* Josh Wilson.
A rugby-playing father-of-one from Llangollen who combines life on the family-owned holiday park with a job as a support worker in a children’s home is in line for a top care award.
Josh Wilson, 25, is a role model for the youngsters he supports at a specialist therapeutic children’s home in Ruthin in encouraging them to strive for the best and keep active through sport.
The home is a six-bedroom unit for young boys aged 11-18 with complex behavioural and emotional difficulties who are given intense support to help them succeed in education and employment.
Josh, who is employed by Branas Isaf, formerly taught swimming to children aged three to 12 at Corwen Leisure Centre. He plays competitive rugby for Chester Rugby Club, which is in North Division 2, has a talent for communicating with children and inspiring them to succeed.
He combines his challenging role as a support worker two days a week with his responsibilities at the family business, Ty Canol Caravan Park in Llangollen, which includes holiday cottages and caravan sales.
The new dad, whose daughter Azaia Wilson, was born a year ago, has now been formally recognised as one of the best support workers in the care industry after being announced as a finalist in the Wales Care Awards 2016.
Josh has been working for the children’s home for just over a year, has been shortlisted for the Exceptional Newcomer Award, sponsored by Coleg Cambria, which is one of a series of categories in the prestigious national awards, run by Care Forum Wales, which acknowledge the hard work and exceptional performances of those in the care sector.
As a finalist Josh, who lives in Llangollen, will now attend a glittering awards ceremony at City Hall in Cardiff on Friday, October 21.
It is an impressive achievement for the former fitness instructor who also won the national and regional Newcomer of the Year title in the Caretech Awards in November.
“It was a bigger shock than last time to be nominated. My family are proud and my mum is especially proud,” said Josh, who also worked in Corwen and Llangollen Leisure Centres as a fitness instructor after leaving school.
“I’m not bothered about winning. I’m just flattered to be shortlisted. I’m looking forward to representing my company as they’ve done a lot for me.
“I feel like I’m putting something back and making a difference. When I come back from work I feel happy, it’s very rewarding.
“When you drive home at the end of the day you always think about what you’ve done with the kids and what I would’ve liked to have done better.
“I love working there. The whole team is brilliant and my manager has done a lot for me. I’ve come a long way since joining the team.
“I’d never worked in care before. I was in the deep end quite quickly but I wouldn’t have had it any other way as it meant I learnt very quickly.”
Josh, who attended Ysgol Dinas Brân, said the most satisfying aspect of his job was watching the youngsters’ progress and reform their behaviour through sport and other goal-driven work. The home has even created a squash league to build their self-confidence.
One of his most notable achievements was seeing a young boy for whom he was a key worker move on from the home and flourish.
“I feel like I’m a role model to them. I always tell them what the score was in the rugby. I’m trying to inspire them and keep them active by encouraging them to the gym,” said Josh, who is in the completion stages of his QCF Level 3 in Caring For Children and Young People.
“I’ve recently had a child myself and it’s put a different perspective on things. I’m much more empathetic.
“You have your bad days but I’m level-headed and can deal with most things thrown at me. You want to see the lads do well.
“I would like to continue working with young people in the future. I play rugby and I look after myself and the kids look up to me. I try to work on their self-confidence and you develop a bond.”
Josh is attending the awards ceremony with registered manager Leanne Bennett who herself has been nominated for the Peter Clarke Award.
Nominating Josh for his award, Leanne said: “Josh is a very well-liked and respected member of the team at Pant Glas and nothing is ever too much trouble for Josh. He is eager and enthusiastic in his role and works exceptionally well both lone working and in a team.
“He has a good morale which impacts on others and his can do attitude is infectious to his colleagues. Josh is an asset to our team and I feel he has a brilliant career ahead of him.”
Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the Wales Care Awards had gone from strength to strength.
He said: “The event is now firmly established as one of the highlights in the Welsh social care calendar.
“The aim is to recognise the unstinting and often remarkable dedication of our unsung heroes and heroines across Wales.
“The care sector is full of wonderful people because it’s not just a job it’s a vocation – these are the people who really do have the X Factor.
“If you don’t recognise the people who do the caring you will never provide the standards that people need and never recognise the value of the people who need the care in society.
“We need to do all we can to raise the profile of the care sector workforce - they deserve to be lauded and applauded.”