A guiding light in the training of social care staff in North Wales is in the running for a national award.
Wrexham council employee Louise Davies Rae has had her name put forward for an accolade at the prestigious Wales Care Awards 2016, known as the social care Oscars.
The award winners will be announced in front of an audience of their peers at a glittering ceremony at Cardiff City Hall on October 21.
Louise, of Bangor-on-Dee, was delighted to hear she was on the shortlist for a gold, silver or bronze honour in recognition of her outstanding service. She is nominated in the commitment to training and workforce development awards category, sponsored by Pendine Park Academy, Wrexham.
Colleagues say Louise is very passionate about promoting the highest possible standards of social care staff training.
Louise started her career as a carer at the age of 17 when she was recruited onto a government-backed Youth Training Scheme at an independent residential home.
She later joined the local authority as a home care worker in Penley and Overton, going on to gain further qualifications and rise through the ranks to become home care manager.
She has spent the last few years as Wrexham County Borough Council’s officer responsible for commissioning staff training provision for independent, third sector and local authority social care staff, including managing the Welsh Government grant allocation designated to funding training.
She was recently promoted to head up the council’s social care workforce development team, a role which she says is immensely satisfying.
“I am lucky to have such a great team and I really do look forward to coming to work every morning.
“On occasions I miss the hands-on part of the job, working directly with people in need of support.
“But what we do here is so important, striving to ensure all staff have the vital skills needed to consistently provide quality care for our most vulnerable members of society.”
Louise’s commitment to the ongoing skills development of social care staff has long impressed her employers, and her dedication goes above and beyond her usual work environment.
She recently helped revise the report-writing guidelines for supervisory staff at her childrens’ after-school club, where she assists as a volunteer.
Louise has eight year old twins, Amy and Daniel, plus three step-children, Charlie, 18, Bailey, 16, and Finlay, nine. Her husband, Greg, formerly worked in children’s homes but now lectures in health and social care at Coleg Cambria, Wrexham.
Wrexham Council Trainer Assessor, Tracey Evans, who nominated Louise for an award, said Louise has always been a keen advocate of using good practice and adhering to professional codes of practice in all situations.
“She is a real role model, passionate about ensuring staff have the right training to deliver the best possible support to all individuals. She ensures wellbeing and quality of life are uppermost in staff approaches,” said Tracey.
She added: “Louise also listens to the team, and empowers us to use our initiative, which creates a proactive workforce.”
Louise works with all bodies involved in delivering care, including training colleges and independent academies, care home and domiciliary care managers and their staff, day care and community health workers, local authorities and Welsh Government representatives.
She also chairs the Joint Social Care Workforce Development Partnership meeting which gleans information from the sector on what training and development is needed, and delivers its recommendations back to the key sources responsible for delivering training under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act.
She is looking forward to attending the presentation night for the Wales Care Awards, run by Care Forum Wales to showcase best practice and recognise the achievements and dedication of the social care workforce. The event is supported by more than 450 key care sector organisations across Wales.
“It’s a big night, I feel honoured to be on the shortlist, so I’m allowing myself to go shopping for a new outfit to wear for such an illustrious occasion,” smiled Louise.
The Chair of Care Forum Wales, Mario Kreft MBE, said Louise was a prime example of the devoted staff who the awards set out to pay tribute to.
He said the event had gone from strength to strength in the last few years, adding: “It is now firmly established as one of the highlights in the Welsh social care calendar.
“The aim is to recognise the unstinting and often remarkable dedication of our unsung heroes and heroines across Wales.
“The care sector is full of wonderful people because it’s not just a job, it’s a vocation – these are the people who really do have the X Factor. If you don’t recognise the people who do the caring you will never provide the standards that people need and never recognise the value of the people who need the care in society.
“We need to do all we can to raise the profile of the care sector workforce – they deserve to be lauded and applauded.”