Cath, from Southsea, has been the chief executive at EBP South – a charity that provides career guidance from its Lakeside head office – for nearly two decades.
In her role she has helped thousands of young people, and worked with hundreds of schools, colleges, universities, councils and businesses.
Last night she was overwhelmed to be handed the Lifetime Achievement award at The News’ Business Excellence Awards at Portsmouth Guildhall.
The honour was a complete surprise to Cath as she had been secretly put forward for the award by a panel of expert judges.
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Cath said: ‘I am genuinely shocked. I haven’t quite taken it all in yet. We were here as EBP South was shortlisted for Community Contribution and I was delighted to be here to celebrate that. I had absolutely no idea that I had been put forward for this award. It is amazing.’
The judges chose Cath as she has taken EBP South through the vast changes to the income streams and changes in government support in order to build a resilient sustainable charity that has been able to provide a range of services to meet the needs of young people.
In EBP she has taken the organisation that predominantly worked in Portsmouth to covering all of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and surrounding areas.
She is an advocate in encouraging businesses to be proactive in supporting young people through sponsorship and time at events and mentoring.
Cath said that her success was down to her team.
She said: ‘First and foremost it is all down to teamwork. I have an amazing team of people behind me. Secondly it is down to our amazing business partners. I work with thousands of businesses and schools and it wouldn’t be possible without their support.’
She works closely with the business community to help them look at their recruitment pipeline and provide support through EBP South’s programmes to inspire young people from primary age into their industry.
Cath said: ‘I have grown and developed this organisation from a small, not for profit organisation, to becoming a major charitable company providing services in the fields of careers education and guidance across Hampshire.
‘The essence of what we do is getting students to meet those individuals from businesses by going out in the workplace and having that experience, it’s people from businesses coming in to help them prepare for work, whether that is preparing for an interview or by becoming a mentor.
‘Perhaps one of the most important roles of EBP South is broadening the horizons of young people by connecting them to businesses.’
Lucy Gleisner, from sponsor Trethowans, said: ‘The night has been fantastic and it was great to see Cath’s face. She was genuinely shocked. It is so great to see somebody who so deserves this award win it.’