A SPECIALIST at Gobowen's Orthopaedic Hospital has been crowned the winner of the Early Years Award at the Shrewsbury Colleges Group Apprenticeship Awards.

Ali Evans works on the Alice Ward as a healthcare assistant and play specialist, and was announced as the winner during a recent prestigious awards ceremony.

She was awarded the accolade for her personal efforts and hard work in completing her apprenticeship which even included her volunteering at the onsite Peter Pan Nursery in her own time, and was delighted with her award.

Ali, who has worked on the ward for three years, said: “I couldn’t believe that I won the Early Years Award, it was a huge shock but I’m so grateful to everyone who has supported me when completing my apprenticeship.

“I really love working on the children’s unit at RJAH and I’m lucky to be part of such a fantastic team who have encouraged and helped me every step of the way.”

The role of a play specialist is to use play as a therapeutic tool to help children when recovering from an operation or undergoing rehabilitation.

Suzanne Marsden, Alice Ward and Children’s Outpatients manager, praised Ali's work.

She said: “Ali has put in an exceptional number of hours into her apprenticeship, and getting married half way through the course put added pressure on her.

"But with a short break from her studies and exceptional time management skills, she quickly caught up.

“We are so very proud and happy that she has been recognised with this award – she has excelled in her academic studies, which we see on a daily basis with the care and support she gives our children and their families on the unit.”

She started her two-year apprenticeship in Early Years Studies back in September 2017.

Allen Edwards, learning and development officer and the lead for apprenticeships at RJAH, said: “I’d like to congratulate Ali on her award – it’s a real testament to her dedication and commitment to her studies over the past two years.

“She should be extremely proud of herself and everything that she has achieved.”