THE inspiration behind a life-changing project helping socially isolated people into work has been nominated for a top award.

Mel Davis, an Employability Mentor with Conwy Employment Hub, is a finalist in the Apprentice of the Year Management category of Grwp Llandrillo Menai’s 2024 Apprenticeship Awards.

With no previous academic qualifications to her name, the Old Colwyn mum-of-four joined the Hub six years ago and was encouraged to return to learning for CPD (Continuing Professional Development) and to help lay the foundations for her future career.

Mel went on to achieve a string of qualifications, including Diplomas Levels 3, 5 and 7 in Counselling, Coaching and Mentoring.

She also secured a Level 4 Diploma in Project Management and did so having only recently been diagnosed with dyslexia, working her day job and creating the hugely successful Confidently You pre-employability scheme, which more than doubled its initial commitment to help 30 people across the county.

She is “delighted” to be nominated for the title but insists the acclaim will be shared with her colleagues and those who took part in the project.

“It was a shock and surprise to hear that I had been chosen, so I’m of course delighted given I never had any traditional qualifications before joining Conwy Employment Hub,” she said.

“That helped build my own confidence and led to us launching Confidently You, which has supported so many people into the position of applying for and securing jobs.

“For those who were socially isolated, especially after the pandemic, it was a chance for them to meet new people, learn and develop social skills and see what opportunities were out there for them.

“We are so pleased with the results as having targeted 30 people there were in fact more than 60 who engaged with the project, many of whom are now in work and loving life, so it’s been incredibly heart-warming to be a part of that.”

Backed by the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund, Confidently You brought people together for more than 113 indoor and outdoor group activity sessions, ranging from bushcraft to paddle boarding, e-biking, caving, arts and crafts, and much more.

The results to this point saw 25 of them gain a qualification and 13 find employment while having a positive effect on the mental health and wellbeing of all participants.

“For so many of them to now be in jobs, and jobs they love, is amazing, and a big part of the success,” said Mel.

“But for some just getting out of the house having been so socially and economically inactive for so long was a fantastic outcome and so courageous – hopefully the first step on their way to finding work.

“For all this to be recognised with a nomination from Grwp Llandrillo Menai is really heartening, and I thank them for the support they’ve shown me throughout my learning journey.”

Libby Duo, Strategic Manager for Conwy Employment Hub, added: “We are so proud of Mel, she is a truly inspirational mentor and fully deserving of this nomination.

“She is dedicated to helping others and creative in developing training programmes such as this, which have had a major impact across Conwy county – we wish her luck at the awards.”

To vote for Mel, visit www.awards.gllm.ac.uk/2024/management.

Visit Conwy Employment Hub – More information – Conwy County Borough Council for more on Conwy Employment Hub and information on the training academies.

Alternatively, call 01492 575578, email ceh@conwy.gov.uk or you can self-refer via the website at https://bit.ly/Conwy-form.