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Ken Belshaw Co-Founder of Grafton Recruitment Awarded NRF Lifetime Achievement Award

Updated: Feb 22, 2018

Ken Belshaw has been awarded the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award given by the National Recruitment Federation of Ireland. A well-known figure throughout; Ireland—North and South, he co-founded Grafton Recruitment with the late James Kilbane in 1983. Today the Grafton Recruitment Group has 44 branches in 22 countries.


Ken Belshaw has worked in Recruitment for 42 years. Originally from Belfast he joined SOS Bureau, part of Hestair plc, in Edinburgh in 1975. Starting in tele-sales as a Vacancy Controller he progressed to Branch Manager with Hestair in Edinburgh and London.


Returning to Ireland he helped establish Marlborough Employment before opening Grafton Recruitment in Dublin in 1983 and Belfast in 1985. In 1994 Grafton established its first international branch in Prague and today the company has 25 branches in CEE.


Commenting on the award Ken Belshaw said:

“I am very grateful to the NRF and my colleagues and friends over all the years. I look back and think of all the people who helped set standards for our industry. Looking around tonight I recognise their efforts and the professionalism we have achieved and I am overwhelmed by this award”

Ken Belshaw (64) is now retired from day-to-day involvement with Grafton Recruitment. He was Managing Director when Grafton won the Queens Award for Enterprise in 2002 and 2006.


In addition he was awarded the prestigious Gratis Agit award by the Czech Nation alongside US Secretary of State Madeline Allbright in a ceremony in Prague in 2006. A Visiting Professor of Ulster University Business School and Chairman of the Player Services Board of the Irish Rugby Union Players Association he continues to mentor young people on their careers. He is Honorary Consul for Hungary in Northern Ireland.



Ken is married to Iris who as Ken says

“Deserves a lifetime-achievement award for putting up with me!”

They have four children and live in Garvagh, Northern Ireland.

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