For Anna Bell, inspiring through adversity has not only won the admiration of her peers, it is motivating a generation of learners who have praised the impact that she has made on their lives as a whole.
A hospitality apprenticeship assessor with Itec Skills & Employment in Cardiff, Anna has been named as a finalist in the prestigious Vocational Qualification (VQ) Awards 2019.
For six years she has mentored her learners to achieve excellent results, with an overall Framework Success Rate of 93% for 2017/2018.
But that success rate tells just part of the story of an extraordinary trainer that has refused to allow cancer to prevent her from bringing the best out of her apprentices who recognise her as their pillar of strength and support.
Anna’s efforts have been recognised as a finalist in the Trainer of the Year category of this year’s VQ Awards, which are designed to reward individuals and organisations for their commitment, hard work and achievements.
“Before I met Anna, I had no life whatsoever,” said Hayley Grant, Managing Director of Georgie’s Diner in Bridgend. “I had tunnel vision but she opened my eyes by teaching me to delegate roles within the business.”
“I no longer work on my own; I work within a trusting team. She’s really taught me how to have a life. Anna is more than helpful, her phone is always on and she helps me whenever I need it.”
“Since starting this course, everyone’s life has changed here. We’re close to completing our programme and, as a team, we can’t wait to start the next qualification.”
With more than 40 years behind her in the fields of professional cookery, kitchen management and vending, Anna’s stand-out traits are tenacity, passion and thoroughness which are cascaded through to her learners who benefit from round-the-clock support, even from the hospital bed.
“I work beyond the hours employed and despite my personal battles with illness, I still manage to put my learners at the forefront to achieve their qualifications, even utilising time when I was in hospital,” said Anna.
James Manners, Head of Apprenticeships at Itec Skills & Employment, said: “Anna’s priority has always been the well-being and development of her learners. When admitted to hospital for treatment, she still insisted on staying in touch with learners and putting their needs above all else by texting, emailing and calling them to monitor their progress and provide advice.”
Her boundless energy is also admired by her employers who describe her as continually going above and beyond. Anna is a truly valued employee and is an “inspiration to all who work with her and who are fortunate to have her as their trainer”.
Now in their 12th year, the VQ Awards celebrate those who use technical, practical and vocational qualifications to achieve success. A Vocational Qualification – VQ- award is a symbol of dedication towards your chosen profession.
The awards help us to celebrate those Welsh learners, trainers and employers who are already going that extra mile when it comes to developing vocational skills and qualifications.
There are four award categories – VQ Learner of the Year – Intermediate, VQ Learner of the Year – Higher, VQ Trainer of the Year and VQ Employer of the Year – which encompass the spectrum of learning, training and employment.
Also shortlisted finalists in the Trainer category are Louisa Mallett and Mark Shaw.
The winners will be announced at a prestigious awards ceremony held at the National Museum Cardiff on May 15. The ceremony coincides with VQ Day, which celebrates vocational achievement and the benefits of technical, practical and vocational learning to both the individual and the Welsh economy.
The awards are jointly organised by the Welsh Government, the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), ColegauCymru/CollegesWales, Qualifications Wales and the Education Workforce Council. The Welsh Government’s funding has support from the European Social Fund.
Picture caption: VQ Trainer of the Year category finalist, Anna Bell.