In a challenging year, gladiators of equality, diversity, and inclusion shine through

An blue toned graphic image of a speech bubble that reads "2021 FREDIE Awards"

Article Overview:

The FREDIE Awards are presented by the National Centre for Diversity (NCFD) to recognise and honour organisations and individuals that exemplify excellence in promoting Fairness, Respect, Equality, Diversity, Inclusion, and Engagement (FREDIE). These awards celebrate companies across various sectors—private, public, and charity—that have demonstrated outstanding commitment to creating inclusive environments. The awards aim to benchmark best practices and inspire others to advance equality and inclusivity in the workplace. At the 2021 ceremony VINCI UK claimed the top spot, while Zoe Shackleton of Huddersfield Town AFC and Karen Wallace of ScotRail were recognised for their contributions to promoting inclusive practices.

The UK’s leading organisation promoting Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion, the National Centre for Diversity, announced the winners of its prestigious FREDIE (Fairness, Respect, Equality, Diversity, Inclusion, Engagement) 2021 Awards list and the Top 100 Most Inclusive Workplaces 2021, last night.

This year’s FREDIEs, held online, showcased, celebrated, and honoured companies as exemplars in promoting excellence and individuals recognised for their contributions and commitment to improving practice and making environments more inclusive.

The FREDIEs have fast become benchmarks for companies across the private, public and charity sectors.

VINCI UK got the coveted top spot in the NCFD’s Top 100 Most Inclusive Workplaces 2021 making it Organisation of the Year as well as Construction Company of the Year. Huddersfield Town AFC HR Manager, Zoe Shackleton, took the awards for HR Manager of the Year and FREDIE Lead of the Year.

This year the Most Inspiring Individual of the Year went to Karen Wallace of ScotRail.

Solat Chaudhry, NCFD Chief Executive, said: “Warmest congratulations to everyone who was nominated and to the winners. It’s been a challenging year and yet, it has not dented the excellent work that organisations and individuals do in promoting FREDIE best practice.

“We had to have these awards this year. We could not ignore the fantastic efforts that everyone has continued doing. Every one of the nominees has inspired us.”

“All of the winners showed consummate professionalism and wonderful inclusive leadership from the senior management down to all the teams that deliver on the ground, and I congratulate everyone who works so hard day-in day-out to maintain these high standards.

“2021 has been dominated by Covid, George Floyd and Black Lives Matter. The people and organisations recognised in our Springtime honours have been gladiators for inclusion in the coliseum of their workplaces all in in the context of the war against the pandemic. Gladiators we honour you!

“Through the work of the FREDIES we are able to build a better society, and this is reflected in the Top 100 Most Inclusive Workplaces 2021 which is a wonderful cross section of private, public, education and charity sectors representing the very best in FREDIE policy.”

Jim Aleander, a member of NCFD’s independent judging panel said: “This year proved to be no different from past years. The quality and standard of nominations was phenomenally high and as diverse as ever.

“What the NCFD awards superbly show is the ingenuity and commitment of people in all types of public and private employment settings who really do “go the extra mile” in advancing equality.”

­­­The Top 100 Most Inclusive Workplaces index is put together as a result of a company survey sent to all employees from companies that work towards and achieve one of the NCFD’s Investors in Diversity or Leaders in Diversity accreditations. An algorithm is then used to benchmark the organisations and compile the Index.

The list is compiled to recognise and support the companies that are held up as the best in promoting EDI and fairness in the workplace, through implementing excellent policies that deliver transformational change.

The prestigious event was hosted online by Dr Hanif Malik OBE and guests enjoyed live entertainment from virtual magician Matt Fell who wowed the audience and a specially composed poem; read by performance poet Stephen Morrison-Burke, known through his poems written for the Nationwide Building Society adverts.


Stay up to speed with the latest on EDI in the UK workplace from The National Centre For Diversity.