The judges selected to pick the winners of one of Lancashire’s leading business awards will undergo a unique training course next Tuesday (April 19).

The Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, has created a tailored package of training to prepare its judges for facing the applicants for the 18 prizes which are up for grabs this year.

Dr Lis Smith, principal at Preston’s College which is sponsoring the awards, said the training was crucial to ensure they were asking the right questions of the applicants to allow them to select the winners.

She will chair the Employer of the Year judging panel which includes the college’s Vice-Principal for Enterprise and Engagement, Carl Speight, Jeff Hays, of recruitment specialists, Hays, and Fylde RFC’s Richard Kernot.

Dr Smith said: “Having been involved in the BIBAs for a number of years now, I know that it prepares its judges superbly for the difficult job of selecting the winners from a superb line-up of applicants.

“Every business and individual which enters these awards has put a huge amount of effort into completing their applications and we owe them to at least match that in our preparation for the interview stages.

“At Preston’s College, we work in partnership with businesses across Lancashire and beyond to help them deliver the support and training to keep our economy thriving, so we recognise what is involved in being a great employer.

“That stands us in good stead to help the judges to select the right winner for the Employer of the Year category and today’s training session will help prepare us further to do that.”

In 2015, Ian Hall, the chairman of Preston-based retail group James Hall and Son, collected the lifetime achievement prize, Lancastrian of the Year, when the BIBAs handed out its prizes in front of a sell-out crowd at the Blackpool Tower in September.

Social enterprise Jobs Friends and Houses CIC, which works with ex-offenders, won its Most Inspiring Business of the Year prize and individual prizes went to Phil Lawson of Skelmersdale’s Virtue Technologies, who won Entrepreneur of the Year and Louise Wilkinson, who runs Nelson-based Lomeshaye Village Day Nursery, who was named Business Woman of the Year.