Meet the stars of wholesale

FWD members were invited to nominate members of their team who have taken on training and career development courses. Following a celebration at the House of Commons, Wholesale News met the shining stars of the sector

In April, the wholesale sector came together at a reception in the House of Commons to celebrate people building careers in wholesale, and FWD members’ investment in skills, training and apprenticeships.

There were 37 winners of the FWD Wholesale Stars awards. In recognition of their achievements, all winners were invited to London to meet MPs from their constituencies and receive a certificate from Shadow Minister (Business and Industrial Strategy) Bill Esterson MP.

“Today’s winners have demonstrated a commitment to learning and a dedication to their careers, and they are an inspiration to us all,” said Mr Esterson.

“They represent the future of the wholesale sector, and I have no doubt that they will continue to achieve great things in their chosen fields. The breadth of achievement and investment in their development by their employers and themselves is inspiring.

“The wholesale sector is a vital part of our economy and it has faced many challenges over the years, from surviving the pandemic to HGV labour shortages, energy costs and high inflation. Despite all this, wholesalers have continued to invest in skills, training and apprenticeships. It is fantastic to see this commitment to developing the sector’s workforce.”


During the event, FWD Chief Executive James Bielby told the 20 MPs present that the food wholesale sector provides the critical link between food and drink manufacturers, and retailers and caterers.

“Our members have annual revenues of £29bn, employ 60,000 people and generate £3bn of gross value added to the UK economy every year,” he said. “They provide food to public sector institutions, as well as supplying the hospitality, private care and convenience sectors all over the country.

“FWD members have a strong commitment to fostering and developing talent within their colleague base and have a strong cohort of apprentices and trainees. That is why we are here today – to recognise and support the contribution wholesalers make to creating sustainable, high-skilled jobs for the future.”


Kelly Burrows, Supply Chain Manager
“Kelly is a brilliant example of how you can develop professionally and have a significant beneficial impact with the right application, focus and determination. She has shown resilience and a passion for inspiring the next generation of women within logistics.”

Daniel Smith, Senior National Account Manager
“Danny has progressed to senior account management, applying his learning with his team and across his accounts. He is an advocate for continuous improvement and learning. He spends a significant part of his working life coaching and developing his team.”


Zaheer Hussain, Operations Manager
“Zaheer has shown dedication and achieved all the necessary training and tools to run a branch successfully. He focuses on customer needs and services.”

Lubna Urooj, Non- Trading Team Leader
“Lubna is dedicated and focused on continuous learning and developing best practice to manage everyday tasks both efficiently and effectively. She goes above and beyond in pursuing excellence.”

Alison Webster, Operations Manager
“Alison deserves this award for showing her passion and commitment in all the roles she has undertaken in her 25 years with Bestway Wholesale. She demonstrates a willingness to develop.”


Pete Thornton, L&D Business Partner
“Pete is an enthusiast for people development and has an attitude and approach that is infectious. He is passionate about supporting our people and has designed and delivered 60 virtual soft skills training sessions for managers.”

Julie Owst, Head of Sustainability & Change
“Julie is willing to invest a great deal of time to developing her knowledge and skills. She is always looking for opportunities to apply her skills to the workplace to add value.”

Ryan Hunt, Transport Team Manager
“Since launching the Driver Academy in April 2022, Ryan has had 14 people successfully qualify as LGV drivers. He is an asset not just to Bidfood but to the logistics industry as a whole.”


Abbigail Rishworth, Product Lifecycle Analyst
“Abbigail started as an apprentice and has excelled in understanding the business. She has demonstrated the desire to make positive changes and get involved to make a difference.”

Joshua Huntley, Supply Planner
“Josh’s passion to pursue and develop his own career while on a second apprenticeship is admirable. He is a real asset, and has become an apprentice ambassador, and helps support visits to schools and colleges.”

Jack Faulkner, Demand Planner
“Jack started as an ambitious, driven young career starter and is now on to his second challenge of the integrated degree to become part of Brakes’ valued talent pipeline. He is always willing to go the extra mile.”

Sarah Newbold, Senior Procurement Manager
“Sarah has shown tenacious dedication to her work and studies for the past four years, managing a challenging job while studying for her MCIPS. She loves to learn and is a credit to wholesale.”

Louise Hatch, Senior Category Management
“Louise self-funded her digital marketing degree and is able to transfer her knowledge into work, supporting growth for the business. She has really driven our digital agenda and continues to be a positive advocate.”

Hannah Howland, Senior Procurement Manager
“Hannah has shown complete dedication to her work and CIPS level 6 studies, managing a challenging role while studying and gaining her MCIPS. She continues to impress and deliver.”

Thomas Phillips, Logistics Coordinator
“Tom’s passion to continue to pursue and develop his career with taking on a second apprenticeship is admirable. He is a real asset to our team, and has become an apprentice ambassador at Brakes.”

Cheyenne Dean, Learning & Development Partner
“Chey has made significant progress throughout her career, giving colleagues multiple opportunities to be the best they can be. By investing in Chey, we are investing in everyone!”


Owen Cummings, Warehouse Apprentice
“Owen joined as an apprentice and is a hard worker, learning tasks quickly in a busy environment. He is adaptable and happy to take on different tasks across the business, no matter how far outside his usual remit.”

Taylor Hipwell, Finance Apprentice
“Taylor is a great asset to the team, works hard with his studies and is passing everything with flying colours. He is a team player, really well liked and this is because he’s trusted to do things in the correct manner. He’s outstanding.”


William Kirwin, Sales Manager/Apprentice
“Will has been working with retailers and wholesalers’ commercial and insight teams to drive relationships and sales. He has strong commercial skills and a real passion for building strong partnerships and relationships.”


Kamila Ossowicka, Sales Office Manager (Bidfresh)
“Kamila is an asset, always looking to learn new things to put into practice. She fully participates in all training and readily shares her experiences with others so everyone can benefit.”


Ben Stocks, Transport Assistant Manager
“Ben’s work ethic is strong and essential to the business. In addition, he’s been passionate about completing vast amounts of training.”

Emily Buckley, Finance Assistant
“Emily has been a pivotal member of our team since joining, and throughout her two years has been praised for her fantastic work ethic.”

Craig Newton, Buying Assistant
“Craig has been a fantastic support to the business, making great improvements. He was massively influential during Covid.”


Levente Deak, HGV Driver
“Levente’s outstanding hard work earned him a promotion. He is a brilliant role model.”

Marian-Vasile Natase, HGV Driver
“Marian is a hard-working individual who has invested time and effort to develop his skills and career.”


Sarah Edgington, Consortium Development Manager
“Sarah has undertaken new responsibilities and has worked in a variety of roles, developed her skills and is a key element of the group.”

John Westwood, Consortium Development Manager
“John has worked tirelessly in developing a new stock and ordering system alongside a new accounting system from scratch.”


Chris Smith, Software Technical Lead
“Chris is proof that you can achieve anything if you take chances.”

Abbie Sutcliff, Business Change Executive
“Abbie is hardworking, driven and supportive, and a crucial part of the team.”


Michelle Edmundson-Harris, Business Development Manager
“Michelle has given 100% to every training module she has completed.”


Mica Bihal, Marketing Manager
“Mica has shown passion and determination in improving our digital customer experience. She has transformed Time’s digital capabilities.”


Sally-Ann Robinson, Executive PA & Events Coordinator
“With a strong desire to support her colleagues and add value to the business, Sally-Ann has identified how she wants to progress her career and has a development plan that she is driving. Her work ethic is exceptional.”

Callum Atkinson, Commercial Analyst
“Callum has consistently looked at ways to improve the service support Unitas provides. He is on a journey to develop suites of reports and tools that enable optimum decision-making around core range and execution, which will help retailers compete.”

Ashleigh Cheetham, Trading Controller
“Ash is the pinnacle of professionalism and goes out of her way to deliver all she can for Unitas members.She is the person that is ‘best in class’ when it comes to approach and sharing best practice, and she raises the bar for the whole team.”

Helen Fotherby, Trading Data Analyst
“Helen goes above and beyond, always willing to help by developing ways to present information and make complicated data easier to understand. Her hunger for finding new ways of analysing data often results in spending her free time identifying improvements.”


Jade Jones, Brand Ambassador
“Jade can turn her hand to every marketing discipline. She understands our customers and can easily recognise the best way to communicate.”


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