Llandrillo Apprentice Scoops Business Award

August 12, 2019

A Coleg Llandrillo apprentice who has dyslexia and suffers with both anxiety and a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body, recently scooped a prestigious award for helping others overcome their own personal difficulties.

Melanie Davis was presented with the 'Apprentice of the Year' award at the Conwy Business Awards 2019, where the successes of businesses and individuals across Conwy were celebrated at the county's annual awards event.

Other categories included 'Business of the Year', 'Outstanding Employee of the Year' and 'Social Enterprise of the Year'. The glitzy event took place at Venue Cymru in Llandudno in front of over 300 guests,

The judges said, "Mel's dedication to helping others overcome their own personal difficulties was inspiring.

"She is highly regarded by her colleagues for the support she provides and that she does her best to ensure every person feels included".

Mel started her apprenticeship with Conwy County Borough Council's 'Communities 4 Work' department in September 2017, having previously avoided any academic qualifications due to her dyslexia. 

She has gone on to achieve her higher apprenticeship qualification in 'Information, Advice and Guidance' and this is a testament to her hard work and commitment.

Mel offered to develop and deliver a new training programme pilot that she called 'Confidently You'. The aim of this course was to deliver confidence and self-help training to a group of participants who had acute issues such as social isolation and mental health problems.

Tina Jones, Mel's work-based assessor, said: "Prior to starting the Apprenticeship, Mel had avoided any academic qualifications due to her dyslexia.

"Mel had a fear of being 'found out' and was afraid to declare her condition in case she was not allowed to do an apprenticeship, especially at Level 4.

"Mel told me she did not even know if she had any qualifications gained from school and had tried college courses but never handed any assignments in.

"Mel chose the 'Employment Related Services' apprenticeship at Level 4 because her role involves supporting vulnerable individuals, helping them build their confidence and self-esteem…but this was something that Mel was struggling with herself.

"Not far into the course Mel declared her support needs and a dyslexic assessment was arranged. Mel did really struggle but she attended additional classes, including evening ones, to pass this.

"I have also learnt since, from Mel's line manager, that Mel also suffers from Fibromyalgia and is in constant pain - yet Mel never raised this as an issue or consideration, but just got on with the course and did this wholeheartedly.

On the very day that she completed her apprenticeship, Mel enrolled onto the Level 3 in Counselling course at Coleg Llandrillo.

Mel said; "Doing the apprenticeship has given me the confidence to apply for further courses, which I would not have done before the course, and my dream of going to university I can now see as a future reality.

"Being diagnosed with dyslexia during the basic skills aspect of the apprenticeship changed my life, my attitude and my ability to get stuck in and have a go. I have now fell in love with learning.

"I now believe that if I am capable of achieving an academic qualification, then anyone can. I feel that it has inspired me to inspire others".

Libby Duo, Mel's line manager at the council, said: "As her manager, I can't begin to tell you how much admiration and respect I have for Mel.

"She goes above and beyond what is required of her on a daily basis with each and every one of her 'Communities 4 Work' participants".