A former investment manager who switched careers to work in care is celebrating the fruits of her labour after taking silver at a national awards ceremony.
Cerianne Gratton, from Barry, won the second highest prize at this year’s Wales Care Awards, held at City Hall in Cardiff.
The mum-of-three had been shortlisted for the Promoting Fulfilled Lives Award, sponsored by Boots Healthcare, following her rapid rise to success as Registered Manager at domiciliary care provider All Care (S Wales) Ltd.
The national awards, run by Care Forum Wales and sponsored overall by Ontex Healthcare and Barchester Jobs, acknowledge the hard work and exceptional performances of those in the care sector.
Cerianne accepted her silver award at a glittering ceremony hosted by tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, best known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV adverts.
“I was really surprised about the nomination as I had no idea,” she admitted.
“Keri, my boss, took a huge chance on me coming into the sector when there are so many changes taking place and into a role which entails huge responsibility. I’m honoured and very grateful for the chance she gave me, even though sometimes this job is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life!
“It’s also lovely that so many people wrote testimonies to back up my nomination.”
Cerianne formally worked in the financial services sector for 17 years protecting the multimillion pound investments of large corporate firms.
But after years of staring at a computer screen and little – if any – human interaction, the 38-year-old decided she needed a career change and returned to a company she had completed administrative training with at the age of 16.
Cerianne, who lives with her husband Adrian, 43, also in social care, and children, Billy, 21, Callie, 12, and Robbie, 11, left Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School at 16 and was taken on by All Care South Wales Ltd to work as an YTS admin trainee at one of its nursing homes in Barry.
After 12 months, Cerianne moved to the financial services sector with Legal and General, initially working in a Cardiff call centre selling insurance before being promoted as a compliance consultant and lastly as an investments manager.
It was when her youngest child, Robbie, started school full-time that Cerianne decided it was time to try something new.
“It came to the point where my children were at full time school age and didn’t need me around so much anymore,” she said.
“There was little opportunity to build relationships with people in my job. My only colleague was my computer! I really wanted to do something completely different and I felt I had more to give people. I wanted to interact and make a difference to people’s lives.”
Cerianne contacted her former manager at All Care in search of work and discovered the registered manager’s post would soon be available. She applied and was appointed deputy manager three years ago.
“I had to start from the very beginning and learn about care because I had no clue as to what care management was all about,” she said.
“I didn’t come from a care background and I wanted to do everything the carers did to build up their trust and respect.
“Those early days really opened my eyes.”
Following the completion of her QCF Level 5 management award, Cerianne became the registered manager of the company, overseeing up to 100 carers and administrative staff across the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff from the company’s head office in Barry.
Cerianne says one of the most rewarding aspects of her job now is helping staff develop and recognise their full potential.
“We’ve had care staff who don’t realise their own worth or potential and others who lack in confidence and when they’ve come to us they’ve flourished,” she said.
“I’ve been lucky enough to be in a position to give them that little bit of support and reassurance.”
Nominating Cerianne for the award, Keri Llewellyn, company director, said: “Cerianne has totally embraced the mission and culture of All Care where we are committed to being the best we can and thinking outside the box to improve people’s lives.”
She added: “Cerianne has become my right arm and a person I can be confident in to manage and guide the company. We are stronger and have developed so much as a company during her time in a management position.”
Mario Kreft, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the standard of entries was extremely high.
He added: “There are only winners here tonight so it is only fitting that the finalists will receive a gold, silver or bronze Wales Care Award.
“I trust that they will continue to inspire those around them as role models and encourage others to aspire to even greater heights in the months and years to come.
“This awards ceremony is our opportunity to pay tribute and to celebrate the talent and commitment that is improving the quality of life for thousands and thousands of people throughout Wales.