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Today (5th October) at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, the six finalists for the title of UK Worker of the Year came face-to-face with the judging panel to do battle for the prestigious title and ultimately, win a car.

The finalists, who one-by-one had to sit in front of the five judges, were selected from almost 3,000 original entries from the nations’ workforce.

Similar to the event last year, they represented a wide range of professions and across a wide geographical spread and comprised of: Kevin Wilson – a maintenance assistant from Doncaster; Andrew Sullivan – a general manager of a contract catering company from Kent; Anna Bettis – a painter & decorator from Suffolk; Tom Edwards – a pest controller from Somerset; Lee Harvey – a deputy stage manager from Essex and Di Mayze – a manufacturer and inventor from Nottingham.

The UK Worker of the Year, sponsored by Dickies and SEAT is now in its third year to recognise, reward and promote excellence in the British workforce.

“The number of entries to the competition continues to increase every year and the quality has been noticeably stronger than in previous years. This is my third year as a judge, but this year has been quite different to the previous two. The candidates were from a variety of backgrounds and working environments, but were all able to draw upon their past experiences and communicate their passion for their work. There were a few positive surprises, but I know the winner we have chosen is worthy of the title of the UK Worker of the Year,” enthused Maurice Morton, European sales and marketing director for world-renowned workwear firm Dickies.

“We’re really excited about our involvement with this great competition, which has coincided with the launch of the Ecomotive version of the Exeo,” said SEAT fleet & business sales & marketing manager and WOTY judge Peter Brooking. “I found the judging an interesting and unique experience; the finalists were all of a very high calibre and we had quite a debate over the second and third positions although the winner was more clear cut.”

As Peter implied, the competition’s winner will receive a superb SEAT Exeo S Ecomotive 2.0, worth more than £20,000, with the two runners-up winning thousands of pounds worth of holidays from Thomas Cook, as well as a host of high quality Dickies workwear.

As good as these prizes are however, 2011 UK Worker of the Year, Anna Simpson reminded the finalists that winning the competition is much more than simply taking one of the great prizes on offer. “Being recognised as UK Worker of the Year has been an enormous honour for me – it’s been a massive confidence boost and something truly life changing for me personally, my colleagues and my whole working environment,” said Anna.

Anna, who was also one of the judges for this year’s competition, added: “All six finalists have experienced hardship due to the downturn in the economy, but their passion and drive continues to shine through. It was interesting to be on the other side of the table this time as I could sympathise with them when they were nervous. They were all worthy winners to me.”

Another of the judges, TV presenter and consumer motoring champion, Quentin Willson said: “The concept behind the competition is to seek out and promote what’s great in the British workforce, and listening to the finalists reminded me just how much we have to be proud of in the UK. I was hugely impressed by all the finalists and I am looking forward to announcing the winner at the awards ceremony on November the 2nd.”

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