Colleagues at an Edinburgh hotel are celebrating today after beating off the challenge of hundreds of entrants to be named one of the best in Britain for giving equal opportunities to disabled jobseekers at the final of Remploy's 11th Annual Leading the Way awards.
Holiday Inn on Corstorphine Road won the ‘Innovation' category at the final in London and was presented with the coveted award by entrepreneur and former Dragon's Den TV show ‘dragon' Richard Farleigh.
Remploy is the country's leading provider of employment services for disabled people and the prestigious awards, run this year in association with The Times, recognise outstanding employers and individuals who have made significant efforts to actively encourage diversity within their organisations.
Holiday Inn was one of eight businesses and individuals honoured at the awards final at the Victoria Plaza Hotel in London (on 15 October 2007) and the Management and Staff were delighted to have come out top of entrants from across Britain.
"This award complements our earlier regional recognition from Remploy. As we have proved, we are fully committed to employing people for what they can offer our business and not because they may or may not have a disability." said Philip Counsell, Holiday Inn's general manager.
Remploy chief executive Bob Warner said in announcing the award that the judges were very impressed by the achievements of The Holiday Inn. "They all felt that in a highly competitive industry sector the investment made by the hotel into recruiting, educating and retaining disabled people, and the impact it has made in the local community, really was trailblazing!
"In fact, the work undertaken by Edinburgh's Holiday Inn is now being adopted across the wider business, signalling their appreciation of the skills disabled people can bring to their future success."
Edinburgh's Holiday Inn beat off the challenge of scores of other contenders to make it onto that early shortlist in the innovation category, which was judged on a national level and the winner announced at the final.
Apart from the innovation won by Holiday Inn, awards were also on offer to businesses in five other categories, including:
· Small businesses/organisations (fewer than 100 employees)
· Medium businesses/organisations (between 101 - 1,000 employees)
• Large businesses/organisations (more than 1,000 employees)
Separate awards were also made to the Outstanding Business Individual and to the Outstanding Jobcentre Plus Individual of the year.
Richard Farleigh told guests that it made business sense for companies to be inclusive and a caring working environment generated respect.
He added, "We should be looking at all angles to get the right people. It is the mark of a good business that it is able to do that."
Bob Warner told the audience at the awards, "It is always a privilege to applaud those businesses and individuals that go the extra mile in the employment of disabled people.
"Thanks to the example that many of you in this room have set, more employers are understanding the benefits of employing disabled people and helping to create a level playing field for disabled job seekers."