Family Friendly Employer Awards 2018

The 2018 Family Friendly Employer Awards ceremony and celebration lunch took place in Galgorm Resort & Spa on Wednesday 24 October.  The gala event, which was attended by over 150 professionals from organisations from across the UK saw six companies crowned ‘Family Friendly Employer of the Year’ for their sector, along with an overall winner – Belfast International Airport.

The keynote speaker was the inspirational Nikki Bradley, adapted adventurer and motivational speaker, who, despite being diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer and receiving a hip replacement at the age of twenty six, has just recently become the first person to scale four of Ireland’s highest mountains – on crutches!

Guests also heard from Employers For Childcare Chief Executive Marie Marin, who highlighted why the Awards are an important recognition of those organisations who go ‘above and beyond’ to look after their employees. Finally one of the judging panel, Jeanette Harrison, Senior Lecturer at Ulster University, gave some helpful hints and tips on completing a winning application!

The Family Friendly Employer Awards were judged across six different categories. The winners and highly commended of each category are listed below.  The judges also awarded an Overall Winner to the organisation which scored most highly from all the entries.


Find out why our Family Friendly Employer Awards are going from strength to strength each year.

Hear from our Chief Executive Marie Marin & compere Sarah Travers about why this year's awards ceremony was such a great success!


Overall Winner & Medium Private Sector Winner

Belfast International Airport was crowned overall winner at the 2018 Awards, and also won the ‘Medium Private Sector’ category. Overall the entry was very strong showing innovation, progression, timelines, statistics, evidence of planning for the future as well as effective methods of communicating and connecting with employees.  In short, this organisation proved how and why it goes above and beyond to provide a family friendly environment for its employees.


Employers For Childcare's Family Friendly Employer Awards 2018
Medium Private Sector Winner and Overall Winner 2018
Belfast International Airport


Small Private Sector - Winner

A very worthy winner — Adventures Day Nursery presented a really high quality entry.  They demonstrated some innovative ideas in what the judges described as a truly ‘creative’ approach to being family friendly. Having achieved 100% satisfaction in their latest staff survey, shows that their employees definitely agree that they are being well supported! Throughout the application it was evident that this organisation is family friendly to the core, and that support extends to the families of staff.


Employers For Childcare's Family Friendly Employer Awards
Small Private Sector Winner 2018
Adventures Day Nursery


Small Private Sector - Highly Commended

ABCO Marine made a real impression on all of the judges – they felt the ethos of the company came through in the application and they especially loved the fact that the entry referenced the specific challenges they had faced due to the nature of their business.

Social Enterprise - Winner

Clanrye Group impressed the judging panel with an easy to read form that was well presented and clearly structured. They showed clear evidence of a developing portfolio of family friendly initiatives and demonstrated great communication of these initiatives.  The judges were particularly impressed that 20% of the company’s employees have been with them for 10+ years. Overall this was described as a “strong submission”. The judges unanimously agreed that this organisation is a very worthy winner.


Employers For Childcare Family Friendly Employer Awards
Social Enterprise Winner
Clanrye Group


Social Enterprise - Highly Commended

Bryson Group demonstrated how 60% of their employees have accessed flexible working. A low rate of staff turnover and high rate of staff retention shows what a positive impact their family friendly practices are having on their employees.

Medium Private Sector - Highly Commended

Aisling Daycare & AfterSchools demonstrated some really innovative family friendly initiatives (including discounted car repairs for employees – the judges particularly loved that one!) – backed up by statistics, which the judges really rated!



Charity - Winner

The judges agreed that The Cedar Foundation demonstrated a family friendly approach that was truly embedded in the culture of the organisation — and were impressed by the ways in which the family friendly culture was promoted internally.  This submission was very strong on the ‘why’ of being family friendly and had great evidence of how feedback from staff was used constructively.


Charity - Highly Commended

The judges rated the way Choice Housing provided good tangible examples of what they are doing currently and their future plans for progression.  They also demonstrated evidence of responsiveness and genuine flexibility in accommodating staff requests for family friendly working.

Large Private Sector - Winner

Allstate NI demonstrated an excellent range of family friendly initiatives which also displayed some genuine innovation. They had given real thought to what well-being in the workplace context means and showed great ongoing development and progression in their journey along the family friendly path.  One initiative which impressed all of the judging panel was ‘buckle up baby’ where a free car seat is provided for each newborn!


Employers For Childcare's Family Friendly Employer Awards
Large Private Sector Winner 2018
Allstate NI


Large Private Sector - Highly Commended

The judges rated the way Citi Belfast demonstrated how it was taking on board feedback from its employees and, in particular, noted how the company recognises that being family friendly is not just something that applies to the females in the workplace! They loved the idea of a ‘diversity’ team in this company and believed it showed a true culture of being family friendly.

Public Sector - Winner

The judges described South Eastern Regional College‘s entry as “overall a very good application” – it gained marks for being easy to read and clear. It focused strongly on outcomes and showed a great range of initiatives that go beyond what is statutory, particularly in the public sector. One judge noted the entry showed “excellent examples of really making a difference to employees’ work and family lives”.



Employers For Childcare's Family Friendly Employer Awards
Public Sector Winner 2018
South Eastern Regional College


Public Sector - Highly Commended

Belfast City Council impressed the judges with the way evidence was shown of promoting family friendly initiatives to all staff, no matter what type of environment they worked in, not just those who were office-based.