner (SME): OSB Group 
Winner (Large Organisation): EY 
Highly Commended: British Medical Association and Wakefield Council
Commended:  NATS 

The Open University Business School Impact Award for Supporting Business and Organisational Goals

Winner: The Law Society  
Highly Commended: HM Courts and Tribunals Service, Ministry of Justice    HSBC    Wakefield Council 
Commended: Abcam   Department for Work and Pensions   Masonic Charitable Foundation and RMBI Care Co.

Sponsors of the 2021 Learning at Work Week Impact Awards commented on the winning events. 

Jayne D’Silva, VP Sales, getAbstract said: 

"A positive aspect of the recent pandemic has been the emergence of flexible hybrid working and an increased emphasis on mental health and well-being. Learning – and how we learn – has been a big aspect of navigating the changes and challenges of the COVID-19 era.  As the sponsor of this year’s Learning at Work Week Impact Awards for inspiring a lifelong learning culture, getAbstract recognised this and is therefore proud to announce our winner and commended organisations: BT, EY and Wakefield Council.   BT, who scooped our top award, really embraced these new ways of working, which they deemed critical for organisational transformation.  The company encouraged people to listen to podcasts while walking their dogs, recognising that people are suffering from digital fatigue and need time away from the screen.  It also recognised that social collaboration is a challenge in this new world and encouraged people to collaborate, post experiences, comment and tag. It underpinned all these initiatives with a strategy to provide team members with unlimited learning.    

"EY made it its priority to have employees take ownership of their training through pull learning. It made a variety of learning resources available to learners, which they could access at any time in the flow of work.  It created learning journeys that prompted people’s curiosity – all fully virtual so everyone could attend. Aligned to its ‘It’s yours to build’ strategy, EY encouraged people to adopt a growth mindset and engage in daily competitive 15-minute learning challenges. All these efforts resulted in over 6,000 attendances through LAWW alone.   

"Wakefield Council shares a similar vision of empowering people to learn in a variety of ways. It recognises that learning does not need to be classroom-based but comes in all guises, embedded in everyday life. Guided by its core values, Wakefield Council has been keen to engage and invest in people, which has led it to completely revolutionise it's online learning offering. The evaluation follow-ups it conducted were excellent."

Candace Miller, Executive Director, SFJ Awards said: 

"Developing and maintaining a learning culture within organisations is so important, and never more so than within the public sector which has been at the forefront of dealing with so many work, connectivity and well-being challenges during the pandemic. Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council took the opportunity presented by Learning at Work week to reinvigorate their virtual learning provision and ethos with new and adapted content and connection opportunities and with a clear focus on creating positive, sustainable impact for all staff.  They are very worthy winners indeed of this award in the public sector category. 

"Ensuring that everyone has access to learning is vital for building organisational capabilities and as a contributor to a truly inclusive culture that enables equality for all staff, wherever they work. PCI Pharma Services showed real commitment to tackling the barriers that stood in the way of connecting their colleagues and ensuring that their Learning at Work week offer was available to all, across shift patterns and working locations. With positive staff feedback, they were able to demonstrate the impact of their activities and the positive contribution made to achieving the organisation’s business objectives. We are delighted to celebrate them as winners. 

"Building on employees’ ideas, incorporating fun elements, creating new functionality, and leading the charge for learning as a continuing process that is catalysed by and extends beyond Learning at Work Week convinced our judges that Santander should be awarded and celebrated as a winner in 2021. Their programme of activities strengthened staff connectivity as individuals shared their learning stories with each other, building a more engaged learning community."

Liz Moody, Director Executive Education, The Open University Business School said:

“Several of the entries this year emphasised the vital role that learning plays in achieving organisational objectives but crucially learning together and from each other has an important influence on employee engagement which underpins success.  In extraordinarily difficult times, when people may have felt isolated and detached from the workplace, this year the importance of the campaign was significant.  Attracting attention, interest and creative ways to engage learners was what separated the best entries, over and above their interesting, diverse and engaging programmes.

Our worthy winners, the Law Society developed an interesting programme of events and sought not only to learn from previous years but also to really promote LAWW.  Very well done to them and all those organisations who were in close contention.”

Kate Butterworth, said: 

“We were blown away with the entries from EY and OSB Group this year.  

"We read lots of entries discussing the switch from classroom to online learning, but only EY began with this question, and one that we think is so important: how do we encourage people who are already fighting screen fatigue or feeling overwhelmed to engage in learning? Their approach was to simplify, break it down and make learning feel doable again. By adding achievements to their learning activities and by making the time commitment flexible for their learners, they empowered their learners to try new things and to make instant progress, which is no mean feat. We were particularly impressed with the element of personalisation in their learners' journeys, and that is why we're awarding EY with this year's Learning at Work Week Impact Award for Large Organisations.  

"We were truly impressed with OSB's entry, and that is why we're awarding them with this year's Learning at Work Week Impact Award for Small and Medium Organisation. Having never run virtual events before they grabbed the bull by the horns and delivered a series of workshops and events that could help all of their employees, no matter where they were based, no matter what kind of work they did. It was the impact of this inclusive approach to learning that really stood out to us, as well as the acknowledgement that employees in different countries needed different support, and this was reflected in the impressive range of workshops on offer.  

Our heartfelt congratulations to all those involved with the organisation of Learning at Work Week as well as to all those who participated!” 

Julia Wright, National Director at the Campaign for Learning, the coordinators of Learning at Work Week and the Impact Awards said: 

“The 2021 Learning at Work Week shows how much organisations have put learning and development at the heart of their post-pandemic plans. Some of the changes we’ve seen to the way we work and learn, will remain. To stay connected, many of us will need to embrace the digital world and expand our skills.

This year’s Impact Award winners and commended organisations demonstrated ingenuity, drive and tenacity, often working under challenging conditions, to address these needs and make sure their people can still access learning and development.  We congratulate them on their deserved success and thank everyone for supporting the week.”