We are excited to report that Sarah has won yet another award!

She has been awarded the title of New Employer of the Year by The Training People at Blackburn College.  This award is reserved for new employers who have a distinctive and exemplary approach to employee relations and staff development.

Sarah said:

“We have a unique way of hand-picking the most talented people and encouraging them to do more of what they love to do best.  This is through a formal recruitment process and apprentice schemes. We are proud of our grow-your-own approach.

‘There is no blame culture in our organisation – only one where there is always a lesson to be learnt.

‘All employees are given flexible working hours and individual contracts; it is a two way process for the organisation.

‘Work shouldn’t be ‘noses to the grindstone’ all of the time.  Our office is a lovely place to be.  We will often break off to have a chat with each other, have lunch together or simply a coffee.  We all have a great sense of humour, and this keeps the atmosphere light and lively.

‘As a caring organisation we offer a variety of rewards, from personal individualised gifts on away days, birthdays and Christmas, to bonus vouchers and the whole team share in successes.  Away days are used for business development and investment in staff roles and responsibilities.  It gives space and time for reflection, debriefing, and to grow and develop our products ensuring care, creativity and safeguarding stay at the core of the team.  This alongside individual investment of time and money for attending subject specific conferences, workshops and training enables us all to continually refine our products, customer service and strive to meet our objectives.

‘All staff have one to one supervision sessions that facilitate personal and professional support.”

Sarah winning this award has been no surprise to her team.

Lucy Dixon, Adminstrator, observed:

“Sarah sees the positive in everyone, especially her staff.  She has encouraged me to develop my talents every step of the way, trusting me to undertake new responsibilities and giving me opportunities that many people if my age don’t get.”

Susannah Gilchrist, Creative Facilitator remarked:

“Sarah’s level of faith in her team members is a great motivator.  She is a pioneer in getting the best out of her staff by creating a superb working environment and offering flexible working arrangements.  She treats every one of her employees as a personal friend, and we all have a strong sense of loyalty to the company and to Sarah because of this.”

Emily Wood, Apprentice Administrator, commented:

“I started with The Athena Programme as an apprentice in December 2010.  In the short time I have known Sarah she has made me feel welcome and part of the team.  The reason I like coming to work is because everyone is so nice, and feel that Sarah treats everyone as an equal no matter what their position.”

For further information on The Training People at Blackburn College, visit:



The Athena Programme is a team of experienced professionals specialising in safeguarding with care and creativity.  Our goal is to help people protect children, young people and vulnerable adults and to make organisations, staff and working environments safer by providing training and consultancy that is dynamic, inclusive and relevant.

Call us now on 01200 428769.