THE Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards, which over the last 14 years have evolved into the north’s biggest single business awards initiatives, won’t now take place this year.
The awards, which regularly attract more than 100 entries and culminate with a presentation ceremony in front of upwards of 600 guests, have been under constant review since the paper made the announcement in March that it was going to postpone until later in the year.
But with social distancing still very much in place and Titanic Belfast confirming that it will not be hosting any events until 2021, the Irish News has taken the decision to roll the WEA awards into 2021.
A launch will take place February, with the awards themselves planned for June.
“We felt it was important to wait until the start of the new school year to see how things were going to settle, and make our decision then,” Irish News marketing manager John Brolly said.
“Organisations have faced exceptionally difficult challenges in terms of dealing with the global pandemic, and we think it is important we showcase the positive strategies they have implemented in order to keep striving forward.
“Having reviewed all the virtual awards events that have taken place in recent week, we don’t think it would do our awards justice or provide the winners or the wider business community with the impact they deserve by replicating that particular format.”
He added: “When we relaunch for 2021, we will be focusing on the positivity around the many outstanding initiatives by organisations in re-pivoting their businesses during the pandemic and look forward to sharing our ideas on how we recognise business which have created and implemented innovative working structures.”
Mr Brolly also paid tribute the WEA initiative’s key business partners Carson McDowell, Progressive Building Society, Queen’s University, Ulster University Business School, KPMG, First Derivatives, Glandore and venue partner Titanic Belfast, as well as wellbeing partner the Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort.
“We have built a tremendous relationship with all our partners, often over many years, and look forward to continuing to work with them as we relish a spectacular resumption of the awards in 2021.”