The initiative – which recognises the top-performing companies and organisations across every sector of the field of employment – was formally launched yesterday in Titanic Belfast, which will host the gala awards dinner on June 17.
And as well as a number of the awards categories being revised, this year sees the introduction of a completely new category, the Global Team Award.
It showcases the best Northern Ireland has to offer on the international stage, and also focus on the impact foreign direct investment companies are making locally.
‘We always try to introduce fresh elements to our programme, and the Global Team Award will certainly be a particularly prestigious trophy,’ Irish News editor Noel Doran.
Yesterday’s launch was attended by Minister for Employment and Learning Dr Stephen Farry – who with his department has shown a strong commitment to the Workplace & Employment awards – and representatives from the initiative’s main business partners. They are Tughans solicitors, Liberty IT, Power NI, H3 health insurance, the Department for Employment and Learning, Ulster University and Titanic Belfast.
Mr Doran added: ‘They all play a pivotal role in an event of this magnitude, and some have been associated with the awards since their inception in 2007. ‘We are also delighted that Ulster University has joined us for the first time as a partner. ‘The University’s collaborative approach to offering students relevant experience and opportunities prepares students and graduates to make informed choices about their future career direction. ‘Ulster University is supporting young people to fulfil their potential and to become the employees, entrepreneurs and leaders of the future, locally and internationally.’
Dr Farry said: ‘Awards such as these are an excellent way for businesses to showcase their enterprises and gain recognition for their successes during what has been a prolonged period of economic difficulty. ‘They are also a positive way for organisations to recognise and reward their staff, and let existing and potential new customers know about the quality of their products and services.’
Guest speaker at the launch – which was hosted by BBC present Karen Patterson (she will again be compere at the awards in June) – was Denise Woods, of Automated Intelligence.
The IT firm, founded in 2010 by Mark Godfrey and Simon Cole in response to a change in market dynamics for enterprise software applications, claimed both the Career Inspiration Award and Best Place to Work Award in 2014.
‘As a relatively young company we needed to gain access to young ambitious talent in a sector where the jobs market is hugely competitive,’ Ms Woods said. ‘So winning two Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards at the first time of asking proved an incredible boost to our organisation in terms of morale and pride, and was an independent acknowledgement of how we are performing.’
Entries for the awards close on April 28. For your 2015 entry pack and awards information visit www.irishnews.com/wea or follow the build-up on Twitter at @IrishNewsWEA