Suffolk Business Awards 2021: Education in Business award winner

Left to right: Laraine Moody (West Suffolk College), Eve Fynn and Michelle Cross and Alan Pease (Suffolk New College)

Left to right: Laraine Moody (sponsor – West Suffolk College), Eve Fynn and Michelle Cross and Alan Pease (sponsor – Suffolk New College) - Credit: Matthew Potter Photographer and Videographer

Stow Healthcare, a Suffolk-based care provider, has been named winner of the Education in Business award, sponsored by Suffolk New College and West Suffolk College, at the Suffolk Business Awards 2021.

Supported by more than 4,000 dedicated staff, Stow Healthcare Group specialises in turning around failing care homes. Three of the company’s six care homes are rated ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission, with its approach to staff training proving a catalyst for quality improvements. 

It was the impressive results driven by its investment in staff training and culture that made Stow Healthcare Group the judges’ standout winner.

Rather than being a bolt-on for the business, education and training is fundamental to its success – and proves that businesses don’t need to spend huge sums on recruitment when they can invest in the people they already have. 

The judges said the results speak for themselves – fantastic evidence of staff progression, a motivated, caring workforce, and struggling care homes transformed into good care homes in a very short time period. 

Alex Ball, operations manager at Stow Healthcare, said: “This award is for every single member of the team at Stow Healthcare. 

“The last 18 months have been some of the toughest times for the social care industry and we would not have got through it without the strength and resilience of our fantastic staff team. 

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“Not only are we passionate about investing in them as individuals and their own professional development, but we want to inspire the next generation to choose social care as a career pathway and help build the workforce of the future. 

“We are incredibly delighted to be named this year’s Education in Business winners.”

About the sponsors

Suffolk New College offers the broadest range of courses across the county with campuses at Suffolk Rural in Otley for land-based provision, at Ipswich, and ‘On the Coast’ at Leiston and Halesworth. The college focuses upon providing a curriculum that meets the needs of students, employers and the wider community.

West Suffolk College is one of the country’s leading apprenticeship providers. It also offers a range of higher education and flexible degree options, with over 13,000 students studying across its three campuses – University Studies, Built Environment and Arts, Humanities and Heath – as well as at its learning centres across the region.

The finalists

Attwells Solicitors  
Founded in 2007, Attwells Solicitors employs 51 staff across its three offices in Ipswich, Colchester and St John’s Wood. The company is committed to making a career in law accessible to people from diverse backgrounds and hopes to keep expanding its work experience and apprenticeship programme in the future.

The Geography Fieldwork Academy 
The Geography Fieldwork Academy (GFA) delivers fieldwork courses for schools across Suffolk and Norfolk. It adapted to the pandemic by creating a range of free online resources, narrated lessons, virtual tours and a sophisticated data-collection app. The judges praised GFA for providing safe, interesting learning experiences for young people. 

Student Life  
The judges described Student Life as a brilliant project to support young people – in particular with their mental health. The Ipswich-based charity has nine staff and 25 volunteers working in mainstream education, alternative provision and prisons. It is governed by young people who also produce its print and digital lifestyle publication.