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WWL Pre Employment Programme Graduate Wins Regional Award

Newsdate: 19 May 2016Mikala Hough

WWL are delighted to announce that a recent participant of our Pre Employment Programme has won a regional award.

Bubbly and enthusiastic Mikala Hough, a 25-year-old, originally from Runcorn, Cheshire, but now living in Pemberton, Wigan, worked at our Trust for 10 weeks between Monday 11 January and Thursday 17 March. The Pre-Employment Programme is a joint venture between WWL, Skills for Health, Job Centre Plus and Wigan and Leigh College. Its aim is to provide unemployed adults with an interesting, informative work placement that will provide them with first-class experience and an excellent reference for the future.

Mikala is the deserving recipient of an Adult Learners Week North West Award, in the First Steps to Employment in Health and Social Care Category. The awards will be held on Thursday 16 June at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. They are being hosted by Health Education England.

Mikala’s journey on the course began when she attended an open/recruitment day before signing up to a bespoke training course at Wigan and Leigh College. She then took up a support role at our Trust with the Patient Safety Team.

Every day, Mikala would turn up to work, bright-eyed and bushy tailed. She quickly earned the nickname “little ray of sunshine” and was very highly regarded by all who met her. Not just a great personality, Mikala was also a determined worker who provided vital help to our Services with the utmost professionalism.   The Pre-Employment Programme presented her with an opportunity that she well and truly grabbed with both hands.

Previous to enrolling on the programme, Mikala had been unemployed for 12 months. She calls this period, “The worst year of my life.”  She also explains that the period brought stress on every aspect of her life. There were financial pressures, but also emotional ones too, as she found herself becoming snappy among friends and her mood would fluctuate greatly.

However, the Programme gave her a new lease of life. More importantly, upon completion of the course, Mikala felt like herself again. She had renewed confidence and a great sense of self-belief.

Her gratitude to WWL was very touching to receive. Upon completion of her course, she reached out to our Chief Executive, Andrew Foster, to thank the Trust for our support during her time here and the warm welcome she received. Mr Foster thanked her for her kind words and passed them on to our HR Director, Alison Balson. Mikala has subsequently been invited to speak at our HR directorate’s quarterly update meeting, to share her experiences with hospital executives.

She is now due to start a new chapter in her life, working for Bridgewater Community Trust for the Children’s Integrated Nursing Team, based in Ince, Wigan. Although she is yet to receive her official starting date, she is very excited for the next chapter in her life.

She said, “I’m really looking forward to starting, and know my chances of getting the position were much improved because of my coaching via the programme.”

In addition, Mikala has also been successful in her application for Administrative Bank Work at WWL. This means she will take up an admin role at the Trust, as and when required, if she is available.

Mikala is also thrilled to be the recipient of this award. Her enthusiasm for the Skills for Health Programme means she wishes to continue to be an advocate for the programme as well.

She said, “It feels incredible to be recognised for the work I did in my time with the Patient Safety Department! Being welcomed into a brilliant organisation like this one gave me back the confidence I lost when I became unemployed, and I'm happy to say I now feel like myself again, and believe in myself again. I'm looking forward to being an active advocate for Skills for Health, to show others what a difference such a programme can make."

Speaking for WWL, HRD Officer, Renee Steward, who nominated Mikala for the award, is thrilled that she is being recognised. She said, “Mikala is an outstanding ambassador for the Pre-Employment Programme. The change in her outlook on life, her drive and enthusiasm, upon completing the programme, is amazing. As well as being a great ambassador for the programme, she has been a beacon of inspiration for all who have met her. I am so proud of her.”