Five young women have all landed permanent jobs at the Caernarfon dementia care centre of excellence which hosted the life-changing training course they took part in.
Becky Ward, 26, Roxanne Aston, 20, Ellen Robinson, 28, Kelly Thomson, 30, and 26-year-old Emma Fozzard became enrolled on the Into Health and Social Care course run by a partnership between the Prince’s Trust charity and the award-winning Pendine Park care organisation.
The course was the second to be held at Pendine’s flagship Bryn Seiont Newydd care home which opened in 2015. Following the recent opening of new luxury companion living apartments, 140 people are employed there.
It was aimed at young people aged 18-30 from the Caernarfon and Bangor area who were NEET – Not in Education, Employment or Training.
During the intensive three-week course and closely supervised by experienced staff, the fivesome covered subjects such as basic first aid and manual handling and the safeguarding of vulnerable adults.
They also spent time working with support staff caring for residents with dementia and also helping with the home’s celebrated enrichment programme which includes encouraging residents to enjoy taking part in art and music and movement sessions.
At a special ceremony in the home’s purpose-built music room they received their graduation certificates and warm praise from course leaders.
And each of them spoke of the difference being on the course has made to their lives.
Becky Ward, from Carmel near Caernarfon, described how despite acquiring a number of child care qualifications she had not managed to get a job after a couple of years of trying.
She said: “After school I went to Coleg Llandrillo to study child care. After that I went on to Bangor University to do childhood studies and psychology.
“Even though I had my degree I was unable to find a job. I must have sent out 30 applications to nursery and schools but was unsuccessful every time.
“I was just starting to feel very depressed about it when I was selected for the Prince’s Trust course.
“Everyone at the home was so supportive and I felt very much part of the team. It was great to discover I’m good at something.
“Thanks to being on the course I’ve now been lucky enough to get a permanent job at Bryn Seiont as a care practitioner, which is just amazing.”
It was a similar story with fellow course member, 20-year-old Roxanne Aston from Caernarfon.
“My last job was bar-work but only at weekends and I was looking for something more fulfilling and challenging,” she said.
“I was thrilled to be selected for the course. I learned so much and also really enjoyed it.
“I’ve now got a job at Bryn Seiont as a care practitioner, which I’m very happy about, and the experience I gain will help me to achieve my ambition to one day become a social worker.
“The course gave me new confidence and skills and has meant a big turn-around in my life.”
Proud of her new role as a care support worker at Bryn Seiont is 28-year-old Ellen Robinson from Bangor who said: “This is the first time I’ve had a job since leaving school about 12 years ago.
“I’ve had four children – two sons and two daughters – aged five to 10 and that doesn’t leave much time for anything else.
“The Prince’s Trust course was brilliant and has given me lots of new skills which will stand me in good stead for the future. I’m so grateful for being selected for it and for all the help we were given by the staff at Bryn Seiont. This has definitely changed my life for the better.”
Kelly Thomson, 30, from Mynydd Llandygai, near Bangor, said: “I’d had loads of different jobs since leaving school, mostly in retail but also in child care, none of which were very fulfilling.
“When I was selected for the course I was delighted because I’ve always wanted to care for people – and I have some practice after looking after a son and a daughter aged three and seven.
“The course was an amazing experience, taught me a lot and has given me much more confidence in myself. The staff at the home treated me as part of the team.
“As a result of being on the course I’ve now been fortunate enough to get a job as a care support worker at Bryn Seiont.”
Another new member of the care support team thanks to the course is 26-year-old Emma Fozzard from Nebo near Penygroes.
She had been working as a waitress but was looking for something more testing when she was invited to join the course.
“It was perfect timing for me and the course was very useful. I learned a lot from it and it’s helped me to get a start in caring, which I always wanted to do but didn’t have the necessary experience for,” she said.
Handing out the graduation certificates to the five new recruits, Ian Thomas, Wales-wide programme manager for the Into Health and Social Care course, told them: “You have all done brilliantly and everyone is proud of what you have achieved.
“The team at Pendine Park and Bryn Seiont Newydd are always fantastic and are a massive credit to the organisation.
“They’ve helped with this course on top of their normal day-jobs and I’d like to say a big thank you to them for giving us this opportunity. At the Prince’s Trust we aim to change people’s lives and we’ve certainly done this here.”
Anna Jones, course assessor for Bryn Seiont, said: “All five of the young ladies on the course were really enthusiastic and were prepared to try all the tasks allocated to them.
“On their first week I know they were very nervous but by week two everyone was much more confident. The course also received massive support from the Prince’s Trust for which I’d like to thank them.”
Manager of Bryn Seiont Newydd, Sandra Evans, was delighted that all five people on the course had been given jobs at the home.
“It was a brilliant experience for everyone and all those on the course were so enthusiastic,” she said.
“They are all going to be a real asset to us and are just the sort of people we need in a caring environment such as ours.
“Actually, we often find that, after benefiting from our high quality training programme, people with no previous experience can end up making the best carers.”