Award finalist Melissa takes learners out of their comfort zones
Encouraging learners to leave their comfort zones has produced some astonishing results for Melissa O’Connor, who continues to lead by example at Cardiff-based Portal Training.
The former higher education lecturer encourages learners who are seeking a Higher Apprenticeship in Leadership and Management across a range of sectors to set challenging personal targets by applying for promotions whilst still undergoing their training.
It has led to many stepping up the career ladder quicker than expected, with four out of six at one of her establishments attaining senior positions/promotions within 12 months of starting their courses.
Now Melissa’s work and personal development has been recognised as she has been shortlisted for the Work-based Learning Assessor of the Year Award at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, the annual celebration of outstanding achievement in training and apprenticeships.
Thirty-four finalists in a dozen categories are in the running for the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, which will be presented at a high-profile ceremony at the new International Convention Centre Wales, Newport, on October 24.
The awards showcase the successes of the best learners, employers, tutors and assessors in Wales who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeship and Apprenticeship programmes.
Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru has Openreach, the UK’s digital network business, as its premier sponsor this year. The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
Before joining Portal Training in October 2017, Melissa enjoyed 12 years within both the further and higher education sectors, teaching subjects ranging from Level 2 GCSE to Level 6 BSc Hons Degree.
Her role as an ILM Management Assessor commands her to adopt a flexible approach to her delivery and assessment practices and, at any given time, Melissa could be supporting and guiding 37 learners.
“Melissa provides amazing support to her learners, working tirelessly to ensure they achieve their full potential and develop into adept leaders and managers,” said Clare Jeffries, Portal Training’s Operations Director.
Melissa’s subject specialism is business sustainability, marketing and reflective practice and she is a true advocate for lifelong education and work-based learning. Her own qualifications include a PGCE in Adult and Lifelong Learning, an MA in Education and a Level 5 ILM qualification in Leadership and Management.
“Being an assessor is such a rich and rewarding career,” said Melissa. “I thrive on seeing learners develop their own professional practice and thoroughly enjoy developing good, strong working relationships with both the learners and mentors within the organisation.
“The qualifications I have achieved have benefitted me as they have developed my knowledge and understanding, which enables me to feel confident in supporting my learners throughout their journey.”
Minister for the Economy and Transport, Ken Skates, congratulated Melissa and all the other shortlisted finalists.
“Our Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship programmes are helping increasing numbers of people to gain the skills and experience that we know businesses across all sectors of the economy in Wales really need,” he said.
“The Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate and showcase the achievements of everyone involved in those programmes from our star apprentices and employers, to learning providers and trainees.”