A mum-of-two is living the dream after signing up to a pioneering scheme at a care organisation to train as a nurse.
Clinical care practitioner Michell Bevan, 41, is among a quartet of staff at Pendine Park in Wrexham to sign up for the course with the Open University.
The others who will be doing nursing degrees are Stephanie Lloyd, Kirsty Morris and Courteney Jones.
It is the latest initiative in a long-term programme of investment in staff training by the award-winning Pendine organisation.
Mitchell said: “It’s a dream come true for me. I’ve always wanted to progress into nursing and I’ve long yearned for the chance to gain a nursing qualification but until now it’s never been possible.
“To have the backing of our employers like this is amazing and it’s so heartening to know they have such faith in us and our ability to do this.”
Mitchell, who lives with husband David Bevan and their two children, Lewis, 11, and Leyla, two, in Wrexham, can’t wait to begin her Open University study course.
She said: “I’m so excited, though I know it will be hard, especially with a two year old at home. But what is so brilliant is that Pendine has built in study time segments within our working day so we can study on the job.
She added: “Having been a carer over the last decade and observed our nursing team here at the Bodlondeb care is also a huge help.”
She will be studying for a degree qualification in adult nursing, as will Kirsty , 29, who has three primary school-aged children, Layla, seven, Isabella, five, and Oliver, one.
Clinical Care Practitioner, Kirsty, of Wrexham, has worked with Pendine Park for nearly 10 years. She, too, loves her job but has always wanted to go one step further and train as a nurse.
She said: “When the chance came to apply for the degree course I jumped at it. I knew with a young family at home it would be an impossible challenge to do it on my own but having the full backing of Pendine Park has made my nursing ambitions much more realistic.
The youngest of the four is 20 year old Courteney Jones, of Wrexham, who first started helping at Pendine Park when she was just 17, following in the footsteps of her mum, Julie.
She said: “I used to help with the breakfast service, starting at 7.30am. I loved it from the off and knew from then onward that caring for people was what I wanted to do.
She is now a care practitioner working the night shift at the Penybryn care home and relishes the challenge of going on to gain a professional adult nursing qualification.
She said: “I know it will be demanding, with both practical and theory sections to the course, so we will have to be prepared to put in a lot of study time, but it will be so worth it.”
The fourth member of the group, care practitioner, Stephanie Lloyd, already has a degree in child psychology but aims to further enhance that by embarking on a course in mental health nursing.
Stephanie, 25, has worked at Pendine Park for three years.
She said she has always been impressed by the company’s determination to provide opportunities for staff development.
She said: “It’s reassuring to know we have the company’s support when taking on a challenge like this and that there are fellow staff members who can help us with any difficulties which we might encounter along the way.”
Bodlondeb manager Ann Chapman was thrilled to have two of her staff members – Stephanie and Michell – on the course.
Ann said: “These are the new generation of carers, the people who will be championing the social care sector of the future, taking on the many challenges which lie ahead.
“It’s a big ask and they will need all the knowledge, and depth of experience we can provide. Investing in their continued education now will pay off in the future and ensure vulnerable community members continue to receive the high standard of care they are entitled to.”
Pendine Park proprietor Mario Kreft MBE said staff training has always been a top priority for the company which employs more than 800 people in eight care homes in Wrexham and Caernarfon.
In addition to the four staff undertaking Open University courses in Wrexham, another five staff members from Pendine Park’s specialist dementia care centre, Bryn Seiont Newydd, in Caernarfon, will also be supported through degree courses.
Mr Kreft said: “As a nation we face a serious shortage of nurses and medical professionals. We must do everything possible to address that situation.
“Investment in staff development is essential to the success of any organisation and particularly in the social care sector.
“That’s why we are proud to be able to support those members of our team about to embark on their Open University nursing qualifications courses.
“It is an investment will reap rewards as they acquire new skills and help lead the way through the social care sector dilemmas of the future.”