Recognising Heroes at the UK Business Awards

Thomas FairbairnJuly 8, 20207min0

Tomorrow, June 9th, is the UK Business Awards. As part of the event, we’re recognising people that have gone above and beyond in these extraordinary times. These people have all demonstrated their heroism in various ways, and we’re proud to be associated with each and every one of them. Let’s hear their stories.


Mark Jones, Police Constable at Greater Manchester Police

PC Mark Jones has been leading the OPTIK program from GMP almost single handed. Although he is supported by an extended team on the ground, he has been performing far more than is required from him and his dedication has been outstanding. Mark has been instrumental in driving the key decisions and future roadmaps for OPTIK. As a PC, not only he has been coordinating with HCL, but also been liaising directly at multiple levels within GMP, including chief officers.

Having a number of years of front-line operational policing experience, Mark has stepped out of his comfort zone and has played a vital role in bridging the gap between Policing and IT. He has transitioned himself into more of a techno cop bringing an ideal mix of technology and policing knowledge into the program.
Mark has played a crucial role in not only identifying the right candidates for OPTIK but also in transforming end to end processes and introducing the much-needed innovation. His approach and dedication has helped him earn both the trust and the respect from across the board.



Rakesh Prusty, Solutions Architect at HCL Technologies Ltd.


Rakesh has been instrumental setting up the right team and the right process to get the project delivered on time and thus creating value to customer. He wore multiple hats in the program – being an architect, a scrum master, technical reviewer etc.. and guided the distributed teams to deliver the program.







Rachel Brooks, Operations Director at Swimtime

On the 17th March, the entire of Swimtime was forced to shut down due to COVID 19. A multi million turnover business to zero in one moment. This was an extremely difficult time for our whole team, arguably none more so than for Rachel.
Throughout the immediate period, Rachel lead Swimtime’s operations to do a total shut down, communicating with 20,000 customers, 250+ venues, reassuring staff and giving our Franchisees huge amount of support. All whilst facing uncertain herself as the company faces extensive financial headwinds. It was a huge task for which no training or procedures could prepare you for.
Rachel has achieved incredible results, the industry average for loss of customers is touching 30%, through Rachel’s actions this has been less than 1% for Swimtime. Rachel Brooks is nothing short of a hero and thoroughly deserves recognition.




Ryan Brown, Operations Director at FranScape

On the 17th March, the entirety of Swimtime was forced to shut down due to COVID 19. Our key technology partner FranScape were faced with a number of challenges to quickly shut down major systems and ensure communication was maintained to clients across a number of channels. For example, stopping the recurring payment run to ensure customers were not caused additional stress and confusion.
Ryan Brown was exceptional during this period, going above and beyond to ensure every process was designed, developed and tested thoroughly before launch. As a result, Swimtime continued to receive great feedback and have retained many of our customers.
Ryan himself has faced uncertain on his future but despite this, he continued to focus on the task in hand. He was an essential part of the projects success and deserves to be recognized.





David Hughes, CEO of the Association of Colleges

When COVID19 hit, the challenge of keeping the further education sector focused, informed and progressing across the UK was immediately taken up by David.
Being highly visible from the start, he instantly engaged the 338 AoC member Colleges, hosting mobilisation webinars (even doing the first one whilst he nervously waited in the Heathrow arrivals lounge, hoping his daughter had made it back to the UK safe from Nepal).
This early approach of clear communication via webinars and social media etc, enabled him to gain the support of major publications such as FE Week for real time messaging. Soon the whole sector engaged in webinars and #Loveourcolleges social media campaigns to showcase best practice, engaging key Ministers – who were able to address key concerns for the sector. His lobbying for funding, bringing leaders together and positive messages of support as well as physically engaging in lockdown campaigns such as #BakeOff, #GoTheDistance #WorldSkills at this time of crisis, has shown him to be a real hero for the sector.



We can’t wait to recognise the heroism of these remarkable people at tomorrow’s event. We hope you can join us!

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Thomas Fairbairn

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