Nicola conquers dyslexia to land top job at award-winning care firm

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A mum of two who is severely dyslexic and left school at 16 with no qualifications has landed a top job at one of Wales’s leading care organisations.

Nicola Brantley, 37, has been appointed Deputy Care Operations Officer, for the award-winning Pendine Park care organisation which looks after 450 residents at eight homes in Wrexham and Caernarfon and employs over 800 staff.

The Birkenhead-born healthcare specialist left Rock Ferry High School with a blank CV.

She said: “At school, I was basically left at the back of the classroom because I was considered to be a non-starter academically speaking.”

“Leaving school without a single GCSE because I was severely dyslexic was very daunting.

“But I attended college where I completed a certificate in child care and education and managed to get a job at a children’s nursery.

“I have natural caring nature and this in part is because of my family background with mental health problems.

“I just used what I did naturally at home and what I enjoyed in looking after people to start on a pathway into care but certainly I never expected to go to university.”

That happened when Nicola, who lives in Mold, qualified as a Registered Nurse in Learning Disabilities at the University of Chester, in 2009.

Nicola gained her first nursing role when she joined Mental Health Care (MHC) Ltd which has homes across North Wales and the North West.

She spent 11 years with them, rising to the position of registered manager, before last year joining the Priory Group, one of the UK’s biggest mental health care organisations with 500 sites and over 7,000 beds.

Nicola has worked extensively with adults with learning disabilities, many of whom have a forensic history and have spent time in prison and high secure services, who have histories of violence and sexual offences.

“She said: “Many of them had significant challenging behaviour. It’s the kind of job that’s not for everyone but I found it very rewarding.”

She left MHC to join the Priory Group but was then headhunted by Pendine Park to join their new senior nursing team at their homes in Wrexham and Caernarfon as Deputy Care Operations Officer.

Mario Kreft, MBE, the owner of Pendine Park and chair of Care Forum Wales, which represents over 500 care sector companies across Wales, said: “We were looking for a particular skillset and Nicola fitted the bill best by a country mile.

“It’s about making sure that at Pendine Park we meet all the challenges and changes which are happening in the care sector.

“We want a developmental and dynamic quality  of care assurance system that’s fit for the future and Nicola will be at the heart of that.”

Nicola, whose sons are aged 10 and 5, added: “It’s my dream job. I have a real passion for quality improvement and when I was approached by Pendine Park I was delighted to accept.”

Care Operations Officer Sandra Evans said: “I am delighted to be able to welcome Nicola as a valuable new member of the team.

“Her background, skills and personal qualities make her a great fit for Pendine’s ethos of providing the best, quality assured care and to be constantly striving to raise the bar in terms of our standards.”