PACE Awards – our winners!

Since introducing PACE Awards to our Supply Chain, we’ve had some fantastic nominations through which demonstrate how our Supply Chain Partners are living the PACE Values. Our judges have deliberated and we are pleased to announce this quarter’s PACE Award winners.


Maria Balogh from UK ETesting in London, was nominated by her Director Terry Coldham for demonstrating the Passionate value.

Maria BaloghTerry described how dedicated Maria is to her work, saying ‘It is common practice for Maria to forgo her lunch break to help with candidates registering for their Life in the UK assessment and even staying after work to go through their result sheets […] We have known instances where Maria has come in to work on her day off to speak with a client just because the client wanted to see her in person and [to] maintain the continuity of the support system we offer.’

Maria shared her story with us: ‘I am 34 years old and originate from Hungary. I moved to the UK in 2006, and at the time spoke very little English but I managed to get a job working in a fast-food establishment, struggling, but getting by.

I eventually started some courses learning English through learndirect and became very friendly with the staff at the centre I was learning at. When a position became available at the centre for a recruitment officer I was recommended to the company director and despite my English not being perfect, he saw something in me that he felt would benefit the company.

I work for UK ETesting in East London (Newham) where it’s extremely diverse in ethnicity and culture and as such it has been a huge learning curve understanding the demands of each community as well as living in a new environment.

My job has covered all aspects of service provision from supporting ICT and numeracy and now invigilating test candidates sitting their Life in the UK test or STA tests. Supporting customers in stressful situations is sometimes stressful for the staff too! But it’s a job I enjoy doing as there are also great rewards from persons who pass their test. In many cases this is the first steps to either living in the UK permanently or becoming a teacher so there is great importance to the services we provide and whilst I am only a small cog in the system I am very proud to be a part of the system and enjoy doing my part to the best of my ability.’


Gill Newell from TCV Employment and Training Services, who deliver the Work Programme in the South West, was nominated by her colleague Nikki Cowan for demonstrating the Agile value.

FatimahNikki described Gill as someone who is willing to go above and beyond, and her nomination was for the fantastic way in which she has adapted to the LEO system which was recently introduced.

Gill has worked really hard to ensure that she has an excellent working knowledge of the new system, building links with the CASC team and maintaining those relationships to foster open communication between TCV Employment and Training Services and learndirect.

Nikki also noted how her knowledge has benefitted her colleagues: ‘she has been completely unselfish in sharing her knowledge and understanding with other members of the team from advisors through to operations directors […] Her efforts to maintain quality records and evidence on LEO is second to none, and is very frank with her guidance to others on the importance of maintaining accuracy and quality at all times, but in an objective way to all’.

Gill was previously an ESA client at TCV Employment and Training Services and since she secured employment with them in 2014, she has come to be really passionate about what she does: ‘The most important part of my role that makes me feel proud is being able to make a difference to people’s lives, having the opportunity to show customers that you can overcome barriers and move forward in life – The same way that I have been able to progress through my journey with TCV and get to where I am today.

My personal delivery is based on me doing my job to the best of my ability and offering support directly to my team and internal and external suppliers within the South West.’


Yasmin O’Hare is this quarter’s Courageous Award winner. She was nominated by Shirley Williams who described how Yasmin had demonstrated this value.

YasminYasmin started working at PHX Training, an Adult Skills and Apprenticeship suppliers in Cumbria, in August 2015. She had previously worked in the banking sector and has used the knowledge she gained working in banking to inform the work she does at PHX Training.

Her nomination describes the impact that she has had on the business’ performance, explaining that she looks at existing processes and procedures with fresh eyes and questions existing ways of working to find better solutions: ‘As she is new to the education sector, she questions all current systems and challenges behaviours that are not conducive to positive learner and business performance. She is not afraid to put her ideas forward and works well at all levels to ensure that all aspects of the business are considered.

Yasmin is confident in reviewing changes and implementing the appropriate actions in a professional manner’. As a result, the business’ procedures have become more streamlined, effective and efficient, leading to improved performance for learners and the business as a whole.

Yasmin’s driven to find ways of working that improve outcomes for learners, saying that ‘my main focus is quality and getting things right for the learners in the first instance’. She is really proud to work on her team and credits her manager with fostering an environment which allows the team to focus on providing the best service to learners.


Fatimah Morafa from Community Training Portal is our Empowering award winner for this quarter. Fatimah was nominated by her colleague Angella Blaggrove for the work that she does with her learners to ensure that they can achieve their goals.

GillAngella describes Fatimah as a dedicated tutor who ‘gives her time unstintingly to each learner’ and researches additional material to deepen her learners’ understanding – but she never fails to empower learners to take responsibility for their learning.

Fatimah is quite new to Community Training Portal’s centre in Leagrave, Luton, having started just over 6 months ago after deciding to take on new challenges.

She loves working with learners to help them reach their potential, as she explained: ‘Prior to working at Community Training Portal I taught GCSE English to young people however wanted a change and new challenges hence starting to work with adults. I enjoy working with people who want to make a change in their lives whether it be to further their education or career. I have always had a passion for education whether it be teaching or learning.

My teaching delivery focuses on ensuring that my teaching style is in tailored to the need of the learner. I make sure that I know the learning style of each learner and prepare suitable worksheets, sessions and lessons that will cater to those needs.

There are many things that make me proud of the work I do but the main one is the end result of learners passing and using their qualification to move on with their plans. The fact that I can help people achieve their goals and make a small contribution to that is very fulfilling for me.’