A FORMER miner is on the up after a change of career placed him in the running for a prestigious award

Les Jones spent 18 years down the pit at the Point of Ayr Colliery and then worked at Shotton Steelworks. He then embarked on a dramatic career change, helping to give a better quality of life to others.

Les, 50, of Holywell, is a support worker and team leader for the care agency Cartref Ni. He has worked for the company since 2001.

Currently Les supports two men in Colwyn Bay with learning disabilities so they may live as independent lives as possible.

As a result of his care and dedication, he has reached the final of the Wales Care Awards.

Les, who is skilled at risk assessment, has been shortlisted for the Social Care Health and Safety Award sponsored by Citation plc.

The awards will be presented at a glittering ceremony at City Hall, Cardiff, on October 29.

Jane Brown, the chief executive of Cartref Ni, said: “Les is a great motivator of both service users and staff. He has encouraged the team to really take pride in their work, their achievements and working environment.

“He is versatile, highly skilled and respected widely. He leads by example and is a true team player who succeeds in making a real difference to those he supports.”
Colleagues speak highly of the “loyal and professional” support worker and social services have also praised his team.

They say he has a genuine desire to improve lives, promoting a fundamental right to freedom and choice.

Les, married for 28 years with three grown up sons, said: "I made a dramatic career change and I've no regrets. It is sometimes challenging but also fantastic work. You are supporting people to give them a better quality of life. That's what it is all about."

Mario Kreft, honorary chief executive of Care Forum Wales, said: “The Wales Care Awards is now established firmly as one of the highlights in the Welsh social care calendar. The dedication, professionalism and quality of the workforce within the care sector is, I am pleased to say, improving year on year.

“It is occasions like the awards night that enables Care Forum Wales to recognise and celebrate such skills, talents and commitment.”