Amy's a Winner!

Amy's a Winner!


The winner of the Margaret Jones Award for 2018 has been announced as Amy-Marie Rees from Galon Uchaf, Merthyr Tydfil.

Amy-Marie’s story demonstrates how through commitment to learning and determination to succeed, she was able to overcome barriers, change the course of her life and become an inspiration to others.

Amy-Marie had previously been in employment, but following the birth of her child, Amy-Marie’s circumstances changed and she found herself isolated and suffering from stress, anxiety and depression. As a result, she attended counselling sessions where it was suggested that becoming involved in an activity might help her as well as opening up opportunities to socialise with other people.

This was a daunting prospect for Amy-Marie as she explained: “The thought of walking into a room full of people I didn’t know was terrifying.” Despite this, she realised her need to find something to do, and when she spotted an advert for a sugar craft course, she applied.

Amy-Marie attended the initial 6-week course which in turn helped to reduce levels of anxiety and stress she was experiencing. And it quickly became apparent that she had a ‘flair’ for sugar craft, and her skills, knowledge and confidence went from strength to strength.

Childcare challenges threatened to hinder her progress but solutions were found which enabled her to continue.

Her positive learning experience was such that following the course, Amy-Marie then decided to make a career out of cake decorating, setting up her own business called ‘Cake Queens’.

Amy-Marie’s learning has continued, where her skills have further developed following the successful completion of a food hygiene course - achieving a Food Hygiene, Rating 5 from Environmental Health. In addition, she is also undertaking a ‘train the trainer’ course to enable her to train others, with the Award in Education and Training level 3 firmly in her sights.

According to Curriculum Delivery Officer Leane Saunders, “Once Amy started the course I could see she had the ‘bug’ for sugar craft and she was very good at it. Her confidence went from strength to strength, learning new skills and practising at home with her daughter.”

“Amy-Marie’s love and skill for cake making and decorating presented her with new career opportunities. She is now confidently exploring her own future business potential, where this would fit in with her childcare needs. Amy’s journey is ongoing – it is wonderful to be part of it and be able to help her access courses she needs to succeed.”

Leane continued, “Amy-Marie has worked hard to overcome personal issues and barriers and has become an inspiration and role model to many in the local community. She has seen many benefits from her learning: her confidence has improved, her self-esteem has increased and a feeling of independence has returned. It has also had a positive impact on her family and her quality of life. The course has helped open up a self-employed career that she would never have dreamt of launching before.

Of her experience, Amy-Marie commented, “It has inspired me to get out there and get back working for a living.” Her advice for anyone thinking about attending a course is, “Do it! Even if you aren’t sure what you want to do, join a course and get back into education. It is very empowering and you never know where it might lead you!”

We wish Amy-Marie every success with her business, future career and further learning; she is an inspiration and a role model to others and truly deserving of our Margaret Jones Award.

Watch Amy's story here.

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