A young man who is carving out a high-flying career in social care has just scooped a top national award.

Support worker Stefan Jenkins, 23, who lives in Kidwelly, took the joint bronze prize at this year’s prestigious Wales Care Awards, held at City Hall in Cardiff.

The national awards, run by Care Forum Wales and sponsored overall by Onyx Healthcare, recognises the hard work and dedication of those in the care sector.

Stefan was nominated for the Learning Disability and Mental Health Services Award, sponsored by All Care South Wales and Home Instead Senior Care, for his work with young adults with autism in the Ty Hendy Care Home in Hendy, near Swansea.

A former pupil of St John Lloyd Catholic School in Llanelli, Stefan knew he wanted to work in social care from the age of 15 and was inspired by his nurse mum Rita Jenkins. He now hopes his Wales Care Awards success will inspire other young people to consider social care as a career.

“For my age to be nominated I think is absolutely brilliant, I am a young lad and I feel I have a great future in social care ahead. It is so rewarding and so if any young people are thinking about making it their career, I would definitely say go for it!”

Since completing his Diploma in Health and Social Care at Coleg Sir Gar, Stefan has worked for the last four years with young adults aged 22-25 with autism and Asperger’s syndrome at Ty Hendy. He has recently been promoted to team leader and currently manages a team of 36 care and support workers.

Stefan, who lives with his fiancée Jessica Griffin, was put forward by Ty Hendy manager Lorraine Jackson, who said that although one of the youngest on the Ty Hendy support team, Stefan thrives in making a difference every day.

“He ensures that the people we support are treated in a person-centred way and with respect and dignity. Stefan applies himself in a way that the people we support can relate to and enhances the quality of service we offer,” Lorraine added.

Stefan believes his age also helps him to support his clients to live their young lives as best they can.

“I can relate to them as a young person and I try to look at different ways to keep them active and engaged. I like to get them out as much as possible and enjoying their lives as young people.”

Congratulating Stefan on his award, Mario Kreft, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said: “There are only winners here tonight, so it is only fitting that the finalists have received a gold, silver or bronze Wales Care Award.

“I trust that they will continue to inspire those around them as role models and encourage others to aspire to even greater heights in the months and years to come.

“This awards ceremony is our opportunity to pay tribute and to celebrate the talent and commitment that is improving the quality of life for thousands and thousands of people throughout Wales. We take our hats off to them.”