One of the biggest winners at the recent Training Journal (TJ) Awards – held at ‘8 Northumberland’ in London’s Northumberland Avenue – was Neil Mullarkey, who appeared as his alter ego, L Vaughan Spencer.


‘L-Vo’, as he likes to be known in homage to J-Lo, is a self-confessed, egocentric, motivational guru and life coach who teaches people how to be ‘succeeders’ (see: Allegedly renamed ‘Talking Bull’ by Native Americans, L-Vo certainly lives up to his name – but, as a review from the London Evening Standard has said: ‘…full of quasi-fascistic psychobabble, he delivers some brilliantly breathless raps. Spencer does for motivational tree-hugging what Al Murray’s Pub Landlord does for tin-pot barmen, twisting language until the laughs cascade.’


Less frighteningly and embarrassingly thought-provoking – on all sorts of levels – were the actual TJ Award winners:

  • Best Training Partnership: Explosive Learning Solutions with the MoD
  • Best Coaching Programme: Leo Pharma
  • Best Not-for-Profit Initiative: Midland Heart
  • Best e-learning Programme: Domino’s Pizza Group UK & Ireland Ltd
  • Best Commercial – over 1,000 Employees: HSBC Bank Plc OBCE
  • Best Commercial – under 1,000 Employees: Centrica Storage Ltd
  • Best Change Management Programme: Talarius Ltd
  • Best Apprenticeship Programme: Mott MacDonald
  • Best Public Service initiative: Chelmsford Borough Council
  • Best Practice in Learning Transfer: Schindler
  • Best Customer Service Programme: HSBC Bank Plc
  • Learning and Development Professional of the Year: Alan Ovens, of Bupa International


Congratulations to them all – and to all those who competed in this year’s awards but who fell slightly short of being, in L-Vo’s term, succeeders this time around.