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Narberth Key Worker Scoops New Apprentice Of The Year Award

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Health and social care apprentice, Yvonne Watson, from therapeutic residential care setting, Birribi, wins the first ever TSW Training Apprentice Of The Year Award. 

Yvonne Watson is a Deputy Manager for a Narbeth-based therapeutic residential care setting, Birribi. She completed her Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care Services (Children and Young People’s Advanced Practice) with TSW in September 2021, five months ahead of schedule.

Yvonne's motivation and dedication to her qualification, plus her application of learning, awarded her several career opportunities and promotions.

Her Training Advisor, Hayley Lewis, said:

“Yvonne is truly deserving of this recognition and celebration of her commitment, as well as her resilience.

“She faced many challenges throughout her learning but remained focused and eager to learn. She is a role model for us all and it was a pleasure watching her not only commit to her professional development but cascade this knowledge down to her team at every opportunity!”

Health and Social Care Route Manager, Elliott Prangley said:

“Yvonne is clearly a worthy winner! She achieved the qualification in style.”

About the TSW Apprentice Of The Year Award 

Established in 2021, the TSW Apprentice of the Year Award celebrates the outstanding achievements of its apprentices. In its first year, the winner is a COVID key worker, representing a love for learning and someone who achieved outstanding success.

To win the TSW Apprentice Of The Year Award, the candidates must possess these four characteristics and qualities.

They: 

  • Shine brightly in their industry and create an inspiring vision of a working future in Wales
  • Demonstrate their unique skill and abilities, dedication and motivation in every working moment, regardless of the complexity of the challenge they face
  • Champion apprenticeships with an enterprising personality
  • Are role models. They positively influence and inspire new cohorts of learners with their achievements, paving the way for a skilled workforce Wales

Committed to professional development 

Before embarking on the Level 5 Diploma, Yvonne had already achieved her Level 3 in Health and Social Care Children and Young People qualification.

She was determined to continue professional development and with Birribi's support, signed up for the higher qualification with TSW.

When she enrolled on her Level 5 apprenticeship, Yvonne was a senior team member. The Level 5 was a catalyst for Yvonne to improve her practice and apply leadership techniques to her workplace and culture.

In recognition of her heightened abilities and knowledge she was offered an acting deputy manager position and Yvonne accepted the role.

Recognising she would need support, TSW Training Advisor, Hayley Lewis, presented the Level 5's optional units and advised Yvonne and her managers about which would help Yvonne to succeed, and which would help Birribi to meet its goals and outcomes.

Yvonne's new units would develop her knowledge, understanding, and the importance of operational plans and quality assurance within Birribi.

The choices were sound and transferred into the new duties and responsibilities Yvonne needed to fulfil. Shortly afterwards, Yvonne applied for the permanent role of Deputy Manager, clinching the promotion in August 2021.

Yvonne worked tirelessly as a key worker during the COVID-19 pandemic but unfortunately caught the virus herself mid-way through her studies. She took time to recuperate, pausing her studies, but it wasn't long until she was fit and well again.

Yvonne re-joined Birribi with renewed energy and kick-started her apprenticeship immediately.

“She was inspiring”, said Hayley. “Her determination to continue her studies, support her family and be so committed at work was astounding. I cannot praise her enough for the level of commitment she continued to show towards her development.”

The feedback from Yvonne's trainers, managers and colleagues is universal – her commitment to learning hasn't faltered and they are all very proud of Yvonne's fantastic achievement.

Yvonne works to an extremely high standard and her efforts are improving the continuous professional development of the people around her. Some of her research and evidence has been shared with her training manager and used to develop the skills of her colleagues during organisation-led training.

Yvonne said:

“I been and felt extremely well supported by Birribi as my employers. They’ve been nothing short of fantastic, and so understanding of me, especially with supporting me back to work after my illness. It’s also been great to get calls and emails from them to say well done, as I’ve progressed on my journey, it’s great that they are genuinely pleased with my personal achievements.”

Birribi celebrates Yvonne’s success 

Well done, your enthusiasm and commitment is outstanding, it is so good to see how you have taken your learning and personal development forward into your role and support you give to our young people, staff and Birribi. You should be very proud, I know I am…

Well Done. – Jon Lewis, Operational Manager, Birribi 

Well done for this fantastic achievement. If you had an Outcomes Star, it would be off the scale! …an amazing journey which leads the way for others. Thank you for your commitment, resilience and sharing your warmth and compassion. Good stories to share and recognise as we head towards the end of 2021  – Dr Deborah Judge, Responsible Individual, Therapeutic Programme Lead, Birribi 

What amazing news Yvonne. I am so proud of you. You have worked so hard both at Pencoed and with your QCF. This is so well deserved. Congratulations. – Suzanne Hope, Registered Manager, Birribi 

Professional progress after the qualification 

Since she completed her Level 5 Diploma, Yvonne’s manager, Suzanne Hope, reported that she confidently carries out managerial responsibilities in the home.

Recently, Birribi asked Yvonne to deliver training to all staff on the PACE model – a model she learned about during her Level 5. It’s based on playfulness, acceptance, curiosity and empathy.

She’s helping the staff to improve their skills in thinking, feeling, communicating and behaving to make the children and young people they support feel safe. It’s the very model of care Birribi prides itself on and an important task delegated only to trusted and knowledgeable team members.