The selection process for the awards involves an impartial panel of industry experts who generously volunteer their time to evaluate submissions. These individuals are chosen for their expertise and experience.

Judges review entries, ensuring a fair and unbiased evaluation. In cases where judges have conflicts of interest within specific categories, they abstain from participating in the assessment of those particular entries.

Upon the submission deadline, judges receive all entries in a uniform format, ensuring compliance with data protection regulations. Each entry is then scored by the judges based on the defined criteria for each category.

Judges meet to discuss their assessments and collectively reach a final decision on a single day, solely based on the content provided in the written entries.

It is crucial to note that the entire judging process is conducted confidentially, and all decisions reached during this process are considered final.

Jan Richardson-Wilde

CEO - Occupational Awards Limited

Jan is the CEO of Occupational Awards Limited, a Director of the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink and FE College Governor. She has over 35 years’ experience in the education sector in strategic and operational management of training programmes with colleges, private training providers, local authorities the voluntary sector and not for profit organisations. Jan has previously been a board member of the Learning and Skills Council, chair of the North Yorkshire Training Provider network and Vice-Chair of Yorkshire Coast College and a Governor of the Grimsby Institute for Further and Higher Education. She has extensive experience of education policy, apprenticeships, qualification, and curriculum development as well as business improvement.
Jan joined OAL in 2019 a leading non-profit industry-focused Awarding and End-Point Assessment Organisation, supporting a wide range of employers and of key stakeholders to succeed and surpass expectations. Jan is committed to continuous improvement and enthusiastic about improving the effectiveness, impact and quality of apprenticeships, education, and training in the UK and internationally. She has a wide range of experience of working in a collaborative context with employers and training providers to develop End Point Assessment, apprenticeships, and a wide range of vocational programmes.

Jill Coyle

Co-Chair Yorkshire and Humber Apprentice Ambassador Network / Apprenticeship Manager - Nestlé UK

Jill joined Nestlé in 2014 as part of the Nestlé Academy team focusing on attracting, selecting and developing young talent. Jill’s key focus has been shaping the company’s apprenticeship strategy and facilitating a more consistent approach across the UK. Nestlé has played its part in developing a number of Trailblazer apprentice standards, specifically for the food and drink sector, as well as being a significant ambassador and advocate for apprenticeships. Nestlé’s young talent actively engage with schools, colleges and careers events across the country, promoting the benefits of apprenticeships and a number of our current cohort are members of the Young Apprentice Ambassador Network.

Adrian O’Neill

Skills Specialist - Growth Hub now part of the Combined Authority

Adrian O’Neill the Skills specialist for the Growth Hub now part of the Combined Authority, and been involved with apprenticeships in various guises for years. Adrian currently dedicates his time to helping North Yorkshire businesses create a well-trained and fully engaged workforce. This helps with challenges such as hiring and keeping staff. Part of his work involves guiding businesses through the various complexities in taking an apprentice for the first time, and aims to make this as easy as possible. Adrian also works with businesses to put long-term skills development plans in place rather than rely on short-term fixes. Adrian’s diverse background, including teaching and working with disadvantaged groups, positions him to understand business needs. Adrian said, “Well-trained and motivated employees are the cornerstone of business success. I’m here to identify and address skills gaps, provide solutions, and connect businesses with the right training providers.”


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