Ebbw Vale care provider shortlisted for VQ Employer of the Year Award

Posted on by karen.smith

Helen Vowles of Trusting Hands is passionate about care training.

Well trained and skilled staff are helping an Ebbw Vale based care provider ensure it delivers the best possible service to service users.

Now Trusting Hands, which was set up by Helen Vowles, is one of three finalists in the running to become VQ Employer of the Year at the showpiece awards ceremony on June 4, VQ Day, at Coleg y Cymoedd, Nantgarw.

VQ Day is a national celebration of people who have achieved success in vocational education in Wales. The event supports the aspiration that vocational qualifications, which are not just for young people, should achieve parity of esteem alongside other educational routes.

Helen Vowles was so passionate about training in the industry that she decided to run her own domiciliary care company to ensure the development of a highly skilled workforce within the sector.

The company actively recruits people from disadvantaged areas with few or no qualifications but who have the caring attitude that is needed within the care sector. It then provides a comprehensive training package, which ensures staff have all the necessary skills and qualifications to support their work and careers.

More than 86 per cent of Trusting Hands employees are currently working towards an Apprenticeship in Health and Social Care. This is well above the industry’s mandatory level of 50 per cent.

Helen has also been involved with Jobs Growth Wales through Educ8 Ltd, providing six months work experience to young people. She builds on what they achieve within the programme with the aim of recruiting them after their placement through clear training and development.

Part of the training and development programme ensures staff who want to work with people with specific requirements, such as those with Parkinson’s Disease, are provided with an appropriate training plan to support their skills and competence.

“I have been working with Helen for many years as her operations manager and I can honestly say that Helen has an overriding duty to ensure all staff working for her are trained to the highest standards,” said Jill Williams.

Trusting Hands received a glowing report from Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) in 2014, recognising the investment that the company puts into training and staff development “well over and above the industry’s mandatory training requirements.”

The other companies competing for the VQ Employer of the Year Award are The Village Bakery, Wrexham and Hengoed Court care home, Swansea.

The six VQ Learner of the Year finalists are Matthew Edwards, an apprentice butcher with S. A. Vaughan Family Butchers, Penyfford, near Chester who was nominated by Cambrian Training Company, Ashleigh Zeta Jones and chef Rhys Sinfield who were both nominated by Bridgend College, Ebbi Ferguson who was nominated by Coleg Sir Gâr, Llanelli, Corey Nixon nominated by Gower College Swansea and St Clears nursery owner Emma Thomas who was nominated by City and County of Swansea Lifelong Learning and Employment Training Service.

Learning providers across Wales are being encouraged to organise regional events to celebrate VQ Day and engage with learners of all ages. VQ Day and the VQ Awards are co-ordinated in Wales by ColegauCymru and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) with the support of the Welsh Government and part funded by the European Social Fund.

Wales’ Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates, wished the nine finalists success on June 4. “Vocational Qualifications are the gold standard in professional excellence and we must ensure they are recognised alongside academic qualifications for their value to learners and the Welsh economy.

“Wales has a real wealth of talented and committed people who have excelled in their vocational studies and VQ Day is a chance for us to celebrate their achievements. A VQ award is more than just an award; it’s a symbol of dedication towards your chosen profession.

“It’s also equally important that we recognise the role of employers in promoting vocational qualifications in the workplace. Their support and commitment will be vital if we are to achieve our ambition of creating a more highly-skilled Wales.

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