A TRAINING officer whose teaching sessions are so inspirational and fun that her bosses reckon she ought to sell tickets to them has been shortlisted for a major award.
For the past five years Brenda Davies has been responsible for the training of about 350 staff who work at half a dozen care homes in North Wales run by the Embrace Group.
And she prides herself on making her training sessions as interesting as possible so that people can easily take in information which will enhance their own professional experience and the lives of service users.
It is this dedicated approach to her role that has landed 59-year-old Brenda a place in the final of major national competition, the 2015 Wales Care Awards.
This is the 13th anniversary of the awards and the glittering presentation ceremony will be held at City Hall in Cardiff on Friday, November 6.
The awards are in association with Care Forum Wales, a not-for-profit organisation set up in 1993 to give independent care providers a single professional voice with which to speak on one of the most important issues of our time – how to provide better quality care for those who need it most.
Brenda, who has been shortlisted in the Commitment to Training and Workforce Development Award sponsored by Harlech Foods, started out on her professional career as a nurse.
She said: “I’m from Liverpool, where I still live in Stoneycroft near Old Swan, and from 1974 I was an enrolled nurse doing my initial training at three hospitals in that area – Newsham General, Broad Green and Alder Hey.
“I then worked predominantly at Newsham General until it closed and I then transferred to Broad Green.
“I did general nursing but for most of my time I specialised in dermatology.
“In 1992 I became a registered nurse and moved across to the care sector.
“I worked at a number of small, privately run homes in the Liverpool area. Eventually, in 1996, I became matron at one of these.
“Some time after that one of the companies I had worked for previously got in touch to offer me a job as a trainer for them.
“They put me through my teacher training in 2003/2004 and I began my career as a trainer.”
Brenda then switched to the Embrace Group for whom she became Wales trainer just over five years ago, responsible for staff working in six care establishments in Rhyl, Denbigh and Llanwrst, one of which is a supported living centre and another which specialises in mental health care.
She looks after most aspects of training, such as first aid, moving and lifting, autism and mental health awareness.
In nominating her for the Wales Care Awards, a member of staff said: “She brings out the best in everybody – she is an inspiration.
“Her training sessions are fun, passionate and so informative. She makes us laugh and she makes us cry.
“Training used to be a chore we had to do but now with Brenda we are queuing up – indeed, she should sell tickets!”
Brenda, who has been married to husband Tony for 20 years and his two grown-up children plus two grandsons and a grand-daughter, said: “It’s just a pleasure to teach these people and to see the impact what is taught has on the lives on those we support.
“Training can sometimes be boring but my aim is to make it fun and not just a text book exercise.
“That way, hopefully, people will enjoy it and listen to the things I am telling them. We can then improve the lives of our service users.
“I’m absolutely overwhelmed about being shortlisted for the Wales Care Award and so thankful that my colleagues have been kind enough to take the time to make the nomination.
“I’m now looking forward very much to going along to the presentation evening in Cardiff City Hall.”
Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the Wales Care Awards had gone from strength to strength.
He said: “The event is now firmly established as one of the highlights in the Welsh social care calendar and are seen as the Oscars of social care.
“The aim is to recognise the unstinting and often remarkable dedication ofour 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.
“It is a pleasure to honour the contribution of all the finalists. Each and every one of them should be very proud of their achievement.”