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It’s magic! Illusionist Ben Hanlin presents EDA Investor in Training Awards

Cheeky magician, Ben Hanlin, hosted the Electrical Distributors’ Association’s (EDA) annual Education & Training Awards in front of over 500 guests at the Association’s Annual Dinner on Thursday 3 March 2022. Nine high performing leaders from EDA wholesalers and manufacturers received Investor in Training trophies.

EDA Investor in Training Award Winners 2022 | Back row: Left to Right: Ben Hanlin, Magician; Andy Procter, CEF; Simon Thwaite, T.N. Robinson Ltd; Chris Ashworth, MD at CEF and EDA President; Perry Jones from sponsors EDA Apprenticeships Plus; Grant Dixon, MD, Securi-Flex Ltd; Tony Hughes, MD, Strike Electrical Distributors. | Front Row: Left to Right: Alec Smith, Electric Center; Denise Hermon, AT&T; Nicky Pearce, Stearn Electric Co Ltd; Vicky Ordish, Rexel UK Ltd; Adrian Harrison, 3 Line Electrical Wholesale.

Performing his own brand of mind-bending magic, and a truly amazing envelope trick, Ben presented trophies to nine managers hand-picked from over 350 EDA member businesses.

For championing the EDA’s Product Knowledge Modules and/or the EDA Apprenticeship Service within their businesses, this year’s winners are:

  1. Simon Thwaite, Commercial Director, T.N. Robinson Ltd in Stockport, part of the ANEW buying group;

  2. Adrian Harrison, Customer Support Manager, 3 Line Electrical Wholesale in Norwich, part of the AWEBB buying group;

  3. Andy Procter, Group Manager Redditch, CEF;

  4. Alec Smith, Profit Centre Manager, Electric Center in Dudley, part of Edmundson Electrical Ltd;

  5. Simon Pates, Director, AT&T (GB) Ltd, part of the Fegime UK Ltd buying group. This is a posthumous award collected on Simon’s behalf by Denise Hermon;

  6. Marc Roberts, Manager, Facilities Management National Contact Centre for Rexel UK Ltd in Warrington.

  7. Vicky Ordish, Apprenticeship Programme Manager at Rexel UK Ltd collected the Award on Marc’s behalf;

  8. Nicky Pearce, Centre Manager, Stearn Electric Co Ltd in Leighton Buzzard;

  9. Tony Hughes, Managing Director, Strike Electrical Distributors Ltd in Walsall, part of The IBA Buying Group;

  10. Grant Dixon, Managing Director, Securi-Flex Ltd, an EDA Affiliate Manufacturer

EDA President, CEF’s Chris Ashworth, who presented the EDA trophies alongside Perry Jones, Head of Partnerships at sponsors EDA Apprenticeships Plus, said:

Chris Ashworth, MD at CEF and EDA President
These Investor in Training trophy winners recognize that when you look after your people they will do great things for your business. Training isn’t a perk, it is the lifeblood of your organization. At a time when it is challenging to find and recruit new talent for your team, it’s far better to develop the people you already have: in return they will work hard for your business because they are valued and motivated.

Margaret Fitzsimons, CEO at the EDA, added:

These EDA Awards are proof positive that the UK’s electrotechnical sector invests in the professional development of its people. While the number of Awards we can present each year is limited, there are thousands of inspiring stories of people building their skills and careers through training and making a fantastic contribution to their businesses in return. This is a great story to tell in the drive to attract the best and brightest talent to the UK’s electrotechnical sector. Our training and apprenticeship service for members is a hugely important part of the Association’s work, and it is gratifying to hear from our winners the positive impact it is delivering in their businesses.

Ben Hanlin, Magician

Ben Hanlin is the star of his award winning ITV2 shows "Tricked" and "Ben Hanlin’s Live & Deadly: Drowned". He has made a name for himself by tricking unsuspecting members of the public and shocking celebrities with his own special brand of cheeky magic, close-up conjuring and mind games Candid Camera-style.

Ben has starred in the world’s best-selling touring show "The Illusionists" and recently appeared on ITV1’s "Live at the Palladium".

He became an overnight sensation debuting his incredible tricks as Magic Boy on You Tube, Ben has over 900,000 views on You Tube!

Ben has performed tricks on celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Sharon Osbourne, Anthony Joshua, Gary Barlow.

Ben hails from Birmingham and over the last ten years he has been performing his sleight of hand and stage magic at events all over the UK and the world.

Ben has performed at all sorts of functions from close up intimate shows to large scale stage tricks and illusions. His warm, cheeky style makes him an instant hit wherever he performs!

Ben’s big break came from YouTube. In 2010 Ben used social media to "stalk" celebrities, doorstep them and perform magic. This crazy journey resulted in him performing tricks through Michael McIntyre’s car window, in David Hasselhoff’s dressing room and eventually Ben headed to Hollywood to perform to Jamie Foxx, Quentin Tarantino and Mickey Rourke. This different approach to magic caught the attention of television executives.

Since then Ben has written and starred in his own TV show, Tricked and feature in many other TV productions. He has also hosted his own radio show on Capital FM and been involved in many live theatre productions.

About the Electrical Distributors’ Association (EDA)

Serving and representing the UK's electrical wholesale sector for over 100 years the Electrical Distributors' Association (EDA) is a membership organization for the UK's electrical wholesale sector. Launched in 1914 as the Electrical Wholesalers' Federation (EWF), the Association refocused and rebranded in 1998 as the EDA. Membership is available to wholesalers, whilst manufacturers can join as affiliated members.

Benefits of membership include:

  1. Events, Forums, Publications and Visibility

  2. Digitalization, including ETIM (the global data standard) and EDATA, the ‘for the industry by the industry’ data pool

  3. Training & Apprenticeships

  4. Industry Insight

The EDA’s Training & Apprenticeship Programme is twofold: apprenticeships and the City & Guilds accredited Product Knowledge Programme of 12 modules. Each module is standalone distance-learning training course, comprising a hard-copy Textbook and a digital End of Module Assessment (EDA). The EDA appointed the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) to manage the Programme.

In 2011 the EDA partnered with EDA Apprenticeships Plus to offer comprehensive and flexible apprenticeship service for the Associations' members and affiliates. The menu of services includes all recruitment, HR and mentoring support and can be tailored around the needs of the business. Managers benefit from ready access to apprenticeship expertise and support to help navigate the training and funding landscape. In addition, EDA Apprenticeships Plus offer levy management services to larger businesses.

The EDA currently has over 250 wholesaler members and over 100 affiliated members, who are suppliers of products or services. Membership includes the leading national wholesalers Edmundson Electrical Ltd, Rexel UK and CEF as well as hundreds of independent electrical wholesales businesses of all sizes, most of whom are members of the UK’s largest buying groups ANEW, AWEBB, Fegime UK and The IBA Buying Group.

The EDA has been a member of the European Union of Electrical Wholesalers (EUEW) since


The EDA represents an estimated 75-80% of the UK electrical wholesale industry.


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