Portal’s Melissa O’Connor named as finalist in coveted apprenticeship awards

Melissa O’Connor, a work-based learning assessor for Portal Educational Training, has been named as a finalist in the Welsh Apprenticeship Awards.

Newport resident Melissa is one of only three shortlisted work-based learning assessors across Wales who could walk home with the coveted award at the International Convention Centre at the Celtic Manor on October 24th.

Melissa was a teacher for 12 years before turning her attention to work-based learning and joined Portal as an Institute of Learning and Management (ILM) and higher apprenticeship assessor. She has since progressed to take a master’s degree in Education, as well as a Mindfulness course to further her own studies and to help her students.

Speaking of her shortlisting, Melissa – who is due to have a baby a few days after the awards ceremony – said: “It is truly a wonderful honour to have been shortlisted for this award. It was amazing to be put forward in the first place, but now to be shortlisted is totally unexpected.

“I love my job. Being an assessor is really rewarding. I love seeing learners develop their own professional practice and enjoy developing good strong working relationships with both the learners and the mentors within the organisations I work with.”

Mel added that the training makes a big difference to the careers of many of her learners: “Within one school I work with, four out of six learners have progressed to manager and senior leadership positions. Some have achieved this before even finishing the training.

“I am really proud of the learners I work with, who are inspiring practitioners shaping the education sector in Wales today. They demonstrate a passion and love for teaching using a range of innovative practices – going above and beyond for their students, as I do with my own. “

Gwawr Booth, Managing Director of Portal Education and Training said: “We are thrilled that Melissa has been shortlisted for a work-based learning assessor award. These awards are highly contested and are very well respected in the training and learning sector in the UK, so we are very proud that a key member of our team has made the cut.

“Melissa is the perfect example of what a work-based learning assessor should be. She is an amazing support to her learners and works tirelessly to ensure that they achieve their full potential and develop into confident leaders and managers. We are very lucky to have her in the Portal family.”

Cardiff-based Portal Education and Training is a leading bilingual Welsh training organisation delivering high quality and creative leadership and management training courses, programmes and resources for professionals working in the education, business and sporting sectors.

It has also recently been working with Newport County AFC’s manager Michael Flynn and his colleagues to provide them with vocational qualifications in Leadership and Management.